The Road to Life After High School for Our Black Children Must Be Planned
Submitted by Mrs. Cherice Flanagan Taylor
Parents are doing their parent thing and kids are doing their kid thing. One day your babies are crawling and the next thing you know they are 17 or 18 and you are asking them what their plan is after high school graduation. That conversation should have started during their primary school years. What! Too early you say? It is about exposure, partnerships and high expectations to help our kids dream big. They put in the work and we help them navigate the bumps, failures and disappointments along the way.
Before some of you get bent out of shape, think about the many sports activities you may have supported throughout your child’s life. Tee ball, pee wee football, dance classes, swim team are some examples. The family prepared and paid for the best opportunities to get their kid seen by a coach because they’ve got ‘talent’. That same planning is what I am referring to, but for academics. Have you ever been to a college campus and witnessed young families sitting on the grass having a picnic with their toddlers? Have you ever bought your child a t-shirt or sweatshirt with your alma mater’s logo on it? It is simply sharing and exposing them to positive experiences in our lives.
Being able to dream big and believing that your dreams can come true is important. Our
Black children, especially our Black boys, have to dream past the daily nightmares witnessed during the daylight hours by some of the media, elected officials, and law enforcement. As parents, we help set the stage in the play entitled ‘Your Life’. The support crew are the educators, administrators and US, the parents. We are the village to encourage, support, teach, the lead in the play, our children. This partnership requires commitment from all of us. It requires our time and how we spend our time matters.
The road to college begins in elementary school and some may even say preschool. Standardized tests given in third grade may predetermine the path and expectations of students.Study:Third Grade Reading Predicts Later High School Graduation Rate Is it fair? Of course, it is not fair. If your third grader is struggling, it is better to make the investment in time and money earlier than later. As our elders say, ‘pay now or pay later, but you will pay’. We have to look at early tutoring as an early investment. Math is the ‘gatekeeper’ to the road of advanced math classes. If your child likes things that may lead to the field of engineering, then math is key. A student's grades and test scores in upper elementary school, lead to middle school advanced classes opportunities; which in turn lead to what path or track a student can take in high school. The four year plan of high school is key to the options for life after high school.
Are you hoping your child will attend your Historically Black College or University (HBCU)?
We all want our kids to be successful in whatever they decide to do with their lives. High expectations of them and all who support them is important. Do you know the key players in your child’s life? Do the key players know you? What’s the counselor's name? Does he/she know what your child is interested in or what his/her future plans are? Do you show up for all parent teacher conferences even when they have all A’s. If the answer is ‘no’ , then you've missed a great opportunity to strengthen the relationship and network for your child. It is not too late. Start today.
Cherice Flanagan Taylor is a military spouse, mother of four boys, poet and relationship builder. She created and hosts the Time Matters! Podcast and Facebook page. Time Matters is a resource for students and families of all ages and interests. The goal is to share information that will help students maneuver their path to life after high school.