Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
I have not made one public opinion regarding Saint Louis' tragic events involving Ferguson Missouri and Mike Brown, and I still prefer to keep my thoughts and opinions to face-to-face spaces rather than virtual ones. I would like to publicly share, however, how much I am appreciating Tammie Holland's on-going interviews with Mike Brown's mother, Leslie McSpadden.
Yesterday while listening to the radio on my drive to work, Ms.Tammie Holland had the nerve to play Tevin Campbell's "Tomorrow" cut from back in the day. Maaaaaaaan!!!! I was already feeling all kinds of ways when she broke out with the "Save the Children" anthem by my angelic-heaven-husband, Marvin Gaye. But I have not heard Tevin Campbell's "Tomorrow" song since....Shoot!...since forever! Confession: I am normally the designated DJ in my car, so if she plays it often, I am unaware. Regardless, it served as the perfect preface to her conversation with Mike Brown's mom. Fortunately, I do not wear mascara because right after popping my fingers, swaying to the beat and humming a sing-along, tears suddenly clouded my driving visibility while listening to Ms. Leslie McSpadden speak about her son. Yes, she has been vocal in the media on numerous occasions, but it was something different about this mother-to-mother interview. Ughhhh! I was a little messed up before reporting to work, but then I remembered the HOPE expressed in these timeless lyrics:
Leslie McSpadden talked about Mike Brown's "old soul" and selfless spirit. A spirit that led him to move with his aging grandmother in order to serve as her caretaker. She also discussed how birthing him at the age of sixteen defined their mother-son relationship. His mature nature and man-like size encouraged his sense of over-protection for his mother. So many black children are playing adult roles to assist with the daily struggles of survival as though the voice of Langston Hughes' famous poem, "Mother to Son", is being retold but with our children telling their stories for us to listen and learn instead.
During this time of unrest and awakening, may our children still find peace and hope in their righteous revolts. And may the adults allow them to rewrite history without undermining their voices with preachiness, fears and complacency.... let us NOW listen. HOTEP!
Sunday, November 9, 2014
Whew! I guess I should come up for air now. It has been a YouTube Black movie marathon Sunday for me and I am still debriefing and deconstructing Black people's struggle and survival. It all started with a desire to revisit Maya Angelou's, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" film before reading her latest collection of works, Rainbow in the Cloud: The Wisdom and Spirit of Maya Angelou. That, however, led to the films: "Rolling Thunder Hear My Cry", "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and "The Slave Narratives". You know how YouTube can get you caught up! So much so, I have yet to get pass the first few pages of the book. Since it is a pretty quick read, I thought I might drop a blog post first.
Rather than explore and explain all the the thoughts that trampled across my mind after hours of viewing cinematic displays of black folks' spirit, faith, intelligence, endurance, forgiveness, love, and solidarity during the most horrific times in history, I have narrowed them down to the most blog- appropriate theme and common thread running through all of the movies: Black peoples' undying love for READING....but dying for reading. The ability to decipher the written word was literally a life or death making decision!
Then I got to thinking. Given all our post-slavery accomplishments and integrated "luxuries", why is the historical reminder of slaves being blinded or killed if caught learning to read not motivating enough to drive a thirst for high literacy-- like for so many other freedoms and liberties denied us. Take the recent campaigns to "guilt" black folks into voting because black people historically fought for the right to vote. What kind of LITERACY campaign would it take to promote reading as important as voting? And might I add, there already exist a historical connection between the two: Literacy Codes.
Shamefully, we still hear it riddled that the best way to hide something from a Black person is to place it inside a book. But why? We have fought fearlessly against so many injustices. Why are today's low literacy rates among Blacks, particularly males, considered comparable to modern-day lynchings? Something as free, personal and non-combative as READING? If the ropes of lynchings planted as seeds of fear within black men who even thought about looking at white women...let alone dating them... do not prevent black men from dating/marrying white women today, what could explain lacking a proclivity for reading? We often use historical deprivations and inequities to justify or explain our zest for various current achievements, so why are books still considered safety boxes to protect one's valuables from black folks?
Hopefully our desire to fight illiteracy will soon become just as fierce as our determination to love who we want. Especially since, black people have died for both!
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Yeah...Yeah..Yeah...I fell off for a minute...sue me! LOL! If there is one thing I hate about blogging, it would have to be its up-to-date posting feature. Hmmmm???....there might actually be a way to turn it off. Is there? Of course my desire to mask the dates whenever I feel the urge to post relates to my "blog abandonment issues". I will have a thousand and two reasons to strike up a bloggersation, but then I resort to just good old fashion pen and paper. And once I get it all out...oh well...the thought of transcribing it is simply deflated. It's a wrap! Okay...enough with the excuse-making and disclaimers! If you don't know anything about me at all, you should know by now how infrequently I post. So moving on! Now let's proceed to the order of learning business!
I have grown quite tired and bored with the parent/home versus teacher/school debate. What am I talking about you ask? Well simply put, it is the argument around who is responsible for TEACHING our babies. Some say, "Parents send us the best they have!" and "Parents are not the ones getting paid to teach!" The opposing side slings back, "Parents are the first teachers!" and "I can't do my job without the support of the parent(s)!"
So who is to blame? Not one particular group over the other. Yes, we need to discover creative ways of bridging the home and school gap. Unfortunately, playing the "who is more responsible" game further divides us, as demonstrated by a Saint Louis radio discussion among educators I heard today. Yes! It is what sparked this very post. I joined the listening audience somewhere near the end of the program, but I heard enough to catch the gist of the conversation and to discover that the radio guests stood in opposing corners of the learning box. Like political parties plugging their agendas and slinging soundbites, the radio guests appeared to make points that intended to be philosophically opposing when they were fundamentally interwoven. Yes, we need good teachers who are professionally equipped and trained to teach "black and brown" children! Yes, we need parents to do whatever they can to support their children's education. And yes, we need students to be held accountable and responsible for their own learning! Yes...Yes...Yes...WE NEED!...and YES WE...that presidential C-word!
Instead of politicizing the issues and blame calling, let's just agree to AGREE! Everyone plays a role and drives a lane on the stage and highway of learning success! Though it may sound cliche, but the African proverb about the village still holds true. But like the wise folks say, "Common sense has never been common". In case you are a parent reading this and you have no clue as to what you can do since you might work long hours, raise your children single-handily, feel inadequate about school, or struggle to provide a safe and adequate home for your children, here is what my mom did and she struggled with all the aforementioned. Why Tupac's confession about his mom being a drug addict in the song, "Dear Mama" popped into my head just now....I am uncertain. SMH! However, back to the one thing: LOVE! Yes...LOVE! There is no excuse for sending a child to school feeling unloved! PERIOD! My fondest childhood memories are those times when having no money meant giving more love to disguise the fact that we were poor in pockets but rich in LOVE! That is what I perceive to be the WEAKEST link today. Just love on your babies by showing and telling them several times every day. Kiss them and hug them and talk to them! PUT DOWN THESE DAMN "TOUCH" PHONES AND TECHNOLOGY AND LOVINGLY TOUCH OUR BLACK BABIES!
Regardless of where a child's academic level or social development is upon entering school, it will be much easier for the teacher to take children where they need to be if they leave home feeling LOVED! Now if children feel and act any less LOVED when they return home, the teachers/schools are not doing their job! That's it... Debate Resolved! So let's stop with all the "urban" and "woe is po' folks in the hood" to explain why black and brown babies can not compete and learn. Do you remember why the caged bird sings? STUDY YOUR HISTORY!
Let's love on our babies and make sure that those that teach and "school" them do the same.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Today is a personal professional day for me! I am catching up on reading, study materials and writing. I would like to give a personal shout out to a "Warrior Educator" in New Orleans who is obviously grinding for the sake of our children errrrrrrrday! I purchased a copy of his African-centered grammar book some months ago, and signed up for his blog/newsletters. The amount of discipline, courage and self-love it takes for a brotha to use his African wisdom and Western education for the liberation of his people, particularly black children is simply impressive! Not too many black people escape the brainwash beatings of a doctorate degree...so giving Brother/Dr. Samori Camara props is well-deserved.Since I can be rather sporadic about updating my blog, I thought I might share this brotha's information in case you have yet to hear of him.
While Dr.Umar Johnson is making his philosophical imprint regarding special education and black boys, along with a campaign to open a school for them, Brother/Dr. Samori Camara offers the tools and resources for teaching our children at home! There is a great need for both, which is why I chose to mention these two brothers. I do, however, lean more to the side of homeschooling because of its simplicity and village-like nature. Homeschooling forces family accountability and eliminates the need to collectively raise money...something black folks endlessly discuss or attempt. Meanwhile, the children are still mis-educated, misdiagnosed and under-served!
But like the African Sankofa symbol teaches, "it is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten". And so this brings me back (pun intended) to where I left off....a private day for sharpening my tools for independently educating our black children and recognizing those that put in the work to do so!
Friday, June 27, 2014
Not much has changed...really
Well, I'm baaaaaaack! Nothing like a little school politics to get the blood boiling and pumping for writing. I spotted this article on Jamilah Nasheed's FB newsfeed and figured I would blog my feelings rather than post a 10,0000-character comment on her feed and then have to respond to comments in response to my reponse....and so forth and so on! That type of thing could take all day. However, the fortunate thing about having a blog is unless you are celebrity famous or underground popular, very few people...if any...will take the time to even comment on your blog post. It's as though people prefer a word fight or orgy only when they know a lot of people are sitting around witnessing the comment combat or love fest! LOL! Not as much action as an unknown blogger, so I am choosing to vent my commentary as a post on my own cricket-sounding board.
Like Democrats and Republicans....not much difference between charter and public schools....politically speaking! So who is really shocked by the two scratching each other's backs and blending their efforts in order to survive. Whether parents choose public or charter, their children are still attending school with the same children from both their immediate and extended neighborhoods. The "charter" granted to a public school is about what special liberties are extended to the ADULTS who operate, manage, run and teach! The children are only a by-product of the charter's freedom to TRY something different from "regular" public schools. However, the children, parents, neighborhood and community remain the same.
Sooooooooo...where is the change really needed?! Ashe'! By Goddess, I think you got it! Yep...we as the first teachers, community supporters, business/property owners and elders of the neighborhood MUST change. Otherwise, we will continue to get caught up in the distractions of politics while the children continue to be under-served and mis-educated! As the article openly admits, charter and public are combining their agendas and efforts in order to save the image of St. Louis city, attract newcomers and investments and prevent WHITE people from flying way! If you are a black parent whose complaints have remained the same since removing your child from a public school to a charter, you already KNOW what I am talking about. You could write a book or a post on the topic yourself! Trust me...I know! Just talk to the parents of children who have placed their children in charter and public and many will tell you just how SIMILAR they both are...when it comes to MIS-EDUCATING black children. So what are we to do?!
I have a few suggestions...but like a great movie trailer-teaser...you will have to wait until I complete the book. Don't worry... it will cost no more than your weekly Redbox or lottery ticket expense, but a girl has to make a living! Unfortunately, no matter what solutions I suggest, unless you as a parent are ready to make and enforce change, you will continue to shuffle our black babies from one school pipe dream to another while spending your tax dollars and hoping to find a perfect fit.
So there you have it folks...whoever out there might be reading! My morning thesis: charter versus public is synonymous with voting on issues labeled Republican and/or Democratic; for, both are only abstract ideas and models of type casting! Did having a black president make for a post-racial society? Neither will choosing one school over another...the education of a BLACK child is the responsibility of BLACK people! PERIOD!
Ok... yeah...the article: click here!
Friday, June 20, 2014
Why is there such shame and guilt attached to abandoned blogs? In case you did not know, blogs require almost round-the-clock care. I can understand why a blogger would hire or welcome ghost and freelance writers; this is definitely a labor of love!
I have been busy making and scraping pennies together to pay bills while fantasizing about a published book. Tonight, I at least created my writing space and unpacked my manuscript folders. That is a huge step in the WRITE direction!
I have also started my own tutoring company. Not only does owning a business feed my entrepreneurial spirit but it fuels my passion for teaching! Marketing a business that allows me to work with integrity instead of compromise is so overly empowering. I am afforded the grace to actually tell parents what I really think and teach children the way I really want to teach without fear of an administrator's backlash or punitive paper trail.
I still, however, feel it's important to serve as keepers of our children in public schools where they are usually under-served and misrepresented. As a freelance educator, I will continue to build connections with schools willing to use my expertise without me signing a restrictive teacher's contract. Yes, I am committed to remaining a FREE educator who serves as an agent and advocate for children! My purpose is quite clear!
If you are a parent or educator interested in forming a relationship with a business designed to meet and nurture children's natural abilities using a whole-child approach to learning, TUTORGANIC is the supplemental choice for you! If you are in the St. Louis area, I am available for all elementary subjects, parent conferences, home visits, student/parent advocacy, emergency child care and enrichment. activities.
Please feel free to call and schedule a "Meet and Greet" session, where we will discuss your child's needs, payment options and scheduling. This "Meet and Greet" also affords your child an opportunity to interview me for the job. After all, who are better qualified to choose teachers?
Along with running a business and birthing a book, I will add the extra pressure of keeping this blog fresh and updated!
You may call me at: 424-777-5107 Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Visit and LIKE my FB page!