Children of Color Need Help to Remain Educationally ‘Steady’
What do you do when you see a child who needs help? Last weekend we went to a birthday party at a skating rink. Children of all ages rounded the rink. Some wobbly, others gliding along to the music pumping from what seemed like every perimeter of the room. There were a lot of kids at the party, most of which fell down more than they skated. Not one, that I could see, gave up. Each determined to find a way to stay on their feet. There were times when little skaters needed help. Parents on the sidelines, or out skating, came out of nowhere to offer help when they saw legs moving uncontrollably like rapidly slicing scissors. Or when arms and hands grabbed at the air, for what was bound to be an unsuccessful attempt at gaining balance, instinctively it seemed parents did not hesitate to lend a strong arm for help, whether it was their child or not. There is no question that I will fight tooth and nail to make sure that our children have the best education that we can give them. While education is not a true equalizer, we believe wholeheartedly that it has the potential to be. As parents of African American children we know that the odds are against them. They face challenges when it comes to not only an academic but also an income achievement gap. Still we believe that education is key in overcoming such challenges. But, I would be remiss to look only at helping my children. I care about the success of all children of color. I believe every child should be given the best academic tools in order to gain not only the ability to compete, but also an academic competitive edge. A 2014 Education Trust report on the State of Education for African American Students revealed that educational gains have occurred for African American students, yet there is still a long way to go before the academic achievement gap is put to sleep once and for all. Parents of Latino children also have cause for concern in preparing their children to do battle with the academic achievement gap. Latinos are the fastest growing major ethnic group in U.S. public schools. Currently, about 11.4 million Latino students attend American public schools. The Education Trust 2014 Report The State of Education for Latino Students found that in 2013:
- 19 percent of Latino fourth-graders read at a proficient or advanced level on NAEP, compared with 45 percent of white fourth-graders.
- In AP math, just 3 out of 10 Latino students took any such course.
- Only 4 out of 10 Latino students with high potential for AP science took an AP science course.
- 16 percent of Latinos ages 25-29 held at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 40 percent of white young adults.