I penned an opinion piece for EDNC in February 2022 about why I enjoy teaching as a Black man in America. This op-ed emphasizes my perseverance in creating an environment where young Black and brown boys and girls could feel safe and encouraged as they pursued their education while focusing on my journey to becoming an educator.
My enthusiasm for teaching progressively changed as I started to reflect back on our shared experiences in and out of the classroom. I soon understood why so many Black male educators were leaving the classroom because I was forced to do so.
As an advocate, a teacher, and a former student who has considered the successes and failures of public schools across the nation, I must admit that the unpleasant reflections were all too familiar.
Supporting a school system that has consistently treated its community leaders and students unfairly has led to the development of a culture of disenfranchisement.
The following 13 concepts are indicators of why, in my opinion, the Beloved community has not been fully actualized and has been undermined by deep-rooted and historically racist public instruction:
Competition culture and the lack of diversity
Denied access to the appropriate curriculum and perceived problems with common core state standards
Discipline disparities, mental health challenges, and the school-to-prison pipeline
Funding deficits and student poverty
Historically recurring realities denying educators of color access, equal protection, and representation
Increased threats to freedom and the decline of school safety
School choice is a hot topic in education
The constant need for diversity, equity, and inclusiveness
Unfiltered racism, systematically directing and grooming behaviors of hatred, and domestic terrorism.
The weaponization of policies and institutions
A wise man once said, “Education is the passport to the future and for this very reason, education is more important now than ever.”
Since the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, we have grown so accustomed to those who purport to speak for us that we fail to notice how educational fairness has not changed. Still some 60 years later and under the pretense of patriotic dissonance, we must continue to fight and not permit school boards and local governments to continue enacting rules that resemble contemporary slave codes.
The task of establishing an equal system continues to be a difficult one that falls not only on the community structure but also on the governance of the institutions that have aided in the current condition of racial and educational equity.
How will you call your community to action for building the Beloved community? Leave your responses in the comment section of the blog.
Jamial Black is a fellow of the American Association of Educators Fellowship and guest blogger for the Educators Voice Blog. He resides in Wake County, North Carolina.