By: Emilie St. John
The California Association of Black Educators held their 2nd Annual CABSE Institute focusing on a national crisis surrounding the de-education of Black Boys July 10 – 13 in Napa, CA.
CABSE was founded by Compton School Board Trustee Micah Ali who has made it his mission to highlight the inequity in educating Black boys.
“We are having a phenomenal time with educators flying in from all over the country; half of the conference is represented by California with the other half from the rest of these contiguous United States as we come together to talk about a topic that is very much important throughout urban America and that is what do we do respect to the crisis of young Black boys,” said Ali. “As we dissect the de-education of young Black males in our education systems, we have an opportunity to not just look at it from the university and collegiate lens but then we have an opportunity to lean into the practitioner space and look at various forms of delivery which will yield best practices as well as results.”
Ali led the charge to drop standardized testing from college admission requirements in Cal State schools.
“What a blessing to be surrounded by educators with a common theme and a mission which is to educate and not incarcerate our young Black boys,” said Ali.
Erika Mitchell is a member of the Atlanta Board of Education for the last five years, and attended the conference in hopes of adding to her arsenal of ways to educate the largely Black students who make up the area she represents on the board.
“When I look at the schools in my area with the lowest performing schools being predominantly African-American, that is a problem,” said Mitchell.
“Black students represent 74% of our district and it is a true state of the emergency as the belief is these students can’t be taught,” said Mitchell. “As a board its our responsibility to help solve these problems, not just throw it back on the district.”
Hank Moore is a member of Calumet 156 which is located outside of Chicago.
“My wife is a teacher in Chicago Public Schools and I represent an area close by,” said Moore. “I don’t need to read a book to see what’s gong on. I have a PhD in common sense.”
He abides by the five “P’s” principle.
“Proper preparation prevents poor performance,” said Moore. “We are always looking for unique ways to reach our Black students.”
“The establishment isn’t setup for success and parents have bought in,” said Moore.
Attendees took part in workshops and breakout sessions to discuss implicit bias training conducted by Dr. Bryant T. Marks, who is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Morehouse College.
Dr. D’artagnan Scorza, who was a member of the Inglewood Unified School District Advisory Board, offered remarks on the anti-deficit mindset that breeds implicit bias.
“We have to stop blaming people for their circumstances,” said Scorza.
Scorza currently serves as the Executive Director of Racial Equity for Los Angeles County and founded the Social Justice Learning Institute (SJLI) which grew from a Black Male Youth Academy at Inglewood’s Morningside High School to a full class that comes with credit towards graduation.
“Our social justice class is taught in 27 high schools throughout Los Angeles County,” said Derek Steele, executive director of SJLI.
SJLI is part of a broader coalition that makes up BLOOM alongside the Brotherhood Crusade and Becoming a Man who are all dedicated to changing the life trajectories of young Black men.
The summer institute was sponsored by BLOOM, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Stride, Engie, Compton College, and a host of educational providers all aligned with the mission of educating young Black men.
Emilie St. John is a contributing writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.