Going back to school for Black children can be tough. Connecting with your child’s teacher is one of the most important responsibilities that a parent of a Black child has. It is much easier than most parents think.
After the preschool age some parents start dropping the ball. Some parents think that the school system will do the rest and all they have to do is get their child to school. This cannot be an option for parents of Black children. Black children are more likely to not graduate high school and get suspended in school.
Parents still have to rear their child. A childhood cannot fend for himself or herself at five. They still need an advocate. Parents still must be able to go to bat for these Black children. As years go buy parents should let their children fight more battles on their own but a child is not ready to fight the war that is against that child.
Black children are not treated equally from birth. I can remember when my first child was born. It was a scary time because I was a new father. When we were ready to check out of the hospital the nurse asked my wife and me about three times if I wanted to fill out WIC papers. We kept telling her no and that we did not qualify. This was not a big deal to me at 25 years old. I’ve faced racism in many forms, some covert, some not. But I thought about my new son. She was already labeling him as a welfare child before he was even a week old.
This is why parents must have both hands in the education of their children. Whether you start your child in the public school system (charter or traditional) or at a private school you should follow these five steps every year that your child is in school.
Attend Back to School Night
Meet your child’s teacher. See who will be in that class with your child over 180 days a year. This is a person who will be with your child for over ten months. Make sure you show up and take notes. When you attend back to school night either attend in business attire or in your work uniform.
Back to school night is not the time to get a one on one meeting about your child. It’s simply a time to meet the teacher and administrators that will be working with your child on a daily basis. Make sure to introduce yourself, however. Simply let the teacher know who’s parent you are and let the teacher know that your thankful for their service.
Attend a Board Meeting
Most of them are boring. Most of them only talk about which teacher or principal is retiring or getting hired. This does not mean that you shouldn’t still try to attend a few a year. Many times in between the boring comments of resignations and appointments there may be concerns for parents. Board meetings usually also offer a chance for parents to speak about concerns that they may have also. Meeting the board members and introducing yourself to the superintendent and other central administration is always a plus. Keep these contacts in your back pocket and use them if you ever have a reservation about how your child is being treated or subjected to.
Sign Up for a Parent Teacher Conference
Back to school night is a night for a simple meet and greet but parent teacher conferences are times that are dedicated specifically for your child. This is a time to also iron out any creases that may have arisen between your child and your child’s teacher. Conferences are also a time to show your child’s teacher that you are concerned about his or her well being. Sadly, many teachers judge a child for his or her parent’s mistakes. Many teachers, both white and non white, will brush children aside who do not have parents that show concern. This is wrong on all sides but it is the world that your child lives in.
Email Your Child’s Teacher
Making sure your child receives the best education is sometimes as easy as staying connected with the teacher. Once again it is a shame that we live in this kind of world. In an ideal education system, all children would receive their fair share. But this goes on across all incomes and races. Even in higher echelon communities, the mayor’s son and the police chief’s daughter receive better treatment. As a parent of a Black child you must go to bat every time for your child. Check in with your child’s teacher at least once a month. This keeps the line of communication open and it gives the teacher a reminder that you are a parent who cares and is interested in the well being of their child.