The Struggle with Educational Equality and Value
“One of the most overlooked struggles with obtaining
an education is the desire to be educated.”
William Jackson, M.Ed. Edward Waters College
Since the establishment of an educational system across
this nation there have been successes attributed to parental involvement, community role models, proper classroom placement of students, highly effective and qualified teachers, data analysis of test scores, leadership of school administration and the influences of specialized resources. All of these
contribute to assisting students to educational success.
Student achievement ultimately must come from within that
individual student. Their foundation can be laid by family members
that read to them during infancy and as toddlers, taken on
educational and cultural trips and even college tours to show the
value of higher education. Those that do not want to attend
college can visit vocational schools, tech centers, and specialized
institutions that offer certificates and licenses. Exposure to activities
that are ongoing in science centers, museums, the arts, the
theater and opportunities to encourage lifelong learning.
Students must be exposed to diverse learning opportunities
or the threat of being under-qualified and underemployed.
Parents are threatened because of an unsure economy by
students returning home from years of higher education
and financial debt, the saturation of careers that offer no jobs
or advancement and even choosing the wrong college major
where careers have been dissolved and students are unmarketable.
Exposure to diverse opportunities means that parents are
talking to their children about what they are learning, who they are associated with and why their lives, their very existence is important. If youth, teens and young adults are not taught
why they are important and valuable, they will not value the lives
of others least of all their own life.
Mentoring is a valuable asset, programs like 5000 Role Models
in Dade County Public Schools and Duval County Public Schools
serve a purpose of holistically servicing male students; to guide, advise, nurture, encourage and help young men embrace life and the value of education. Helping them to make the right
decisions in school and life.
Programs such as Empowerment Resources, Inc. in Jacksonville,
Florida serves in a similar fashion, assisting young women
by providing workshops, training, and educational opportunities
that build pride, integrity, and a value for personal life and the
empowerment of education.
Ministries like Bethel Baptist Institutional Church provide a
BEST Academy where students are provided academic
enrichment in key academic areas, math, reading/literacy,
technology and personal life skills. Grassroots initiatives make
the greatest contributions because they are continuous and
consistent. Parents must stay aware of community events and
programs that benefit the growth and development of their
children. BEST has been providing academic assistance over
Even for high school, students are not grown, they do not have
the maturity, life experiences, soft people skills to network,
market themselves and ask the questions to make a successful transition from high school to higher education or other educational
opportunities. Parents cannot “let go” of their children because
young adults are not “grown,” but growing in maturity and self-esteem.
The truth is that when students reach 17,18, 19, even 20 years of
age parents still need to be actively engaged with advice, care,
understanding, patience, and love.
The recent “Beyond High School Seminar” hosted by Bethel
Baptist Institutional Church provided workshops to help students make important decisions about higher education. Workshops consisted of: “What’s In Your Future? College… It’s Your Choice,”
“How to Handle Your Money,” “What’s in My Folder,” Think HBCU,”
and presentations about managing their Social Media content in
high school and beyond by William Jackson, blogger and Social
Media speaker and educator.
Students are learning that their Social Media content in photos,
videos, tweets, Instagram postings, Facebook messages, Vine,
and Snapchat can damage their reputations even before they get
into higher educational institutions and even military service.
Involved in the seminar are entities “Call Me Mister Program,” that
offers scholarships to men that desire to be educators and
contribute to educating in the public education system. “Call Me
Mister Program” began at Clemson University and quickly spread across the country especially to HBCUs where they (HBCUs) are the main institutions for African Americans to train and prepare them to be educational leaders. The CMM Program at the oldest
HBCU in Jacksonville, Florida Edward Waters College is working
tirelessly to encourage young men to enter into education and
“give back” to their communities.
Entering into higher education is very competitive, the process must start in the Sophomore year if not earlier in high school to create a plan for the future. Waiting until the Senior year is too
late and almost guarantees missing deadlines, denying financial aid
opportunities and the importance of maintaining a quality GPA
and community service hours.
Parents still need to work with their children, guide them, nurture them and help expose them to positive learning opportunities, they
cannot just turn them loose because students are still learning about their abilities, talents, and weaknesses. The time is now to talk to guidance
counselors, attend seminars, workshops, community events and
even events offered by ministries like Bethel Baptist Institutional Church.
“Too much is at stake in the lives of students to just leave things to chance.”
William Jackson, M.Edu.