Navigating School Selection 101: A Guide for Parents of African American Children
What Folks are saying about the Book!
Dr. Rona Frederick’s text, “Navigating School Selection 101: A Guide for African American Parents,” offers a host of resources, insights, and paradigm shifts that have literally transformed that way that I think about today’s educational ecosystem in relationship to my two African American sons. As a Bay Area resident, I enjoy the privilege of being able to access myriad school options for my children—from African-centered schools, to a plethora of charter schools, faith-based institutions, pricey private and independent schools, and public schools.
I am a proud graduate of K-12 public schools, as is my husband. When we had our children, we fully expected that they would also attend public schools. Fast forward a decade, and both of our children now attend Catholic schools. While we feel that this is the best choice for our family, this environment is by no means perfect. There are a host of academic, social/behavioral and cultural gaps that we are always working to address and resolve. We have had to learn the hard way that there is no “perfect school.”
In her book, Dr. Frederick takes on the dual role of griot and guide—sharing personal anecdotes and new approaches for empowering today’s African American parents in our collective effort to support our children’s educational pursuits and pathways. For instance, one of the techniques that Dr. Frederick recommends is the process of “kid watching,” which invites parents to really spend the time to regularly and astutely observe the inherent gifts, abilities, and passions that their children are both with, in an effort to more optimally align their academic and extracurricular pursuits.
Dr. Frederick also offers a game-changing perspective, which is that today’s African American parents must “own” their role as their children’s primary educators who provide instruction at home (homeschooling). In this paradigm, schools function as our children’s secondary co-educators. Having read and internalized this approach, I have felt so much more empowered in my efforts to advocate for my children—whether following up on something simple, such as missing work, or a more involved undertaking, such as seeking classroom accommodations. #BlackBrillianceMatters, and Dr. Frederick’s text offers today’s parents straightforward and savvy how-to guidance for successfully navigating today’s K-12 educational landscape. This book belongs on everyone’s must-have holiday gift list! You won’t be disappointed!
Navigating Schools Selection
About the Book!
This easy-to-use resource responds to society’s urgent need to better understand the educational system for children of African descent, in particular, and serves as a unique and invaluable companion to the parents determined to identify great-fitting schools for their children. Navigating the School Selection Process 101 not only presents practical tips and techniques for navigating the journey from a cultural perspective but also emboldens parents to ask the hard questions about race and culture regarding their children’s education. The ideas and tactics in the book represent a combination of Dr. Frederick’s more than 25 years of experience as an accomplished university professor, coach, and trainer to teachers and administrators. The book also imparts crucial knowledge garnered from years spent observing traditional and unconventional schools and educational institutions, evaluating best practices.
Navigating the School Selection Process 101 provides tools for understanding how well a school fosters a space that will maximize the potential for a child’s success.
Historical overview of African-American education
Techniques for advocating for children in their current school
Tips on how to understand a child’s unique learning profile • Characteristics of great schools and teachers for African-American students
Workbook exercises to support parents in goal setting and school choice.
Our Selected Publications
Facing the Rising Sun: A History of Black Teachers in Washington DC
Over 50 years after the monumental decision of Brown v. Board of Education, many U.S. schools remain separate and unequal. This includes schools in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. The article discusses how in the two centuries of public education in Washington, D.C., Black educators used a variety of subversive tactics to educate their children. This article chronicles critical milestones in educational policy that affected Black educators working in segregated, all-Black schools in Washington, D.C. The authors demonstrate that, in the face of the oppressive sociopolitical conditions and racist policies, Black educators continued to serve in their own interests by fostering liberatory spaces for their children.
Teacher Candidates Transformative Thinking on issues of Social Justice
This article examined how teacher candidates’ thoughts shifted regarding social inequity in a sophomore-level Foundations of Education course located in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. First, we described in detail the teacher education program and course, as well as class simulations, school observations, course readings and class discussions. Then, we examined the narratives of our teacher candidates’ transformation. We found that the afore-mentioned experiences successfully supported transformative thinking regarding social justice. By the end of the course, many teacher candidates began to take ownership over their learning and started viewing themselves as responsible change agents. They began to examine education as embedded in larger social contexts, scrutinized their own schooling experiences and stepped outside of their own conceptions of education to initiate discussions of social justice.
Constructs and Dimensions of African Centered Education
For decades, Afrocentric education has been mentioned as a potential resolution to the many academic and social problems being faced by Black children in U.S. public schools, but, ironically, it has rarely if ever been defined and assessed within mainstream discourses. This article explicates some of historical developments and dimensions of constructs that appear within the literature on cultural reattachment Afrocentric education. Cultural reattachment is a process whereby people of African descent begin to adopt (wholly or partially) aspects of an African culture. Afrocentric education is defined as the adoption of Afrocentric ideology and cultural relevancy for use within classrooms. Proponents of cultural reattachment Afrocentric education advance important “cultural constructs” that they believe should be part of any effort to educate Black children. As a result, educationists (teachers, administrators, researchers) who are familiar with the constructs are armed with the necessary tools to advocate for a more authentic education for Black children.