Fahari Academy Updates
A Message from Fahari’s Assistant Principal, Mr. Roebuck:
This week we had the opportunity to take our 7th and 8th grade students to see the movie Selma. I traveled with the 7th graders, and really enjoyed spending the day with our wonderful students. At the times the film was difficult to watch. There was something about seeing people who look like you be beaten in the streets by officers of the law and their fellow countrymen, that felt different than the many times I’ve read about these same events. In the days since viewing the movie, I’ve been left thinking about one scene in particular, where Martin Luther King Jr. says something along the lines of: “A black man will be able to sit at any lunch counter, but what does it matter if he can’t afford the burger? Or worse, what if he can’t read the menu?” Those words have stayed with me, as I thought about our work as educators, and what change can look like for people of color all these years removed from the spring of 1965.
We know that people of color of can walk into any “lunch counter” they please, but we also know that many of the families we serve are gripped by poverty and are ill served by the education system. Research tells us that these two factors–poverty and inadequate education– are drivers of what has been called “the new Jim Crow”: the mass incarceration of males of color in the United States. In the years since the Civil Rights movement, the criminal justice system serves a mechanism through which people of color are segregated, disenfranchised, and disconnected from society. For our purposes as educators, the link between mass incarceration and our daily work is well documented:
- According to the Justice Department, illiteracy and crime are closely related. The Department of Justice states, “The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is welded to reading failure.” Over 70% of inmates in America’s prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level.
- A study from two professors at the University of Western Ontario and the University of California, Los Angeles: “High school graduation reduces the probability [of incarceration] by 3-4 percentage points among white men ages 22-28 and 8-9 percentage points among black men” of the same ages.
- Research by Stephanie Ewart, argues: “The educational system creates [a] caste system and prepares students for incarceration by reproducing social inequality via cultural and structural mechanisms…School practices, such as tracking, hamper future social and economic mobility. Another byproduct of tracking is decreased skill level and low educational attainment, which are both salient factors in regards to contact with the criminal justice system.”
Coming back full circle, our students (in theory) will be be able to vote, and sit where they would like on buses. But as the movie reminds us, what comes next for people of color is gaining the capacities needed to enjoy the legal protections that Civil Rights movement secured. Equitable participation in American society is linked to the education a person receives. Research tells that if our students fail academically, their ability to participate in our society is severely diminished. This calls us to make it possible for all of students to achieve academically. We can do this by enacting what research tells us contributes to student achievement: being a school where teachers are part of teams that authentically collaborate, being a school that is purposeful in developing students socially and emotionally, being a school where our instructional practices place students not teachers at the center of learning, and finally, being a school where every adult believes that all students can learn at high levels. If we can do these things, I’m confident that we will be doing our part in ensuring that our students can “afford the burger” and “read the menu”.
Fahari Academy Exceeds the City’s Target Measure For Student Growth!
Fahari’s Quality Snapshot, the new DOE’s accountability tool, illustrates the progress Fahari has made in just one year! Fahari’s Student Progress scores, which measures how much students are learning every year, show impressive gains in both ELA and math. Click on the links below to view Fahari’s Quality Snapshot, Quality Guide and School Survey. Thank you to all families, students, staff and community members for your continued support. Fahari is on the RISE!
Inside Schools Review on Fahari Academy