Fri. Jul 19th, 2024


Another leader that has failed black children


Washington, DC – The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African Americans is affiliated with the DC Black Church Initiative which has over 800 black churches in the DC area and calls Kaya Henderson’s tenure in the District of Columbia school system almost a complete failure.

Chancellor Henderson’s tenure cannot be viewed into isolation because she was a part of the Michelle Rhee revolution. Michelle Rhee was touted by all of the top white liberal education reform advocates as the sole solution to the District of Columbia’s educational problem and for underachieving black kids. She not only failed, but lied and distorted the test scores which have been verified by national education arbiters and national news publications such as PBS Frontline and Newsweek. To save face, 30 liberal white education foundations constructed a slush fund to back her unworkable and unheeding education reform methods which to date have not caught on as a national trend.

Henderson on the other hand, who had an excellent opportunity to break away from that style of educational instruction doubled down on it, and that is why the National Black Church Initiative and the DC Black Church Initiative believes that she has failed to make a difference.

Over the tenure of 5 years she controlled up to $ 3,506,500,000.00 and she failed to utilize that budget to improve African American kids and to build a permanent educational structure around them so that they could succeed. But I am sure she gave into every single demand from white parents in building that education success structure with top African American educators. There is clear indication that she did not consult with top African American educators about the systemic failure of African American kids. On the other hand she took the white liberal perspective on why African American kids continue to fail even with 3 billion dollars over the last 5 years. She has been co-opted, unyielding and unable to bring out the best in her staff to protect the interests of black kids.

If we cannot trust African American educators to protect the interests of black kids then who can we trust? It is obvious that one of the overriding factors of why African Americans continue to fail is because their white teachers do not have any incentive to help them to succeed. They do not care if there is another black kid who cannot read or write, it will have no bearing on them, their community or their jobs. It was Ms. Henderson and Michelle Rhee who systematically fired up to 60% of African American teachers in the district school system and called that progress and then signed a contract with Teach for America which put white teachers in low income black schools. How tragic. Then on top of that, Henderson decided to adopt Common Core because she did not want to be seen as bucking the system and also, her good friend Michelle Rhee asked her to accept Common Core as the universal standard for Black and Latino kids. The crisis of Common Core is that no one ever voted on it and it is being imposed upon all of our children by a group of white business men who are do-gooders.

According to the Washington Post, “The stark truth: Black students, who constitute 67 percent of the school population, had a 17 percent proficiency rate in both English and math, trailing Hispanics, who comprise 17 percent of the school population and recorded proficiency rates of 21 percent in English and 22 percent in math. 

Translation: Beginning at least in the third grade, an overwhelming majority of black students are on a track that leads in the wrong direction — away from college-level work or a career after high school graduation. 

Let that sink in. 

The picture isn’t better for the city’s high school students. Of those who took a new geometry test, only 10 percent met proficiency standards. Twenty-five percent met proficiency standards in the new English test. Again, the presence of white students prevented the dismal high school results from being even worse. Fifty-two percent of white students scored proficient or better in geometry, while 82 percent were college-ready in English. Stack those rates against the 8 percent of Hispanic students and 4 percent of black students scoring proficient in geometry, and the 25 percent of Hispanic and 20 percent of black students reaching that mark in English. 

Any way you slice it, in this multiracial school system, black students bring up the rear. Don’t blame the tests. They measure where the students are.” 

Over the past 5 years, at a salary of $284,000 she has made over $1,420,000.00. She has done extremely well and we are happy that she is being paid for her experience and her education that she brought to the district system. The crisis here is that she has also contributed to the prison pipeline that Michelle Alexander talked to eloquently about in ‘The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness’. Look at it this way, a student who was 12 years old when Chancellor Henderson came in would be 17 years old when she left 5 years later. 30-40% of those black male students that she failed to educate are now a part of the prison industrial complex which is the new Jim Crow. The question is, how can a black educator who is a black parent herself fail so miserably to educate African American kids, making over a million dollars over her tenure and controlling a 3 billion dollar budget.

The National Black Church Initiative is launching a Comprehensive Educational Strategy: A Pathway Forward for African Americans in the 21st Century, to address academic pathways and priorities for African Americans in K-12 public schools and higher education.  Since the Black Church historically has served as epicenter for educating African Americans through pedagogical and content-focused efforts, a prevailing imperative exists to re (establish) these foundational relationships to generate smoother matriculation and competitive outcomes of African Americans in the K-20 and beyond pipeline.

Rev. Anthony Evans, President of the National Black Church Initiative says, “What you have to watch here is where Kaya Henderson gets her next job from. Either Michelle Rhee is going to rehire her as a part of keeping the old team together or one of the liberal white foundations who support Michelle Rhee plan to hire her so that if any controversy is raised among black parents or black leaders like myself, they will have an educated black face to stick in front of the camera and refute what we say. This means that the fix is in.

We have the blessings and support of the entire black church global leadership for NBCI Comprehensive Educational Strategy: A Pathway Forward for African Americans in the 21st Century. One of our first steps is to call African American academicians and scholars together to set higher standards for all African American Children at every grade levels. We plan to build new partnerships and to conduct an in-depth evaluation of current partners to see if there are still affinity issues in moving forward under this new strategy. We are currently conducting an educational evaluation in 200 communities around this nation to simply answer the question. Are these communities doing all they can do with the resources they have and do they benefit black students? We plan to release these observations of those 200 communities in early 2017. In addition, we plan to conduct the largest education survey of African American parent attitudes and expectations ever in the history of the black community. This crucial data will give us the information we need to understand the challenges at ground level and the ability to write and shape educational policies for the African American community going forward over the next fifty years. This is why the black church has declared an education emergency.”

The National Black Church Initiative will use this same educational assessment for other districts across the nation annually as part of its Comprehensive Education Framework.


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