Education for the Community


One of the things I often hear public school teachers (including myself at a point in time) tell students is, "success in school will get you out of the 'hood". Or you may hear, "Education will get you out of your situation." In some cases, these statements hold to be true. I'll save the topic of the correlation between success in school vs. "success" in life among Black students for another day. However, what preconceptions are being held within those statements? Who is going to improve those "situations" for future generations?

I believe that it's almost a crime for education and schools to ignore the situations that students of color, specifically urban black students, may encounter in their homes and communities. When education becomes about "leaving the hood", it creates a negative connotation about a place that a lot of kids and families call home. It conditions kids to leave when they attain success and never look back. I'm all for self-improvement and success, but this individualistic mindset does not improve the conditions that affects these particular communities. It takes away a possible contributor and/or leader and leaves the community in the hands of decision-makers who are far removed from the lives of those who are affected.

A true education should teach students how to better understand the issues they face and, ultimately, give students the tools and knowledge to address and solve these issues. Education should give students hope and power that they can be agents of change in their own community and in the larger society.