National African American Parent Involvement Day
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Teacher's Pledge to Educational
Excellence for African American Students
Note: Using the "save as" feature of your Web browser, it is quite easy to copy this page's text to your computer's hard drive; where it can be picked up and formatted in any word processor -- perhaps to fit your own school's stationery.
In America today, African American students continue to lag behind European American students, Asian American Students, and other ethnic groups on tests at the state and national levels. Further, a recent report published by the Ann Arbor Public Schools' Research Services indicates that on the MEAP (Michigan Education Assessment Program), a test based on the essential goals and objectives set by the Michigan State Department of Education, African Americans are at the bottom of the scale in Reading, Mathematics, and Science. This pattern seems to begin as early as fourth grade and African American students seldom recover from this educational deficit. Moreover, according to a Children's Defense Fund report, African American children are four times as likely as European American children to live with neither parent, to be supervised by a child welfare agency, to die as teenagers, and to be sent to jail between the ages of 15-19 years.
African American children are twice as likely as European American children to be born prematurely, suffer low birth weight, die in the first year of life, be born to a teenage mother, be suspended from school and to some from a home where their parents are unemployed, and often are socially isolated. Any combination of these debilitating factors can produce socioeconomic risks that impoverish the African American child's world so that the child lacks the basic social and psychological necessities of life (Gabarino, 1992). Bronfenbrenner (1970) reminds us that children provide the building blocks of human society; and that one important clue to understanding the values and robustness of a society is to look at how it does by its children. He further states that "When children are suffering, we are seeing a society in trouble." (Garbarino, 1992)
As I take my teaching responsibilities seriously, and dedicate myself to the task of effectively educating all children, I here and now commit myself to a pledge of Educational Excellence for African American Students.
Therefore, as a teacher in the educational system of this country, I pledge to do the following:
1 I will set and maintain for myself . . .
the highest possible level of educational competence.
2 I will set and maintain for myself and promote among my colleagues, . . .
the highest possible level of ethnic competence. In so doing, I will seek to understand the uniqueness that African American students bring to the classroom in terms of their history, coping strategies, values, traditions, and learning styles.
3 I will . . .
make my classroom student and parent friendly.
4 I will reach out . . .
to the parents of children in my class and bridge the gap between home and school, making the school environment a safe and supportive environment for students and their parents.
5 I will periodically . . .
review and modify my teaching approach, curricula, and teaching style to make certain they meet the specific needs of African American students.
6 I will personally . . .
advocate for the best interest and well being of my students.
7 I will hold high expectations for my students.
8 I will strive . . .
to promote high self-esteem and a belief in the personal competence in my students.
9 I will maintain ongoing personal contact with the parents/guardians of my students
via telephone calls and/or personal visits in the students' homes or at school.
10 I will support NAAPID . . .
and its ongoing commitment to educational excellence for African American students.
I, _______________________________, make this pledge after careful consideration of my role and responsibility as a teacher; and my commitment to join hands with NAAPID in its efforts to make this society a safe place for all where hopes and dreams can be nourished into rewarding realities.
Signature: _________________________________ Date: ________
School district: __________________________________________
Copyright © 1995-96 National African American Parent Involvement Day Page updated December 2, 1996