Paul Public Charter School (PCS) held a panel discussion among African American education experts, parents, teachers, and community members to inform the public of the educational climate as well as to answer questions.
The panel was composed of African American individuals from diverse backgrounds with a common goal of improving student education. The variety of areas of expertise allowed for multiple perspectives and lenses through which topics were evaluated.
The importance of data and data driven decision-making were key talking points throughout the event. Many questions posed by the moderator Karl Reid, were answered by referring to data and/or stressing its importance. While enjoying my food that Paul PCS had graciously provided, I got a chance to speak with Dr. Bridges, Executive Director of the Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute. He informed me that data show that parents consider school safety a leading variable when rating school quality.
Submerged beneath the discussion of cut and dry statistics, laid the heartfelt appeals of parents and students. Presenters stressed the importance of setting high expectations and pushing their students to meet them. As I have seen from my tour at BASIS, this appears to be a common guiding principle across charter schools. According to a student at Paul Charter School, pushing students with high expectations may at times cause them to become defensive. With hesitation in his voice, he asked how the panel might push students but refrain from making students defensive. The panel stayed quiet for a few seconds, taken back from the honest alternate perspective, and proceeded to explain that setting high expectations was for the student’s own good.
I can only imagine young students and parents alike sitting in the audience with overwhelming potential, stifled by the labels of society, letting their imagination soar and their drives unleash as they gaze upon