What black parents must do this summer

The Black-White achievement gap could be shortened if more Black parents used Summer to continue their children's eduction enrichment and take advantage of many free activities and opportunities. Photo: Brian Johnson/AP

WASHINGTON,  D.C., June 21, 2012 - Yesterday marked the first day of summer and with most schools out for the school year, it also marked a time when children are free to have fun, let loose and unfortunately, start forgetting some of the information and instruction they received in school. 

Author, Publisher and Education consultant Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu penned an opinion piece specifically addressing the importance for black parents to use summers to continue their children’s education which is reposted here, with permission, in its entirety for Politics of Raising Children  at The Washington Times Communities readers. Enjoy!

There is a 3 year gap between Black and White students. Many people love to believe it’s due to income, fatherlessness, educational attainment of the parent and lack of parental involvement. I believe that a major reason for the gap is that we continue to close school for the summer - as if we were an agrarian economy. And I doubt that many Black youth will be farming this summer. If you multiply 3 months by 12 years you will see the 3 year gap. It is my opinion that Black youth would have fewer academic challenges if their schools remained open during the summer and/or their parents kept them academically engaged.  

Middle-income parents who value education enroll their children in some type of academic experience during the summer. They also visit libraries, museums, zoos and colleges. Other parents allow their children to sleep longer, play more video games, watch more television and play basketball until they can’t see the hoop. These students will have to review the same work they had mastered in May, when the school year begins in September.

Black parents cannot allow their children to lose 3 months every year. Black parents should not say they cannot afford to take their child to the library. It’s free! Most museums have discounted days. A male friend of mine shared his experience with me when he took his family to the museum. He wondered why so many people were staring at him. His wife and children had to tell him he was the only Black man in the building! I am appealing to every father to take his children to the library this summer, and to include a visit to the museum, and the zoo. And I am appealing to every mother to make other arrangements, if the father cannot or will not take the children.  

We need for every parent to make sure that their child reads at least one book per week and to write a book report. I am reminded of the formula Sonya Carson used to develop Ben Carson to become the best pediatric neurosurgeon. This low-income single parent, with a third grade education, had enough sense to tell her sons to turn off the television, read a book and write a report that her sister would grade!

I have a theory. I believe that I can go into your house and within 5 minutes tell you the type of student who lives there and predict his/her future. I believe that the items needed in the home of engineers, doctors, lawyers, accountants etc., are very different from the ballplayers, rappers, and criminals. I am very concerned that when I visit a house that has more CDs and downloads than books. My company African American Images has designed a special collection of books for boys. The specific set that I am referencing is titled, Best Books for Boys. We also have one for parents and teachers. We have found the sets to be very resourceful since research indicates that one of the major reasons why boys dislike reading is because of the content.  

Let’s work together to close the gap. I look forward to your children’s teacher asking them how they spent their summer,……and your children proudly answering by saying that they went to the library, museum, zoo, colleges and other great educational institutions.  



Enjoy your summer!  

Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu is the author of over 35 books including, There is Nothing Wrong with Black Students and Raising Black Boys.

Read more Politics of Raising Children in The Communities at the Washington Times. Follow Jeneba Ghatt at @JenebaSpeaks. Her work can also be read at JenebaSpeaks.com and Politic365.  She also co-hosts a Blog Talk Radio show called Right of Black which tackles current events and politics from a perspective not often seen in the mainstream media.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Jeneba Ghatt
Jeneba Jalloh Ghatt is a former journalist turned lawyer turned citizen journalist. Currently, she manages her boutique communications law firm, where she has represented small businesses and nationally-recognized civil and consumer rights organizations before the United States Supreme Court, federal courts and the FCC. She also covers the White House and US Congress for the online news site Politic365.com while authoring her own influential blog JenebaSpeaks.com which is frequently accessed by top policy makers and think tanks, and the investment community. JenebaSpeaks.com focuses on the intersection of politics and technology and reports on policies and rules in the communications and tech sector.
Before opening her law firm, The Ghatt Law Group, which was the first communications firm owned by women and minorities, Jeneba regulated Comcast and Starpower as the Assistant General Counsel for the District of Columbia's Office of Cable Television and Telecommunications, and at one point was the only communications regulatory attorney in the entire city. She is founding member and policy chair for a new trade association, the National Association of Multicultural Digital Entrepreneurs and provides advice and counsel to new businesses in the tech industry, particularly small businesses owned by women and minorities.

Born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, but raised in the United States by her Catholic mom and Muslim dad, she started her college career creating web content for one of the earliest websites in history while working part time for the University of Maryland's Office of Technology. Following her graduation from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, she founded and co-wrote one of the earliest blogs and since then has gone on to found and author six different widely read and influential blogs. She was one of only 22 writers and bloggers to attend the first White House summit for African American media.
She holds a Certificate in Communications Law Studies from Catholic; a Juris Doctor from there as well, and a Master of Law in advocacy degree from the Georgetown University Law Center where she first taught and lectured as a Staff Attorney and Graduate fellow at that law school's Institute for Public Representation. She later went on to teach Media Law at the University of Maryland at College Park and guest lecture at Yale Law School and Penn State University, College of Telecommunications. She is well skilled and versed with social media and manages several Twitter, Facebook, Linked In accounts and groups.
She sits on the board of several non profits and trade associations.

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