Hidden figures in the making

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 By Cheryl Coleman

An all black female team from Washington D.C. high school entered the NASA Goddard’s Optimus Prime Spinoff Promotion and Research Challenge. The challenge was to develop a way to purify lead-contaminated water in drinking fountains. The grand prize was a trip to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. and a $4,000 stipend.

The ladies were so excited about this challenge because of the high levels of lead found in the school's water system. The team found out that they were one of the finalists and needed voters support, unfortunately, what they received was hackers with racist comments from an anonymous online website. The anonymous posts said the students did not deserve to be a finalist and the black community was only voting because the teens were black. 

Three young, intelligent black women are developing a product that’s needed in our community. Something that will benefit everyone  AND because they are black, some racist tries to rig the system. Of course, if the girls weren’t black, this wouldn’t be an issue, and I wouldn’t be writing this blog. It’s so sad that even with a brilliant idea, we are still looked at as less than.

Regardless of what happened to these young ladies, Congratulations for making it to the finals! You deserve it! Unfortunately, Flint still has no clean water, and three brilliant Black young women are trying to solve a significant problem here in Washington D.C. that has been ignored for many years, but racists have to step in to seek and destroy their dreams and hard work. 

I believe the girls know that regardless of this horrible incident, they should never give up. They have a lot of people in their corner and know one day; they will change the world. #keepwinning #blackmagic

Parents Boycotting School

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By David Wilson

In the wake of another school shooting that claimed the lives of 10 students at Santa Fe High School, former United States Secretary of Education suggested parents boycott school until gun laws change. Initially, this idea seemed a bit off, but when I sat and thought about it, it makes sense, and I think I could get behind it.

Parents should not have to worry about whether or not their children are safe when they send them off to school. They should go to the school to view their students' work not to identify their remains after another instance of senseless violence involving guns.

Each time this happens, we see the same playbook; the immediate outrage, thoughts and prayers, and inaction by lawmakers. Students walked out and held rallies in capital cities. Educators and parents supported the call for change and demanded school districts update their safety plans and conduct training. Still, nothing has changed, and we have had an average of one shooting per week in 2018.

Boycotts have had a tremendous impact on spurring change because of the immediate economic effects they have. So, in theory, if parents kept their students home until laws were passed to keep students safe in school, we would see change. Lawmakers at every level would feel the brunt of the economic impact resulting from students staying home and school districts losing out on ADA funding. As a parent, this is more than a political stunt or protest. Why should we send our students somewhere where they are not safe?

 

Enrollment Fraud in DC Schools

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School officials is DC have been found perpetrating enrollment fraud in many area schools.  In these instances, students who do not live in the District are attending District schools, using taxpayer money and taking up classroom space that DC children should be using.

“This is an area that we’ve known is an area we need to improve on, and we’ve been working on putting these systems in place.”

Read more here

Barbarann Mack Shares how the 2017 PAVE Parent Policy Summit Inspired her to Become an Education Advocate.

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Last year, I was introduced to PAVE when a good friend and current PAVE PLE Board member invited me to join her at the 2017 PAVE Parent Policy Summit. Seeing my friend be a part of something that allowed her, as a parent, to really use her voice to advocate on behalf of her children made me want to get more involved, but I can honestly say that I was nervous walking into the Summit not knowing what to expect.

One of the first things I can recall that made an impact on me was the conversation starter cards on each table. Seeing those immediately made me feel “included,” which is not usually my experience in rooms with individuals I do not know. Though I have been in a few settings like this before, that one touch set PAVE apart from all the others and made me feel more confident that I was in the right space.
 
I loved everything about the Summit! I loved the parent-led discussions at our tables, the fun activities, and the PAVE parent leaders who stood before the room to tell their stories about the issues their families were facing. Different than any other event I have ever been a part of, after our discussions, we - the parents - voted on the issues that WE wanted to focus on. PAVE would take the top voted issues and make them the focal point of our work for the upcoming year.
 
I voted for ‘Increased Access to Out of School Time (OST) Programs’ and ‘Great Schools in every Ward and One City-wide School Report Card’ as the issues I wanted to see PAVE tackle, because these two concerns have always been at the top of my list. 
 
I voted for access to OST programs because I have an 11-year-old son who has never been able to take advantage of a seat in a summer program in the six straight years I’ve been trying to get him into one, which has ultimately hurt our family and lifestyle. I also know the inequality in our school system first-hand. Although we live in Ward 8, my child has only had one Ward 8 educational institute experience. I am a parent who wants the best options for my son and since he was in 1st-grade there has not been a school in Ward 8 that I would willingly place him at. There are more options now than 8 years ago, but I would like to see Ward 8 have great school choices for not just my son but every child living East of the River going forward.
 
This year, I want to see parents make sure that we hold our elected officials accountable to the issues we have already raised, and not let these issues fall through the cracks without seeing real actions implemented.As a collective voice, PAVE parent leaders have the mandate to see that our issues are taken seriously by our city’s leaders. Ultimately, we the parents/guardians hold the key to laws and policies, and decisions in the city, we just need to know that we do.