A professional learning communities’ primary function is to provide an educational experience that serves students holistically. This includes educators with a strong sense of purpose, educators who are learners of culture, reinforcing a positive sense of self which involves supporting and developing a positive racial identity in regards to black students, and believing that all students can learn, especially students of color.
The employment of black educators with the above qualities along with other educators possessing those qualities would increase performance of all students. Over three years ago, we received a complaint from a qualified black educator who had applied for five positions with Lima City Schools. Eventually, the district hired her as a teacher at Unity after pressure from the NAACP. The superintendent publicly deemed her unqualified, but in fact she possessed the above-mention qualities to the point that class scores on the state test went from a F to a C in her first year of employment. This educator advocated for her students. She advocated for a third grader with an IEP, a black male who was handcuffed by the buildings’ officer and placed in a cruiser and taken to the police station over spilled milk in the cafeteria. This educator left the district because of continued demoralization of her efforts by administration.
There are other incidences that could be cited. For instance, there is evidence that the district has hired staff to teach without teacher certification. It takes more than commercials, outstanding athletics, and blaming the state in order to serve students holistically. It takes overhauling the system by changing leadership from the top down including replacing the board and hiring holistic educators.
Dr. Carol A. Fails, Lima