Syracuse nonprofit defends charter school run by people of color

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The 100 Black Men of Syracuse, a nonprofit advocacy group, hosted an educational forum Saturday at the South Side Innovation Center at 2610 S. Salina St.

About 15 community members attended the forum, which discussed the quality of education children of color receive in the Syracuse City School District.

The SCSD has consistently scored below the state average on the New York State English Language Arts Assessment, said Reggie Stephens, vice president of the Higher Learning Network. In 2019, only 18 percent of all students in the city’s school district achieved a proficiency level above or equal to the state’s ELA assessment, Stephens said.

The assessments were adopted by the state Board of Regents in 2010 to more accurately reflect student progress toward college and career readiness, according to the state Department of Education website. New York.

Stephens gave a presentation on the Syracuse City School District’s assessment data during the forum. In 2021, of 1,389 eighth graders enrolled in the Syracuse City School District, 791 chose to take the ELA assessment, according to NYSED data.

Of the 406 black children who took the test, only 52, or 13% of the total, were competent. No eighth-grade Black or Hispanic/Latino students were proficient in math assessment this year, according to NYSED data.

Although the high school graduation rate in the Syracuse City School District has steadily increased in recent years, members of Syracuse’s 100 Black Men are concerned that children in the community can’t translate that at the university.

“When you talk about investing in kids, when you talk about raising kids, it has to be more than the college you see,” said Vincent Love, vice president of finance for 100 Black Men of Syracuse. “Our children are struggling…we have to do something to help them.”

Osupa T-Davis, a Syracuse community member and forum participant, told the Daily Orange that while she does not currently have a child in her household who attends school in Syracuse, she is concerned that the community children receive education.

“I don’t think they’ll be ready for college,” T-Davis said. “After seeing if they’re not good at math and reading and literacy rates are so low, then they won’t be able to hold a job…and how do you excel in the world?”

Bishop Leonard Stephens Sr. of the International House of God Church said providing black students with black role models is critical to their success.

“It’s very imperative that you see someone succeed who looks like you, who can relate to you,” Stephens Sr. said.

Additionally, Love announced at the forum that the group wants to found a charter school “established, maintained and operated by people of color” in the community where they can offer additional services such as tutoring and after-school programs.

Love acknowledged that the nation’s charter schools are a controversial topic. Despite widespread criticism, Love said charter schools are coming under greater scrutiny by government and society. Charter schools will not be allowed to stay open if their students achieve the same results as reported in Syracuse City School District data, and they are required to accept students from different demographics, it said. -he declares.

“That vision has been in the works for about three years now,” Love told the DO. “Our role will be to provide support to students and parents at the school with all the programs we currently run.”

Love also said at the forum that 100 black men from Syracuse must submit a letter of intent to the board regents and if they receive approval, the group will submit a formal application and be granted an interview. Love predicts that it will be several years before the proposed school is open.

“All of our services that we already provide to the community will be available to all students and parents in the school,” Love told the DO. “We will constantly reinforce their educational journey outside of school hours.”

T-Davis said she fully supports the charter school project.

“I believe kids who see people who look like them, they (will) be more comfortable,” T-Davis said. “If you like them…they’ll know this is the community I’m from, and they can tell stories about it. So I believe it’s a mutual love that’s going to happen.

Contact Katie: [email protected]

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