Urban Education Symposium 2012
Attended by Malcolm Bloodsaw of Holiday Hill Elementary,
S J Hannan of Andrew Robinson Elementary, William
Jackson educator with DCPS and Edward Waters College.
The Symposium’s focus is on Reclaiming Young Black
Males for Jacksonville’s Future. Malcolm and SJ, the many
young Black men in attendance and the thousands that reside
in Jacksonville the Symposium was directed at them.
Malcolm a 5th grader asked, “why did the people let it get so
bad?” There is no direct answer to this question only speculation
and discussion on societal and economic changes.
The direction of the Symposium was to bring about awareness,
gather support and redirect possible challenges that could lead
to potential and continued failures in school and society by
young Black males.
The community focus for the success of young Black males
was discussed and the realization that this is a national challenge
notjust in Jacksonville. Young Black males are affected more by
unemployment, academic challenges and societal challenges that
may lead to criminal involvement.
The discussion brought about several realities;
young Black males are written on referrals more in school,
young Black males are suspended more from school,
young Black males are incarcerated with longer prison sentences,
young Black males are more prone to come from single parent
young Black males do not have the necessary skills to gain
employment and only make minimum wage salaries,
young Black males need to see more male teachers, especially
Black male teachers that can relate and are qualified and certified
Businesses that are interested in hiring young Black males find that
the problem attracting young Black males cannot meet the qualifications
of being employed. This is not just a educational problem, but a social
problem where skill sets are not being taught or reinforced.
In Duval County Public Schools Black male teachers make
up only 5%of teachers. This constitutes a travesty when
so many young Black males need the support and attention
of teachers that can relate and understand the path and
mentality of Black males. The involvement of the Black
church was discussed, and how influential Black
churches were in the past to education. Now many are
not involved in the educational systems as they were
of the past. Several churches have after school programs, mentoring programs and support academic excellence.
The declining influence of Black churches can be
seen in neighborhoods and the decreasing influence in
emphasizing the importance of education. Many use
to provide scholarships, and support travel for their
members children, but these even have ceased.
SJ a 5th grader stated, “there are too many young
Black males without fathers and fathers need to step-up
and take care of their families and their children.”
The wisdom and vision of youth is sometimes overlooked,
but in this case it should be heeded and listened to. As a
teacher I see the potential of our young Black males,
but they need support from their fathers, mentorships
help, but nothing compares to the love of an involved and
dedicated father. Young Black men are shouting out for
help and support by their actions and the choices they
make. There is too much lip service and a wait and see
attitude to wait and see what others do. The Black
community cannot wait for someone outside of the
communities to come in and try to make changes in
Blacks must stand up for themselves, helping themselves,
their families and their children.
The longer people wait another generation becomes a
statistic, more young Black males will drop out of school,
more young Black males will be involved in criminal behavior
and more young Black males will not go to college, but go
to already overcrowded prisons, serve longer prison
sentences to be made a example of. Black males will be
denied educational and social services.
There must be a stop to generational and societal
deficiencies by working together and learning again how
to help families with more engagement, prioritize
education and social involvement.