Canton Youth Picture Pathways to College. The blooms were already out on the Bradford pear trees last month when students from Canton Public Schools presented to members of the church and civic community, families, and the mayor on their vision for expanding pathways to high school graduation and college. Convened at South Liberty Missionary Baptist Church on East Dinkins, the event was part of a broader set of community-based dialogues on how, today to fulfill the promises of landmark civil rights decisions, like Brown vs. Board of Education and Mendez vs. Westminster.
For students, the question was personal and specific—and they expressed their vision in documentary photographs and presentations. Opening paths to college means overcoming costs and barriers to transportation; juggling family responsibilities; learning about what is possible, affordable, and unknown. Supports that matter include: the encouragement of their teacher; information about college options, how to apply, requirements, and how to pay for college; valuing of higher education by a teacher or family member; help in maintaining a steady focus on higher education; information about college from someone who has gone to college and succeeded and local role models in various careers; and encouragement from local faith leaders & congregations.
"There is no more important thing to be doing on a Saturday than hearing the perspectives of youth about education" - Dr. William Truly, Mayor (pictured above with participating Canton High School students and their teacher, Ms. Anderson).
The project, led by IDRA in collaboration with the nonprofit Critical Exposure, Canton Public School District and South Liberty Baptist Church, with funding from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, builds on a framework for community blueprint meetings that engage youth, community, family and school leaders in community-based dialogues and planning to improve public education.
To find out more about how community, school and youth leaders are using cross-race dialogues and action planning and for a launchkit on Fulfilling the Promise:
Visit Ideas for Fulfilling the Promise – IDRA’s Mendez and Brown Website
Hear Latino and African-American Communities Leading for School Reform, an IDRA Classnotes podcast, featuring a conversation about the initiative with Dr. Rosana Rodríguez and Dr. Bradley Scott.
To learn more about Critical Exposure’s work with youth and documentary photography.
Parents for Public Schools. In 1989, a small group of parents founded Parents for Public Schools in Jackson, Mississippi. Within two years, that chapter’s 800 organized families helped pass a $35 million bond issue. Today, PPS has 16 chapters in 11 states. Ensuring that students of all backgrounds have access to a high quality education is central to PPS’ mission. To learn how the organization fulfills this mission, hear a podcast interview with executive director Anne Foster by IDRA’s Aurelio Montemayor, M.Ed.
Hear the interview with Anne Foster
Learn more about Parents for Public Schools’ strategy
Southern Echo. Also in Jackson, Southern Echo is a leadership development, education and training organization that strengthens grassroots leadership and works in African-American communities in rural Mississippi and the surrounding region through comprehensive training and technical assistance programs. Using an intergenerational model, Southern Echo, engages both young people and older adults in leadership development, who are taking up issues that include affordable using, employment, and educational opportunity. Each issue is part of a larger effort to develop stronger, healthier, and more vibrant communities in the south and southwest. Southern Echo recently released a set of 2012 maps on educational outcomes by school district, including 2010-11 graduation rates. Visit Southern Echo’s online data maps.
Southern Echo is one of a network of nonprofit organizations, working in Mississippi and the south to improve the quality of public education for all students as part of a national Equal Voice for America’s Families campaign. Learn more about how the campaign is promoting educational excellence and equity.