The results of a survey on the top educational priorities of Black families and students across the Inland Empire was released Thursday. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports that the goal was to raise up Black voices in the conversation around solving racial inequalities in education.
Academic success, Black History education, college and career access, effective teachers and graduation rates. These were the top five priorities as shared by the 955 survey participants who nearly all identified as African American or Black.
The biggest surprise was Black History ranking second said BLU Educational Foundation CEO Dina Walker. On a deeper look into the numbers, they found it also ranked high among young people.
“They are starving and want to know this history," said Walker. "They want to know themselves. They want to know their culture. They want to know, literally the contributions of Black folks period, and they feel like they haven’t gotten it.”
This was just the kind of feedback Walker’s foundation and the other survey partners including The Black Equity Fund and U.R. Riverside’s Center for Social Innovation were hoping to get. Data to drive the institutional changes Black folks want and need to see in an education system that so often fails them. Walker said this is important because of the discussions she hears in the broader community.
“I often hear especially in the K-12 sector that Black parents don’t care about their kids or they don’t care about education because they don’t see Black parents on campuses,” said Walker.
But in the survey academic success ranked as the number one priority for parents and students.
“They want to be academically successful," said Walker. "It’s what happens to them while they are in the institutions that create this narrative that they’re not.”
Policy changes and community action are the ultimate goals of the survey. Walker said designing a strategy will be the next phase, and will include things like educating Black parents to be advocates for their children, and ensuring a pipeline of Black teachers get hired, retained and promoted in schools.
She said as they work to change the trajectory of Black students it will improve the system, and it will ultimately open up opportunities for all students in the Inland Empire.