*As our nation observes Black History Month, I want to take a moment to reflect on the current state of education within the black community. As an educator who has spent more than 10 years working within urban settings, and in my current role as a building principal at Ombudsman Chicago, I have seen the impact of education first-hand. Education enriches our neighborhoods and communities, provides opportunity and offers hope.
As a society, we have come so far, yet at times it feels as if nothing has changed. Within the past five years, our country has celebrated the second inauguration of our first black president; yet during the same time frame, we have also seen news headlines illustrating inequality and injustice. As a country, we continue to face questions about race, privilege, opportunity and education.
Let’s examine our history in the United States: brought over as slave laborers, we were dehumanized and denied the right to develop literacy. Like our bodies, our minds were held captive, preventing the progression of a strong and independent community. Providing sufficient education resources is vital to the future development of all students. Sadly, many black youth find themselves off track or dropping out of school. At Ombudsman Chicago, we are helping students get back and stay on-track to graduate, prepared for life after high school.
By offering students a second chance academically and by creating an environment where students feel valued, respected and confident, we can influence a change that will uplift our communities. We know that education is an antidote to incarceration and a catalyst for economic empowerment within our communities. Knowledge is power and education is the true foundation upon which success is built.
About Conrad Timbers-Ausar
Conrad Timbers-Ausar is a Building Principal at Ombudsman Chicago with more than 10 years of experience teaching in traditionally underserved communities. Ombudsman Chicago is a CPS Options School with three locations in the City of Chicago, specializing in offering out-of-school and off-track youth a second chance at achieving academic success while preparing them for continuing education and a career.
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