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Our Children Can Succeed But Only With Our Help
11/9/2015 3:34:36 PM

By Brian L. Pauling

Students across the nation are well into their classes. While some students are meeting or exceeding expectations for their grade level; unfortunately, a significant number have already fallen behind. Their academic success is in jeopardy unless someone intervenes. To parents, teachers, administrators and community members, I say that someone is us!

It’s up to us to work as a cohesive and collaborative support system for our children. That will mean holding ourselves and each other accountable to ensure that each student has been taught and has learned the required coursework for their grade level and is ready to advance to the next grade, without remediation, by the end of the school year.

We are expecting a lot from our children, but what, in turn, should our children expect from us?

As parents, students should expect us to be actively involved in their education. We must ensure the learning-readiness basics are mastered at home: sufficient sleep, on-time school arrival, safe after-school care and quality homework assistance, provided either by us or someone we find to help, such as a student in a higher grade, a college student, or a nonprofit organization, like 100 Black Men of America Inc., whose local chapters offer mentoring and tutorial programs.

Then we must move to an even higher level of engagement. For instance, we should communicate regularly with our child’s teachers. Join the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) at our child’s school. Attend school board meetings. Advocate for the needs of our children, their school, teachers and district. Educate ourselves about the best available education options in our communities, from traditional public schools to nonprofit charter schools.

If students do their part and we as parents do ours, then our children also should expect their teachers and administrators to provide instruction, experiential learning opportunities and school environments that breed and boost success. Our children should expect their teachers to demonstrate that they believe that all children can learn at high levels. When some children fail to make the grade, they should expect that their teachers and school staff won’t let them flounder, but use proven intervention strategies to get them back on track. Our children should expect their teachers to be capable and well-trained professionals who teach in compelling and creative ways.

Our students should also expect the support of their communities – including households without school-aged children. Among the array of ways to contribute are seeking volunteer opportunities at community schools, partnering with them and offering the expertise and resources of your company or organization. Serve on a school council, tutor or mentor. Or engage with education officials to advocate for high-performing schools, better teacher evaluations and student assessments. Such endeavors support our students’ overall success and make a difference in their lives.

We at 100 Black Men of America Inc. know that our children are more than capable of being academically successful. Let’s provide access to educational opportunities that equip students to be competitive. Setting high expectations for student achievement, removing obstacles to progress and providing proper interventions and support system demonstrate this belief. Let’s work side by side throughout the school year to put our children’s needs before politics and make our nation’s schools the best they can be, so all of our students can become the best they can be.

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