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NAACP Hosts Education Forum

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Gracie Hart Brooks Editor

Last week, the Culpeper Chapter of the NAACP with the Piedmont Race Amity Project held a community forum on education at Madison County High School.

Reaching out to Every Child featured a panel of educators discussing a variety of topics. Panelists include Dr. Tiffany Ray, Vice President of Student Services and Equity Advances and Chief His Diversity Officer at Germanna Community College. Dr. Amy Tillerson Brown, Dean of Mary Baldwin College and Chair of the Virginia NAACP Board of Education. Dr. Kathleen Gentry, Assistant Principal of EC Glass High School and former employee of Madison County Public Schools. Uzziah A. Harris, DDiv., Middle School Teacher, NAACP Culpeper President, Laurel Blackmon, Ph.D., Educator, Equity Her Advocate, NAACP Culpeper Board of Education Chair.

Harris said the forum represented a long-awaited conversation.

“Whether the injustice is intentional, malicious or unintentional, the impact on children is present,” he said. “Society is in danger because we refuse to give our children the gift of an education where people fought and put their lives on the line.”

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This problem doesn’t just affect children at the public school level. Ray and Dr. Janet Gullickson, president of Germanna Community College, say this is also a college-level issue. Gullickson said Germanna is committed to finding opportunities for all students to succeed. Lei said there is a gap in the workforce and skills shortages when students acquire skills at a young age and fail to continue that learning in secondary education.

“It starts with K-12,” she said. “We have to make sure we lift every student. This is a system-wide problem. The gap will be more apparent than if someone passed the SOL test.”

Tillerson-Brown said the idea is one of inclusion as well as getting an equitable education.

“Not only does it remove barriers, everyone is included and valued,” she said.

Tillerson-Brown said a comprehensive pedagogy considers all puzzle pieces, including thinking styles. Language; Ethnicity; Religion; Perspective; Experience; Respect all individuals in the classroom.

“It’s important to see the big picture,” added Gentry. “It’s not just about racing. We need to look at equality because it’s the right thing to do for all kids.”

She said she’s not a fan of gifted education because all kids are gifted. Some of the biggest performance gaps, she said, are among students with special needs. rice field.

“We have an obligation to give every child a chance to succeed,” said Gentry. “Otherwise we are a bunch of hypocrites. Now is the time to be brave and do something to help all these children.”

Several panelists asked the audience to vote for a change maker.

“Kick out those who are making the wrong choice,” said Gentry. “Until a brave leader emerges, many things will not change.”

Harris said education is a system of design. He said the Horace Mann system of public education perpetuates privilege. Harris said schools today are as segregated everywhere as they were decades ago. pointed out. He also pointed out the differences between inner-city schools and Williamsburg Public Schools.

“It will go on and on until you get sick and tired of it,” Harris said.

Harris and Tillerson-Brown advocated supporting educators.

“became fashionable [to not listen to the professionals]said Harris.

“Most people in teaching go into teaching because they want to make a difference,” said Tillerson-Brown.

Panelists said they all want their children to be the best they can be and encourage the community to continue the kind of conversations that took place during the forum.

“This is not a one-time thing,” Tillerson Brown said.

“I believe one of the things that is very important is understanding that we are all on the same team,” Harris said. We are not committed to being the United States of America, even if we disagree, we are the same team, and if we do not believe that we are all one team, we will not give our children the best possible education. I can not do it.”