I’ve Been Neglecting This Blog…

So…so much has happened since I last posted!

I got married (amazing; about time…lol), registered my brilliant almost-kindergartener for kindergarten (excited/interested to see how schools of choice plays out), treated my family (including parents and sister and nephews) on a vacation to Puerto Rico, and have been absolutely buried in work.

In spite of all of this, I have been closely following how things have unfolded in Champaign with the newly elected school board.  I am interested to see how things play out moving forward, and am looking forward to being a critical friend to the district and community.  I do have a story to share.  Early morning, the day following the election, I was flying out of Willard airport for business in New Orleans (by way of Dallas) and as I checked in, I heard a loud, white male, bragging about the defeat of all of the “incumbents” on the school board.  I turned around to look at him and did not recognize his face, but could not help noticing how he appeared to be wealthy, old, and out of touch.  It was jarring and sobering…   While there was a part of me that wanted my community to get a wake up call (stop co-signing on folks who are really about their own political status and don’t give a damn about your kids; stop thinking that playing the role of “safe black” will save you, politically or otherwise; be strategic about your endorsements and leadership priorities– ie. the endorsements of the NEBC essentially split the black vote and relegated black candidates to political doom)….I am hopeful that equity is not pushed to the side to satisfy the privileged segment of the community who set the tone, and from my perspective, set the political path to ensure election for the newly elected Board members.  I am hopeful that Board members will use their critical thinking skills in their new positions and find the strength to push past peer pressure to make the best decisions for the most vulnerable children being served by our school district.  I am hopeful that those who didn’t get re-elected, but who championed equity as a cause, take time to re-organize and press forward.  In fact, something that I’ve been throwing around in my head is the idea of pulling together a community equity group focused on examining district outcomes and engaging in political activism to push real equity forward.  Email me (cheryl.camacho@courage3.com) if you are interested in being a part of this movement.  I’d like to hold the first meeting for this group by 6/1/15.

One thing that dramatically stood out to me, as I reflect on the election outcomes, was the lack of real strategy.  Moving forward, I envision a powerful group of people with diverse experiences/ideas who work together to put the real issues back on the table:  achievement/opportunity gaps, discipline disproportionality, and the desperate need for courageous leadership (from administrators and teachers) in our schools and district.  People who question and hold accountable those who claim to be leaders of our community….This painful but hard look at leadership is 100% necessary in our community.

In honor of getting this blog back together; I want to share a post that speaks to the anti-testing movement that has erupted in the past few months.  I know from my attendance at several BOE forums pre-election that several BOE members who got elected were anti-standardized testing.  I provide here a counter-narrative from Tenicka Boyd, an African-American parent in NYC who is warily eyeing this movement.  I’m right there with her.

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