A seminar on raising public awareness about the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) last Friday was presented at National Newspaper Publishers’ Black Press Week.
Ways for parents to get involved were recommended:
Some states hold public meetings where parents’ concerns can be heard. Some states have feedback forms parents can complete online, i.e., Google search “(your state) ESSA Plan.” Oregon has an approved state ESSA Plan.
Donna Brazile gave an overview of the political scene, pointing out that African Americans are running for governor in Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts and Wisconsin. She pointed out that Blacks made the difference in the Alabama and Pennsylvania elections, and will continue to have an impact. However, there are staggering numbers of unregistered citizens in most states, and 70 percent of millennials consider themselves Independents. They “don’t know Black history, we have to teach them that history,” she said. We must make our agenda known—the economy, criminal justice, housing, transportation, the Voting Rights Act, which has been under attack since 2014.
“The Black electorate is restless, and want to stir things up,” she said. “But they are also reflective of the next stage of our journey.” Politics of the past are coming to the forefront, and organized action is needed. Brazile said African Americans should not “fall for defining (for whom they vote) as the lesser of two evils—people do not want to engage on that option, rather they should be the force that defines this moment—step up, take action.”