Like failing schools and failing students, failing parents should have a report card.
Parent-teacher conferences, concerts, Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), have one thing in common: white parents are visible supporting theirs kids, but black parents are absent from the crowd. The racial disparity at school events is synonymous to the racial makeup of academic courses. College Preparatory (or as some bigoted students call them, “Colored-Placement”) courses and Advanced Placement (“Asian-Placement”) classes are segregated by ethnicity. I’ve been one of few black faces in my classes for as long as I can remember. Isolation from my black peers forced me to question why I sat alone in AP classes. What differentiated me from my black peers? Parental involvement?
I attended the Minority Student Achievement Network (MSAN) Conference in 2016, which brings students from diverse school districts together to draft initiatives to improve race relations in their community. I drafted the Minority Outreach Initiative (MOI) to combat the insufficient minority parent involvement. Designed to serve as a sub-program of PTO, MOI caters specifically to the educational endeavours of minority students by promoting minority parental engagement. In 2017, again, I attended MSAN and developed a mentorship program for black 7th and 8th grade students to improve their academic transition from middle school to high school.
As my high school career comes to a end, I look to where I have made a mark in my community. The social disparities in Shaker City Schools taught me the importance of advocating and fighting for the ignored and disadvantaged, showing me where my passions lie. MSAN and other oraganizations like the Minority Achievcement Commitee (MAC) and NAACP seek to remedy these issues, but more work must me done. I challenge Shaker to hire more black teachers, support student activism equally, and promote culturally sensitive learning environments.