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Even when choosing a school, some black families are running out of options decades after Brown v. Board



Since first grade, 16-year-old Julian Morris has modified schools six times, switching between predominantly white and predominantly black classes. No one met all his needs, his mother said.

In predominantly white schools, he struggled academically but felt less included. In schools with predominantly black students, he felt more supported as a black student, but his mother, Denita Dorsey, stated that the colleges didn’t have the identical academic resources and opportunities.

Seventy years after the Supreme Court ruled that separating children in schools based on race was unconstitutional, Dorsey said the options available to her family in Michigan were disappointing.

“Segregation has been abolished, sure, but our schools are still deeply segregated by race and socioeconomics,” Dorsey said. “It makes you think: 70 years have passed, but was it worth it?”

The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling and desegregation orders were only the primary steps toward the elusive goal of an equitable education. For some black families, school alternative was crucial to find the most effective option available. And that did not necessarily mean the varsity with essentially the most racial diversity.

Denita Dorsey poses together with her son Julian Morris, 16, in Saginaw, Michigan, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Mere integration shouldn’t be what black families have been striving for for decades, said Bernita Bradley of the National Parents Association, an education advocacy group.

“We wanted integration with accountability, but that’s not what we got,” she said. “That’s why we need choice, but we still need high-quality options.”

In 2022, Dorsey made what she called a “controversial decision” by choosing Saginaw High School in Michigan, which is predominantly black, over Juliana Charter School, which is predominantly white.

“I faced a challenge and had an argument with my family. However, Julian now receives more support from teachers and administration than he ever did at his previous schools, she said.

Brown’s decision is seen as a key impetus for launching the fashionable school alternative movement. As many white families began turning to personal schools to avoid court mandates, state lawmakers – mostly in Southern states – began to launch school voucher programs.

In Prince Edward County, Virginia, which closed all public schools for five years in 1959 to avoid integration, state and native governments gave white families tuition scholarships and tax credits to attend private schools. Black families weren’t supplied with similar options. The move inspired other states to adopt similar programs before the Supreme Court ruled them illegal.

The arguments for college alternative have evolved over time.

Some thinkers within the Nineteen Sixties, corresponding to Milton Friedman, argued that giving families money for education as they saw fit would revolutionize education by encouraging schools to enhance or fall behind. At the identical time, civil rights leaders have emphasized that the alternative could equalize education for lower-income families, which overwhelmingly include Black and Latino students.

Today, some of essentially the most vocal supporters of vouchers not see them as a solution to push for social justice, said Claire Smrekar, a professor of education and public policy at Vanderbilt University. Rather, the main focus was on parents’ rights and removing restrictions that may prevent wealthier families from taking advantage of programs at the colleges of their alternative.

“This expansion is truly remarkable if you think about it,” Smrekar said. “There is no argument here for social justice for families trapped in poverty and destined for low-performing schools. The new argument is that everyone should enjoy this subsidy.”

Janel Jones poses together with her son, Christon Jones, 17, on Friday, May 17, 2024, in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Jones, a divorced veteran from Atlanta with two children, said while she has seen the advantages of alternative by sending her 13-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son to seven different schools across the country, she believes that simply giving parents alternative shouldn’t be enough. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Meanwhile, conservative attacks on how topics related to race and racism are taught in schools have only made alternatives more attractive to some black families. Some schools devote themselves to affirming students’ black heritage, usurping the designation of freedom schools that emerged throughout the Civil Rights Movement in response to the inferior education black Americans received within the South.

“Parents just want a safe and caring environment for their child to attend and for them to be a partner in my child’s journey to success,” Bradley said.

During the pandemic, Black families have also turned to homeschooling in large numbers, motivated partly by a desire to guard their children from racism in classrooms and to higher meet their kid’s individual educational needs.

American schools are more racially diverse today in comparison with the Brown v. Board era, but schools have been resegregated with lasting academic consequences. Schools where students of color make up greater than 90% of the scholar body are five times more more likely to be in low-income areas where students underperform academically.

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According to research from Stanford University’s Educational Opportunity Project, the recent increase in segregation appears to be due partly to highschool alternative. In school districts where charter schools have grown the fastest over the past two decades, segregation has increased essentially the most.

At Michigan, Julian said he thought his mother was “tripping or just going off the rails” to get him out of highschool.

“It wasn’t until I arrived at Saginaw High School that I looked back for a second time and realized that what I was told and what happened at the school was not okay,” Julian said. “I was different there because I’m black. But now in Saginaw I feel more welcoming, I feel included and supported. I feel the difference.”

Janel Jones, a mother of two from Atlanta, said she saw the advantages of alternative, sending her 13-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son to a total of seven different schools. However, simply giving parents a alternative shouldn’t be enough, she added.

“School choice is not a choice if it is not fair. Ultimately, liberation directly impacts our economic outcomes, and as parents we must ensure that these educational systems challenge them academically but also meet their needs as members of society,” Jones said.

She said it isn’t so simple as sending your kids to an all-black school.

“Your child is protected, but also pampered. You haven’t learned to understand and deal with the microaggressions you’re sure to encounter when you land your first job. This is the educational part that we as black parents also need to teach our children and that is not going to change any time soon,” she said.

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National No Child Care Day: DC should not balance its budget at the expense of our children




As a mother and community organizer, I look to my children and others to see the hopes and guarantees for his or her future. I’m also keenly aware of the importance of systems that promote the health and well-being of our children, which makes DC Budget cuts proposed by Mayor Muriel Bowser to the child welfare system, which is the cornerstone of every child’s well-being at an early stage of development, which is deeply disturbing to me and other parents and social activists.

The work of child care providers has been economically devalued since: the days when enslaved African women forcibly raised white children. Bowser’s budget cuts reinforce the slavery-era belief that black and brown child care employees do not deserve fair wages. These women are the invisible backbone of American communities and economies. They deserve a salary that can provide them with an honest standard of living. The DC Mayor and Council should put money into our children the same way they put money into millionaires. That’s why we’re working tirelessly to stop this from happening again.

May 13 is National Day Without Child Care (DWOCC), a day for child care providers to advocate for our government systems to create cheaper and accessible child care. As proud members of the Raising Child Care Fund, we are going to focus our efforts today on urging Mayor Bowser to say no to harmful cuts to the child care budget.

On April 3, Mayor Bowser proposed a budget for fiscal 12 months 2025 that eliminates it entirely Early Childhood Education Equalization Fund. The Pay Equality Fund (PEF) was established in 2021 under birth law for 3 years for all DC residents enacted in 2018. This program proposed everlasting funding to assist offer direct payments to child care professionals and employers to bring child care employees’ wages and advantages in step with their colleagues in the DC public school system.

In 2019, before the National Federation of Feedbackers DC Average Income was $15.36 for a babysitter in comparison with $33.10 for a preschool teacher and $44.16 per hour for an elementary school teacher. The implementation of the Pay Equity Fund in 2022 and 2023 has helped fill this gap paying $80 million to over 4,000 preschool teachers and their facilities to extend wages and salaries. DC relatively expensive standard of living implies that any potential fall in childcare wages to the minimum wage will force many employees to search out alternative employment.

Another PEF program, Health4CareChild care, provided teachers caring for young children with free or low-cost medical insurance. It is estimated that 16% of child care employees under the age of 65 are uninsured in comparison with 4.23% of teachers. The loss of this program will leave many employees uninsured or underinsured, which could also be the case further and disproportionately widen health disparities impact on Black communities in DC

DC has moreover proposed cutting $10 million from the child care subsidy program, which has helped lower child care costs for low-income families. Only current DC child care offers serve 71% of demand. Lower wages combined with subsidy cuts will result in an excellent greater lack of child care available to DC families.


These cuts to the child care budget are a profound betrayal of the guarantees made by the DC mayor and council members to early childhood educators, especially provided that DC has increased education requirements and regulations for child care employees.

In December 2023, DC it required all its manpower in little children have child development credentials or an educational degree. Relatively, only five other states require similar minimum credentials. Increasing educational requirements while abandoning guarantees of increased pay for this predominantly black workforce is deeply damaging to the economic and mental well-being of our child care employees.

The DC government justified these budget cuts by stating that DC needed to search out funds to replenish its reserve funds. Bowser’s budget though attached $3.1 million for juvenile justice centers, $32 million for tourism and marketing subsidies and $551 million for downtown Chinatown revitalization.

Additionally, Tazra Mitchell, director of policy and strategy at the DC Fiscal Policy Institutehe wrote on Twitter “In 2021, the CFO’s office told me that DC had only spent about 75% of its cash flow reserve at any given time.”

The DC government decides to chop child care teaching programs that positively impact Black communities in favor of programs that impact corporate profits to be able to solve the money flow problem. This is an unjust act of democracy that we cannot allow to prevail.

As community members who consider in moving DC toward a caring economy, we’re dedicating our time, attention and resources to urging the DC Mayor and Council not to show their backs on child care employees.

On May 13, we plan to host caregivers and fogeys in the Wilson Building, which houses the mayor’s and council members’ offices. We will probably be hosting office hours and meetings with council members Phil Mendelson, Jeneese Lewis George, Kenyan McDuffee, Christina Henderson and others supporting the restoration of the pay equity fund. SPACE in Action may also host automotive brigades and display banners calling on the DC Council to maintain its promise to child care providers.

Proposed budget cuts to the child care system will threaten the physical and economic health of greater than 4,000 child care employees, mostly Black and Brown. This will worsen an already deepening child care crisis that has left so many families unable to search out inexpensive and accessible take care of their children. The tangible consequences of cutting child care will outweigh the imagined advantages gained from increasing DC’s rainy day fund.

At DWOCC, join us in urging the DC mayor and council members to guard our children’s future by protecting our early childhood educators in the present. No child’s educational development or caregivers’ livelihood should be limited to be able to balance the budget.


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The mother-daughter duo graduated from Rutgers School of Social Work together




Is Rutgers a good school for social work?

Congratulations are to ensure that one mother-daughter duo.

Latonya Johnson, 43, and Laila Birchett, 21, graduated together from the School of Social Work at Rutgers University on Sunday. the institution made available.

“I took my first college course in 1999.” said Johnson, a divorced mother of six whose children range in age from 4 to 26. “From 1999 to the present, I have tried to go back in time six times, but to no avail. I couldn’t manage my time properly because I was a wife, mother and worked full-time.”

In addition to being a full-time mother before enrolling at Rutgers, Johnson worked full-time and took classes part-time. Birchett suggested that they attend school together, prompting her mother to cut back her working hours and enroll at university in September 2022.

“Her journey has been truly inspiring,” Birchett said of her mother. “It encouraged me to work harder in college.”

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The former Montclair State student knew she desired to pursue a field that may allow her to assist others, especially the homeless and the elderly. Johnson previously worked as an authorized alcohol and drug counselor.

At Rutgers, the mother-daughter duo attended different classes but had the identical teacher. They relied on one another for support, from computer technology to real-life experiences.

“There were times when I struggled to cope in school,” Birchett said. People Magazine reported. “But I always thought if my mom could do it, I could do it.”

Johnson and Birchett will enroll within the Rutgers Master of Social Work program this fall.

“My family — my kids, my mom and dad — they’re all proud because it’s two generations going to college together,” Johnson said, in keeping with Rutgers. “I never thought that in one million years I’d go to high school with my daughter and graduate from the identical university and the identical field. It’s a bit of surreal, but it surely has brought us closer together because we’ve got connected on a level I never thought I’d have the option to attach with my children.

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A Virginia school board voted to restore Confederate names at two schools. I bet even Robert E. Lee is confused.




Panama Jackson

Many years ago, I took my wife on her first trip to the Deep South, during which we made an 11-hour trip from Washington, D.C. to Huntsville, Alabama, to visit my parents. My wife, who is from Ghana and moved to New Jersey at age 11 before attending Howard University, had never been to the South before. Sure, she was in Miami, but I think we will all agree that Miami and anywhere in Alabama should not the identical.

Like many individuals from, well, anywhere else, she was very anxious in regards to the trip. Between all of the documentaries in regards to the Civil Rights Movement, history, racist white people, and the final notion that “the South is a place where racism thrives,” she was quite concerned about being kicked with the n-word, potentially kidnapped, and was an ancestor just crossing the imaginary border to the “South”. I assured her that wasn’t the case, but we soon had our first (humorous) encounter with racism.

No greater than two hours outside of DC, we stopped for a rest stop so my kids could use the restroom. We were just outside the border of Northern Virginia, which is not an independent state, but anyone who lives within the DC area knows the difference between “Virginia” and “Northern Virginia,” which is just like the difference between Atlanta and Georgia. A whole group of motorcyclists with Confederate flags on their shirts were parked at the facilities. I talked to one in all the bikers in regards to the weather and we each went our separate ways, but she felt justified. Racism was waiting for us as soon as we hit Virginia. I laughed it off, but I couldn’t disagree with it either.


This memory is the very first thing I considered when I read the recent news in regards to the all-white school board in Shenandoah County, Virginia, voting againwrite down the names of the two schools originally named after racists and losers – Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Turner Ashby. The two schools in query, now Mountain View High School and Honey Run Elementary School, were renamed within the wake of George Floyd’s murder in 2020, when people made the historically correct decision to remove Confederate symbols and rename schools named after LOSERS CIVIL WAR.

I cannot emphasize enough how idiotic I think it is to honor the losers of the war that tore the country apart, but white people will likely be white people, you recognize? I bet even Stonewall Jackson and Nem will likely be like, “Really??? Wow… what a bunch of idiots. We lost. If we had won, we certainly wouldn’t have had any schools named after Union generals!” Robert E. Lee even against monuments after every little thing was said and done. Why? Because putting up monuments and stuff like that it could be too divisive. What are we even doing here?

Despite what number of community members didn’t want to change the names back to Stonewall Jackson High School and Ashby Lee Elementary, the conservative school board stated, “Yes, we definitely need to put these racists back on the field! LEGACY, NOT HATE!” Forget what message this sends to students of color in these schools; it is more vital to honor the LOSERS of the Civil War because clearly the defenders of slavery and racism were people of high moral standing and character, more so than the school board that modified names after the 2020 murder of George Floyd.

My God.

It’s bad enough that racists have gained momentum through the years with “critical race theory” bans and reversing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, but now districts are actively bringing racists into schools? Deliberately? White people never stop to amaze me with their boldness and audacity. Especially since everyone knows what happens from here; the proven fact that something like this happened on this case signifies that other school districts may follow suit, not for a very good reason, but to make some extent. The proven fact that I hate it here really doesn’t describe how I feel.

The aliens (and Robert E. Lee) have to be very confused.

Panama Jackson

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