RJN! featured on Community for Just Schools Podcast- Shuttered Doors: The Depletion of Black Dayton

The Communities for Just Schools Fund (CJSF) is a donor collaborative that supports community-led organizations working to ensure healthy school climates. Recently, CJSF’s Gabriel L. Matthews spoke with Hashim Jabar, Interim Executive Director of Racial Justice NOW! and Zakiya Sankara-Jabar, National Field Organizer and Co-Founder of Racial Justice NOW! about the increasing divestment from West Dayton schools and the community.

Click HERE to take a listen!

 

RJN! Director speaks at American Education Research Association 2018 Conference

Black education special interest group receives culturally curriculum relevant toolkit

RJN! Interim Director, Hashim Jabar, was invited to speak at the recent American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference in New York City. The American Educational Research Association (AERA), founded in 1916, is concerned with improving the educational process by encouraging scholarly inquiry related to education and evaluation and by promoting the dissemination and practical application of research results. It is a national research society that strives to advance knowledge about education, to encourage scholarly inquiry related to education, and to promote the use of research to improve education and serve the public good.

 

The coveted invitation came from A Black Education Network (ABEN) Executive Director Debra Watkins, M.Ed., M.A. Founder, President & Executive Director ABEN, California Alliance of African American Educators (CAAAE) San Jose, California. Within the AERA community of education researchers, members belong to one or more of the 12 divisions and over 155 special interest groups (SIGs). Debra Watkins belongs to the Black education SIG. Jabar addressed the Black researchers about RJN! & the West Dayton Youth Task Force’s campaign to promote culturally relevant curriculum and culturally responsive schools. He also shared the organization’s culturally relevant curriculum toolkit.

Watch the video here

Racial Justice NOW! will also be the event opener at ABEN’s summer Institute at Stanford University. The theme is Pedagogies & Practices for Successfully Reaching African American Students.

 

Hashim Jabar and RFBE’s new Black Education SIG Chair– Dr. T. Elon Dancy, II. He is a Professor of Education, African & African American Studies, and Women’s & Gender Studies & Associate Dean for Community Engagement and Academic Inclusion in the College of Education at the University of Oklahoma.

 

Dr. Stephen Hancock- ABEN’s Board,and ABEN Exec. Dir. Debra Watkins, and RJN! Director Hashim Jabar

 

 

 

Study: Black students not closing gap in local school districts

Data from all Montgomery County school districts shows struggle over multiple years
local

By Jeremy P. Kelley – Staff Writer

Black students, especially boys, in Montgomery County have not improved academically the way their peers have over a period of years, a point leaders of Learn to Earn Dayton called “incredibly sobering” at an event for community leaders Friday.

The agency’s Know the Gap, Close the Gap report, using data from all Montgomery County school districts, shows that by a variety of measures — kindergarten readiness, third-grade reading, college retention — years of legally required “gap closing” efforts have not had the desired effect locally.
Professor Gloria Ladson-Billings talks about helping challenged students.

“African-American students, especially boys, come in behind and stay behind, and in many instances, the gap actually widens,” said Ritika Kurup, director of early learning at Learn to Earn Dayton. “The data is heartbreaking. … Less than 3 in 10 African-American boys reaches proficiency (under Ohio’s test-based definition) at any time during their K-12 career.”

Tom Lasley, CEO of Learn to Earn, said he remains optimistic because the area’s focus on preschool and other early-childhood education is too new to show up in test data that doesn’t touch this school year.

“There’s going to be a delay of a year or two before you see any movement in those numbers. I do think (the early childhood approach) is the right way,” Lasley said. He thinks improving black students’ performance should be important to everyone. “That population represents one of the great untapped assets for our region. Unless we can figure out how to deal with that, we’re all going to be compromised in terms of what we’re able to accomplish (as a community).”
+ A crowd of Dayton-area leaders listens to University of Wisconsin professor Gloria Ladson-Billings discuss equity in education Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, photo
Staff Writer
A crowd of Dayton-area leaders listens to University of Wisconsin professor Gloria Ladson-Billings discuss equity in education Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, … read more

Gloria Ladson-Billings, professor of urban education at the University of Wisconsin, was the keynote speaker at the event. She encouraged a holistic approach to helping poor students and black students, saying issues like health and housing and after-school activities need to be considered right alongside K-12 curriculum. But she said that’s different from just having sympathy for at-risk children.

“The teacher may say, well, she has such a tough environment (and not require hard work),” Ladson-Billings said. “You have a responsibility as an educator. You can’t just be sympathetic toward her without teaching her. In some classrooms, students are given permission to fail, rather than demanding success.”

Ladson-Billings encouraged people to change their approach, renaming the “achievement gap” as an “education debt” instead. She said no one wants to leave debt to their kids, so society needs to figure out different ways of investing in education to change the results.

Amaha Sellassie, a local sociologist and researcher who has helped lead Martin Luther King Day events in Dayton, said the challenges are practical application of those ideas, and the persistence to get hopeless youth to believe there are opportunities worth pursuing.

“In a lot of communities there’s very little after school for African-American youth, or they can’t pay to get in, or don’t have transportation,” Sellassie said. “Beyond just the classroom, what supports do we have in the community? I sense a willingness right now within the clique of impact here, to go about this a different way.”

Sellassie and Hashim Jabar of the West Dayton Youth Task Force emphasized the importance of making curriculum culturally relevant to the students being served. Lasley and Ladson-Billings agreed but said the teachers in those early grades may be even more important. And Kurup said while poverty has an impact, that alone doesn’t explain the numbers.

“The data has stayed flatter than we want to see, to achieve our big vision of ALL of our children being ready,” said Robyn Lightcap, executive director of Learn to Earn Dayton. “These are not random Census data points we’ve pulled down. These are our kids. … We invite you to help us, and roll up your sleeves.”

Graduation rates rise again; Ohio ranks low for black students

WHIO

Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 @ 6:50 AM
By: Jeremy P. Kelley – Staff Writer

High school graduation rates rose both nationally and in Ohio, according to comprehensive 2015-16 data released last week, but concerns remain about the number of students not graduating, and about graduation rates for black students in Ohio.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the nation’s four-year graduation rate for public high school students rose by 1 percent for the fifth straight year, to an all-time high of 84.1 percent.

RELATED: State OKs softer graduation rules for Class of 2018

Ohio’s graduation rate also rose, to 83.5 percent for the Class of 2016, placing Ohio 29th of 50 states and just below the national average. State graduation rates vary for a number of reasons, including different requirements on what courses and tests students have to pass to earn a diploma.

Ohio has been embroiled in a graduation debate for the past few years, as lawmakers and state education officials approved new, tougher tests and standards for the Class of 2018, then softened them last summer when it appeared the graduation rate might drop.

RELATED: State may adjust graduation for 2019 and beyond

Now current high school seniors (the Class of 2018) have alternative routes to a diploma that include good attendance, community service hours and senior projects, as long as they pass their classes. Some say that doesn’t demand enough of students. But as anti-testing momentum grows, the state school board today will debate whether to recommend extending those options to the class of 2019 and beyond.
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Ohio among worst at graduating black pupils

For the fourth straight year, Ohio’s four-year graduation rate for black students at public high schools was among the six lowest states in the nation, according to the NCES data.

Ohio saw 67.3 percent of black students graduate in the Class of 2016, ranking us 45th of 50 states, and 9 percentage points behind the national average of 76.4 percent. That’s actually an improvement over Ohio’s 59.7 percent graduation rate for black students in 2014-15, which ranked us 49th of 50 states, and 15 percentage points behind the national rate of 74.6 percent.

Hashim Jabar, interim executive director of Racial Justice Now, said the problem can be traced to several systemic issues starting at the preschool level. He mentioned disproportionate punishment of black students, a lack of black teachers and neighborhood-resident teachers in majority-black schools, as well as unconstitutional state funding that results in schools like Dayton Public receiving less money than the state formula calls for.

“With property taxes being a major part of the formula, that disproportionately affects cities like Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dayton, those poorer areas,” Jabar said. “There’s a correlation to these systemic issues. Students in these schools are not receiving the same education that’s received in the suburbs of Dayton. They get lesser education, lesser funding and lesser services, despite having a stronger need.”

Ohio Department of Education officials could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

National overview

The NCES data showed a clear bright spot — the national graduation rate improved for every subgroup of students – white, black, Hispanic, low-income, students with disabilities, English as a second-language students, and others.

From 2011-16, the national graduation rate increased by about 9 points for black students, to 76 percent, and by about 8 points for Hispanic and low-income students, to 79 and 78 percent, respectively. White students’ graduation rate rose from 84 to 88 percent in that span.

But the organizations leading the GradNation campaign said not enough progress is being made toward their goal of a 90 percent national graduation rate by 2020. They called for a sense of urgency “from the kitchen table to the schoolhouse to the highest reaches of corporations and government.”

RELATED: 42 percent of Ohio seniors not at graduation level yet
“We must continue to be alarmed by the persistent and remaining gaps among various subgroups of students. While we are glad to see the rate of increase among the key subgroups, the progress is not sufficient,” the GradNation group said in a statement. “In today’s world, young people who don’t graduate from high school have virtually no chance to find a job with a family supporting wage. The nation simply can’t afford this waste of talent.”