Hey Sister, Your Education Matters Too!
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
If education is important for everyone,
Does this mean equity and access (for Black and Brown girls) too?
In the inquisitorial words of Roberta Flack, “where is the love?” I mean, seriously. If education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world, then why are our Black and Brown girls so easily sacrificed as casualties in this unfair war?
Schools are more segregated now than they were during the times of Brown v. Board of Ed, with almost 75% of black students attending racially segregated institutions. Sixty years later, and the issue is still oh so real.
Education has always been a channel to freedom. Going as far back to the Civil War, former slaves knew that the key to empowerment was through literacy. Even when we weren’t allowed to read or write, the hunger for knowledge, coupled with resilience, ignited a desire to advance our education further, despite false stigmas and the series of barriers that would be met along the way…and, still being met along the way.
Quality education for Black and Brown girls is essential towards achieving equity. It’s no secret that schools with predominately Black student bodies tend to be poorly funded, therefore resulting in a disadvantage for many.
As parents, educators, counselors, mandated reporters, and the likes, we must do our part to ensure that our girls have access to high-quality learning, and career readiness programs too. No more falling through the cracks. No more tattered weaponry. It’s time to suit up, properly. It’s time to win this war, prepared. So, here are five important ways we can help girls of color reach their full potential in school, and in life:
1. Because race, gender, and class affect students differently, we can start by reviewing school discipline policies that inexplicably impact Black and Brown girls, and remove any excessive punishments deemed unfit.
2. Provide school staff with ongoing training and tools to help reduce bigoted behavior to ensure that schools are supporting the academic success of Black and Brown female students.
3. Create opportunities that promote leadership among girls of color, including mentoring programs, extended learning, conflict resolution, healthy communication, and problem-solving skills, in addition to support services for students and their families.
4. Offer in-and-out of school programs that build strong academic foundations such as STEAM courses, and other areas of studies that will greatly prepare students for both college and career.
5. To help reduce racial and gender disparities in education, federal funding MUST be fairly distributed, giving schools with limited resources the support they need.
Where is the love? It’s always been here. We just need to do a better job at spreading it. Happy Valentine’s Day!