Black Voices, Black Choices: “Educating the masses versus individuals only delays the children’s development.”

For many Black families, education is about finding a school that affirms their children’s identity as African Americans. Many schools glaze over the contributions Black people have made to this country. Black families want their children to learn about the greatness of their people so that their children can do the same. 

Meet Shawndra Young:

What is your dream for your children’s education?

To exceed the exceptional expectations of our African American children. For him to become smarter than I ever was!

Where do you send your child to school and how did you make that choice?

He is in daycare at Kreative Kidz. This decision was, in fact, a quick decision, due to my work schedule. He will only be there for a short period. I am currently going through the enrollment process for him to attend Betty Shabazz. I made this decision after doing more research on African American culture, witnessing the effect the atmosphere they create has on students, and their success rate. They provide activities and historical enlightening to their students.

How does your education experience, and background impact the decision you make for your children?

Unfortunately, I didn’t learn to read until I was in 3rd grade. This alone makes me strive to be the best homeschooler I can be to my son. I partially homeschool him!

What is the name of your favorite teacher and why are was s/he your favorite?

Mrs. Jefferson and Mrs. Holman; both, because they took the time to make sure I understood the curriculum; also, because they showed passion and concern about not only my education but for me in general.

What is one thing you wish decision makers understood about educating your child and other Black children?

That all children are not the same and that educating the masses versus individuals only delays the children’s development. Teaching is not just about the lesson plan, but the best plan for what the child needs. Teaching is done from the heart.

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Chris Butler is first a husband and a dad. He has been involved across the spectrum of public engagement activities and has worked with a number of diverse constituencies in urban and suburban communities. He has also been involved in several political campaigns including his service as a youth and young adult coordinator for Barack Obama’s primary bid for U.S. Senate. Chris worked as deputy campaign manager and field director for A+ Illinois where he developed a strong, statewide field operation including over 500 organizations and 50,000 individuals around the state working to bring adequacy and equity to Illinois’ school funding system and as the director of advocacy and outreach at New Schools for Chicago, a leader in school reform in Chicago. Chris is a 2006 graduate of the Ministry Training Institute and holds a degree in civic and political engagement from Northeastern Illinois University.