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Depersonalized, rule-governed relationships must give way to intentional connections and meaningful collaboration. The most effective way to bring about and sustain such relationships is through local action in which Black families are meaningfully engaged. Schools in particular play an important role in defusing racism, educating staff, providing social networks activities , and welcoming parents.


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If the achievement gap is to be closed, schools need to continue their commitment to children from before birth into young adulthood, with regular updates to meet changing social needs. Acting on research and intervention findings, some of which are presented here, will require embracing new understanding and accepting the discomfort of change.

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Established economic, political, social, and even structural interests are involved in the status quo. Long-term change will only happen when these systems reflect a culturally appropriate, asset-based understanding of the children and families they serve. It will require educators, administrators, and policy makers who.

Educational Psychology and Psychologists

Adair, J. Migration Policy Institute. Alter, C. Calarco, J. Duncan, G. Gershenson, S. Gilliam, W. American Psychological Association.


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    Learning While Black : Creating Educational Excellence for African American Children

    Baltimore, MD: Brookes. Labov, W. Conduct and Communication series. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Matthew, D. Washington, DC: Brookings. Pager, D. Reardon, S. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Sanders-Phillips, K. Settles-Reaves, D.

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    Shonkoff, J. Dobbins, M. McGuinn, J. Stanford CEPA, n.

    Takanishi , R. First Things First! Creating the New American Primary School. New York: Teachers College Press. Valant, J. Kellogg Foundation. Barbara T. Bowman is the Irving B. Harris Professor at Erikson Institute. She was chief officer for early childhood education at the Chicago Public Schools — and a consultant to the US Department of Education , and she served on the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans — James P. In he founded the Comer School Development Program, which promotes the collaboration of parents, educators, and community to improve social, emotional, and academic outcomes for children.

    David J. Print this article. Skip to main content. Bowman, James P. Comer, David J.


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    • Bowman My mother, who had less than two years of formal education, once asked me what I do for a living. Comer We must acknowledge the broader diversity in and of the African American experience and celebrate that all Black children are born geniuses. References Adair, J. Audience: Administrator director or principal , Faculty , Teacher. Young Children. May From my experience in negotiating my son's education in an upper-income private school and in observing in inner-city and suburban schools, these results are not achieved because white children are inherently smarter or because teachers in the upper-income school districts are working harder.

      These outcomes are a reflection of the efforts of parents in negotiating schooling for their children. Parents who are connected to the "culture of power" know the path because they have traveled that path of achievement themselves. They have the resources to purchase homes in affluent school districts; to pay for private education; to threaten to withdraw their children and educate them at home; and to devote time to volunteering in classrooms and on committees and school boards.

      Schools must teach that black lives matter - The Hechinger Report

      By their efforts, they can change, even transform, their schools. An administrator of a prominent midwestern school district told me that the schools work well for upper-income families. I countered that it is not that the schools work well for upper-income families; rather, their children succeed because they know how to work the system or work outside of the system to produce outcomes for their children in spite of what the schools are doing.

      The success of children should not be interpreted as evidence that an upper-middle-class school system works. When I complained, in personal conversations with the associate superintendent of one school district and the superintendent of another, about the work I was having to do to create a smooth passage for my son through school, I received the same response from both: "If you were in my school district, I would route you through my best schools and my best teachers. I was appalled. These statements were made casually, with no concern about what happens to the children who do not have parents on the school board or parents like me.

      When I walk into some inner-city schools, I note a look on the faces of some of the staff that conveys this message: "This is the best job I can get for the amount of money I am being paid, so I am not going anywhere. The children are not going anywhere, either. So, we are just fighting it out for six hours a day. Therefore, architects of popular models of school reform attempt to transform schools by transforming parents, trying to get them all to function as white middle-class parents do.