Friday, November 1, 2013

The Power of "We"

The community mobilization around the Africatown Innovation Center (a portion of the More4Mann Campaign) has reached a climactic moment of celebration.

Many across Seattle are working on developing solutions for the African-American education crisis and the opportunity gap. This weekend WE seek to hear all voices under one roof so that TOGETHER we can take even greater strides towards shifting the paradigm around the education of our children and youth.

The past few days of the campaign have been both energizing and challenging. We have received a gracious amount of support from Superintendent Banda and his staff, but that has not come without backlash from certain segments of the Seattle community. Some community groups, who lack understanding of the AIC’s mission, have moved to pressure the School Board to undo all the progress that we have made alongside the Superintendent over the last 4 months. Yesterday there were several attack articles in the media that lacked substantive understanding of the campaign and the projects community members and educators have been hard at work developing.

In response, we will hold a press conference at 2pm this Saturday.

We will announce the positive educational outcomes and programs that our community will offer and our exciting forthcoming partnership with Seattle Public Schools. Come and learn about many of the successful programs created and organized by parents and community members!

We need every parent, child, youth, and community member that is able to attend in support.  We want to continue to show the unified community of African-American parents, educators and students working together to take responsibility for the education of our children. 

Now is the time to rectify the past inequities and ineffective methods to educate our children.

We will no longer accept and allow sub-standard resources, results, programs and policies directed to our young scholars.  

The 2012 Seattle Public Schools Data for African-American Students highlights the crisis:
-   Only 48.5% of African-American 10th graders met or exceeded standard for Algebra
-   Only 29.1% of African-American 10th graders met or exceeded standard for Biology
-   26.9% rate for short-term suspensions for African-American middle school students (highest number in the district)

In Seattle Public Schools: 
-   African-American high school students are suspended or expelled more than three times as often as other students
-   In middle school, the racial disparity is greater, with blacks 3 1/2 times more likely to be disciplined than other students, according to district data shared with Reuters.
-   More than a quarter of all black middle school pupils have received short-term suspensions in any given year since at least the 2006-07 academic year, compared with 7.4 percent or less annually for white students, the data shows.
-   African-Americans represent just over 20 percent of the 12,500 high school students in the Seattle district and 18 percent of 8,000 middle school students there, and yet they account for more than 40 percent of all suspensions and expulsions in those schools.
-   The racial disparity in student discipline "is a problem," Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Jose Banda, who was appointed last May to oversee the district, told Reuters. "It is a concern for us."

We will no longer accept these types of results.

We have amazing parents, students, activists, educators and leaders in our community.  We have resources AND we have the solutions.  We will only accept a narrative that begins to aim for 100% graduation, 100% African and African-American students ready for college and career, and 100% of our students matriculating to post-secondary options with a network of mentors and a strong positive identity in-tact. 

Join us Saturday. Facebook the event. Invite a friend. Bring your children.

If you only have only 1 hour in the day, join us for the Press Conference at 2 pm.
If you have an extra hour- arrive at 1pm and join us for a meal beforehand.

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