While watching the Los Angeles Lakers play the Portland Trailblazers Monday night, I noticed the jersey of Markief Morris. The back of his jersey read "education reform". Each NBA players who is playing in the NBA playoff bubble in Orlando, Florida was given an opportunity to show their support or voice their stance on political activism. This special platform given to the players comes in the light of the black lives matter movement surrounding the civil unrest and protest movement that took place shortly after.
Education reform is an important issue that plagues America's education system today, especially African American children. Like all children, African American children are born with the to ability to learn, however the resources needed to learn are disproportionately lower as compared to other ethnic groups. The interactions and experiences that are instilled into children's brains impact their overall ability to learn and develop in school emotionally, socially and physically.
As a former teacher, I have first hand witnessed young African American children marginalized by teachers and administrators for minor behavioral issues. I have observed authoritarian teachers becoming easily frustrated with African American children, which then creates the narrative to non-African American children of systematic racism.
Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) are traumatic and emotional experiences that may occur during a child's life. Experiences such as poverty, domestic violence, substance abuse, mental health illness, teen pregnancy and gang related environments occur in a child's life, the ability to focus in school can be difficult. However, it does not mean for the adults who are in positions of teaching and guiding these children should not be held accountable in providing all resources in supporting their development.
What does that mean?
Adults who work with children have a responsibility to teach children and guide them so they have the tools to critically think, problem solve, resolve conflicts, be creative, express themselves, have curiosity, ability to nurture, work well with others, effective communication skills, and understand diversity in others. Adults who can advocate for the rights and well being for African American children and all children of color who are marginalized in an academic setting. Adults who can support city officials, superintendents, school board officials, state legislatures, mayors, governors and presidents who stand against racism and the genocide of African Americans.
Sounds like a lot? It can be, however in the world we live in with social media, protests, boycotts, sit ins, peace movements, and reform in city and state wide policies that allow the actions of "those" to hinder, destroy, exclude, refuse the basic moral human rights of African Americans and those of color.
Some can question why I am not including all children, including Caucasian children. I think that the issue here for over hundred plus years is why do African Americans hold the negative connotations that we see today.
That to me, is why we are putting the emphasis on education reform.