Black education in America has been dubbed a crisis for years in the national consciousness. First, the so-called problem was caused by the “cultural deficit” of the Black family; second, the focus shifted to the academic underperformance of Black students as measured by a “White-Black achievement gap.”
Most recently, the culprit thrown up as a new smokescreen is the supposed danger of “critical race theory.”
Reading Family Engagement in Black Students’ Academic Success instead shows that Black families want to create a sense of community and safe space for learning for their kids in classrooms and schools.
They understand intuitively that they have to build up their students’ emotional strength and confront school dissonances diplomatically because being seen as Black (race) is a critical element in all interactions in school.
They understand intuitively that a critical race approach to education gives them a clear vision of what is wrong and how to make it right.
The truth is that this so-called intuitive knowledge is hard-won from everyday experience and family histories. To Black Americans, the critical nature of the role of race is accepted. Ignoring its role is an assault on the culture of achievement and resistance that has made Black Americans succeed in America.
Families in Family Engagement in Black Students’ Academic Success make strong practical recommendations on how schools can prioritize building a safely inclusive community by incorporating learning about students’ interests, families, and stories, about an honest American history that recognizes the fundamental role of Black Americans.
When students can share their stories, follow their interests and gather to create a collective community for learning, similar to a sports team, they are engaged and committed; they feel valorized, included, and dedicated to paying back to realizing education a human and civil right.