Urban Education Symposium | Arts & Culture

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Urban Education Symposium
Urban Education Symposium

Urban Education Symposium 2012

Attended by Malcolm Bloodsaw of Holiday Hill Elementary,
S J Hannan of Andrew Robinson Elementary, William
Jackson educator with DCPS and Edward Waters College.
The Symposium’s focus is on Reclaiming Young Black Males
for Jacksonville’s Future. Malcolm and SJ, the many young
Black men in attendance and the thousands that reside in
Jacksonville the Symposium was directed at them.
Malcolm a 5th grader asked, “why did the people let it get so
bad?” There is no direct answer to this question only speculation
and discussion on societal and economic changes.
The direction of the Symposium was to bring about awareness,
gather support and redirect possible challenges that could lead
to potential and continued failures in school and society by
young Black males.

The community focus for the success of young Black males was
discussed and the realization that this is a national challenge not
just in Jacksonville. Young Black males are affected more by
unemployment, academic challenges and societal challenges that
may lead to criminal involvement.

The discussion brought about several realities;
young Black males are written on referrals more in school,
young Black males are suspended more from school,
young Black males are incarcerated with longer prison sentences,
young Black males are more prone to come from single parent homes,
young Black males do not have the necessary skills to gain employment
and only make minimum wage salaries,
young Black males need to see more male teachers, especially
Black male teachers that can relate and are qualified and certified

Businesses that are interested in hiring young Black males find that
the problem attracting young Black males cannot meet the qualifications
of being employed. This is not just a educational problem, but a social
problem where skill sets are not being taught or reinforced.

In Duval County Public Schools Black male teachers make up only 5%
of teachers. This constitutes a travesty when so many young Black
males need the support and attention of teachers that can relate and
understand the path and mentality of Black males. The involvement
of the Black church was discussed, and how influential Black churches
were in the past to education. Now many are not involved in the
educational systems as they were of the past. Several churches have
after school programs, mentoring programs and support academic
excellence. The declining influence of Black churches can be
seen in neighborhoods and the decreasing influence in emphasizing
the importance of education. Many use to provide scholarships, and
support travel for their members children, but these even have ceased.

SJ a 5th grader stated, “there are too many young Black males without fathers
and fathers need to step-up and take care of their families and their children.”
The wisdom and vision of youth is sometimes overlooked, but in this case
it should be heeded and listened to. As a teacher I see the potential of our
young Black males, but they need support from their fathers, mentorships
help, but nothing compares to the love of an involved and dedicated father. 

Young Black men are shouting out for help and support by their actions and
the choices they make. There is too much lip service and a wait and see
attitude to wait and see what others do. The Black community cannot wait
for someone outside of the communities to come in and try to make changes
in Black families. Blacks must stand up for themselves, helping themselves,
their families and their children.

The longer people wait another generation becomes a statistic, more young
Black males will drop out of school, more young Black males will be involved
in criminal behavior and more young Black males will not go to college, but
go to already overcrowded prisons, serve longer prison sentences to be made an
example of. Black males will be denied educational and social services.

There must be a stop to generational and societal deficiencies by working together
and learning again how to help families with more engagement, prioritize education
and social involvement.

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