As President and CEO of the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI) I have the privilege of speaking before many audiences, but I’ve never been more excited to come before a group — and to hear the immediate feedback about the impact of the day — than I was during National Black Child Development Week. Themed “A Week of Action,” the centerpiece of the week was NBCDI’s first Parent Power BootCamp. Held in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education (ED), the Parent Power BootCamp brought parents, caregivers and advocates together to “Get In-formation” – focusing both on exchanging knowledge and action planning to get in position to do the work of being relentless advocates and accountability agents on behalf of our children.
Busloads of parents and caregivers got “In-formation” about the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and its implications for investments in early education, equity for disadvantaged students, high academic standards for college and career readiness, assessments, and accountability. They came from all across the surrounding region, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia and the Washington Metropolitan area. Through ED’s live stream, our National Affiliate Network, including the cities of Houston, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta, Sacramento, Denver, Nashville, Detroit, Paramus (NJ) and Mid-Hudson (NY) joined as well.
We were joined by an amazing group of colleagues, referred to as “coaches”: David Johns, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans who urged parents to stand for equity; Lynn Jennings, Field Director at the Education Trust who empowered parents to know the assessments used to measure their children’s learning; Liz King, Josh Porter, and Jheanelle Wilkins from The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights who presented on equity in school funding; and Janel George of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, joined by parent advocates Lorraine Wright and Kandise Lucas, who rallied parents to hold schools accountable.
Our goals for the day weren’t just that participants would leave feeling informed, but connected and in community with each other, and equipped and empowered through the knowledge and information they received. We created a NBCDI Parent Power ESSA Toolkit for each of them to take home and share with other parents, caregivers, friends and colleagues to ensure they have the resources to inform their choices on behalf of their children. They are the accountability force to ensure their children receive the education they deserve.
This is NBCDI’s message to them and to all of us. Let’s get information. But, let’s also do something with it. That is why NBCDI will collaborate with our National Affiliate Network to host Parent Power BootCamps in communities across the country. National Black Child Development “Week of Action” was only the beginning. We will get in formation and we will move.
Watch the NBCDI Parent Power BootCamp live stream here and get information.
Tobeka G. Green is President and CEO of the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI). For 46 years, NBCDI has been at the forefront of engaging caregivers, policymakers and advocates around issues that impact Black children and families. With the support of its National Affiliate Network in communities across the country, NBCDI is committed to its mission “to improve and advance the quality of life for Black children and families through education and advocacy.”