In 2013, only 34 percent of Georgia’s third graders read at grade level by the end of third grade. Students who qualify for free or reduced priced school meals scored 25 points lower on the NAEP than their higher income peers. We are all aware of the dire statistics that paint many schools as ineffective at best in educating our children and overcoming the academic challenges they face. However, the question becomes, what are we going to do to help our children?
We believe that well-educated African American children are the pillars of a stronger African American family, culture, and community in modern America. This belief has led us to establish Better Outcomes for Our Kids (BOOK). BOOK’s overall focus is raising awareness around the need for high performing schools in African American communities, and the need to expand and increase awareness of educational options and school choice. As an organization led by African Americans, we are a commanding voice in the discussion around the performance of publicly funded schools in Metro Atlanta, and their impact specifically on African American children. We work with “traditional” and “charter” schools, to increase the involvement of parents and community members in their local schools.
BOOK initiates conversations with audiences that are ready to see measurable steps taken towards addressing the challenges of public education in the African American community. We are the leading voice in this movement for change, reform and choice in Georgia.
BOOK uses “roundtable” events as an engagement platform to establish and grow our influence in the African American community. This format initiates a community conversation focusing on the need for “community-wide approach” to tackling the student achievement gaps plaguing the African American community. We engage the following groups:
- Metro Atlanta, African American clergy
- Metro Atlanta governmental leaders, legislators, political parties
- Metro Atlanta superintendents of publicly funded schools
- School principals and classroom educators
- Parents, students, and grass tops and grassroots leaders
- African American Greek Letter Organizations
- Membership only African American Social and Networking organizations
These conversations allow for a meaningful discussion on how we can work together to advocate for systemic and institutional policy changes. In addition, this overall approach will increase awareness in Atlanta, and greater Georgia, around the need for demanding successful educational outcomes for African American children.