Know Better and Do Better

By Chelsea Davis-Bibb

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”  – Benjamin Franklin

I want to start this article with a question.  How involved are you in your child’s education?  In today’s society, I don’t think we take advantage of the educational opportunities that are available to our children.  There are many factors that I think contribute to this such as parents utilizing the education system as a babysitter, the parents may have multiple jobs and may not have time to fully focus on their child’s education, or maybe because the parents are simply not informed of what is available for their child.  Whatever the case may be, your child needs you to pay attention, be involved, and be present.

As a parent, it is our responsibility to make sure that our child’s needs are taken care of.  This includes making sure that they are receiving a quality education that will help prepare them to be a productive citizen in the world.  The issue is that our children are still falling behind.  We have to do better as parents and do better as a community to bring them to their fullest potential.  

There was a time when Black people risked their lives trying to learn how to read and write, but today, it seems as if we have “come too far” and have forgotten the struggles that our ancestors once faced.  During slavery, slaves were not allowed to learn how to read and write because it was better to keep them ignorant.  If you’re ignorant, then you don’t know any better, and if you don’t know any better, then you can’t do any better.  We owe it to our ancestors, and we owe it to our children to do better.

The National Center for Education Statistics conducted a study in 2015-2016 regarding a high school graduation cohort.  The ACGR (Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate) is the percentage of public high school freshmen who graduate with a regular diploma within 4 years of starting 9thgrade.

 Some of their findings found “American Indian/Alaska Native (72 percent), Black (76 percent), and Hispanic (79 percent) public high school students were below the national average of 84 percent.  The ACGRs for White (88 percent) and Asian/Pacific Islander (91 percent) students were above the national average.”  For me, below the national average is unacceptable.  So how can we change this?

I believe it always has to start at home.  Parents have to be involved in their child’s education.  They have to go to meetings, be informed of what their child is being taught, and most importantly, ask questions and speak up if something is not right. 

In addition, parents should get their children involved in different extracurricular activities so that they can explore their interest and determine what it is they may want to do in life.  Many don’t realize that the younger days contribute to a lot of how a child develops. 

When they are little children, they follow what has been set in front of them.  They soak up everything that is around them.  So parents, you have to be a great role model for them, and be there for them.  This means not just showing up, but being present as well.