Better Outcomes for Our Kids, BOOK, is on a mission to raise awareness around the need for high-performing schools in African American communities, and the need to expand and increase the awareness of educational options and school choice. Invigorate, educate and advocate are the tenets of this platform.
Read what president and CEO David Mitchell says about the organization he founded, which was born out of passion to start an honest dialogue about publicly funded schools, commanding a call to action from our religious community, and seeking ideas among historically Black colleges.
What is your take on Opportunity School District? What should parents know?
Opportunity School District (OSD) is a proposed constitutional amendment to create a statewide school district. This school district is similar to the city and county school districts that currently manage public schools.
This school district is similar to the city and county school districts that currently manage public schools. OSD will either manage the schools themselves, partner with local school districts to manage them, convert them into charter schools, or close them. The Governor will appoint a superintendent to manage the schools included in the OSD. This superintendent would report directly to the governor instead of the state education department. We at BOOK plan to remain neutral on this issue as we are a 501c3 and are prohibited from pushing ballot initiatives such as OSD. However, we see our work as providing parents and communities with all the information needed to make the right decision for their children, schools and communities. Whether OSD passes or not, we will continue the work of invigorating, educating, advocating for African American children, families and communities who are key stakeholders in publicly funded schools.
Is high-performance really possible for at-risk kids? Why or why not?
Absolutely. I believe that all children can learn when we open their minds to learning, discovery, and achievement. Our children represent our future, and parents deserve options that expose their children to the best education available with no geographic, racial or economic boundaries. BOOK believes that one of the main reasons that a child becomes “at-risk,” is because they are not able to get a quality, world-class, public education.
Does this current structure with metro area schools really work in your opinion?
That is up for debate. When you look at test scores, one would think that we need a new strategy for educating our children in public schools. However, BOOK believes that whatever the public education distribution channel looks like, it will need dedicated administrators and teachers, engaged parents and communities, and curriculum that will allow children from all different types of socio-economic backgrounds, to learn, grow and become college ready. This is will require more innovation, technology, and “out of the box” thinking when it comes to teaching our children. Last, but not least, BOOK believes that public school options are critical for parents, as they look to specifically meet their children’s educational needs. Some children thrive in traditional settings while other’s don’t. If students and parents are provided with a menu of options, tailored to the different needs of all students, instead of fitting the student into the school’s needs, we can and will see real student achievement and the honest test results that come along with that.
How can parents benefit from BOOK?
Parents benefit from BOOK because we share critical information about our children, specifically African American children, in an objective and easy to understand manner. Our mission is to raise awareness around the need for high-performing schools in African American communities, and the need to expand and increase the awareness of educational options and school choice. Parents, children and communities will benefit tremendously from what we are doing.
What is the two-year plan and vision for BOOK?
To spread awareness in the African American community that our schools need their involvement. We must once again become stakeholders in the outcomes of our children in public schools. We will also continue to raise awareness of the changing landscape of public education in America, especially in urban communities. We also plan to help communities create specific blueprints for engaging, changing, and impacting their local public schools in a positive way, Better Outcomes for OUR Kids!
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