Arizona Alliance of Black
Z. Fowler's review of the book Bright, Talented, and Black
Zelatrice T. Fowler, M.A.Ed
Gifted Endorsed Teacher
I was at a conference for parents of gifted and talented children when I first came across a copy of Bright, Talented, and Black: A Guide for Families of African American Learners, by Dr. Joy Lawson Davis. As a parent of two gifted Black children, I have witnessed and experienced firsthand the unjust treatment that Black gifted children may face in the educational system. After browsing the pages of the book, one of my first thoughts was that it should be read by all parents of African American children. Having flashbacks of the countless number of hours I spent advocating for my children's education, I recalled being left with feelings of helplessness and despair, having failed to find any solutions or assurances that my children would receive optimal educational opportunities to match their educational and social needs.
My hope, however, was restored when I discovered Dr. Davis's book. As I read it, I could see the educational issues that my children faced printed all throughout the pages. Additionally, I found a multitude of productive solutions to strategically address those issues. Dr. Davis, Assistant Professor in Diversity Education and Gifted Education and chair of the National Association for Gifted Children’s Diversity and Equity Committee, offers a wealth of knowledge about the parenting and education of Black gifted children. As many have acknowledged, we as parents are not given a guide for raising children. This book, however, is a promising educational guide and serves as the perfect gift for all parents; it can be extremely useful before a child is even born. Bright, Talented, and Black provides valuable information as to how parents can help direct their child's education, starting from an early age and progressing through college, and provides clear suggestions as to how to work with educators in order to successfully advocate for services to help nurture a gifted child's maximum potential. This book is a map for navigating through some of the educational obstacles that a talented child might face.
Being "bright, talented, and black" is not easy; I applaud Dr. Davis for specifically referencing the educational issues that directly affect gifted Black children, as well as providing families with support, knowledge, and the appropriate tools to ensure their child's educational success. Children's gifts and talents do not start when they enter school—they are born with them. This book will help parents to take a more proactive role in their child's education. It offers insights, validations, and solutions regarding the educational issues that Black children might encounter. I would highly recommend that Bright, Talented, and Black: A Guide for Families of African American Learners, by Dr. Joy Lawson Davis, be read by every parent of an African American child and anyone who has an interest in helping Black children develop to their fullest potential.
"Closing achievement gaps is a critical issue. The performance of Blacks is systematically different from that of other racial and ethnic groups. Decreasing gaps in student achievement means that we must increase the learning gains of Blacks."
- National Education Association
"The gap between teachers and students of color continues to grow. Over the past three years, the demographic divide between teachers and students of color has increased by 3 percentage points, and today, students of color make up almost half of the public school population. But teachers of color are just 18 percent of the teaching profession."
- Center for American Progress
"African-American students, particularly males, are far more likely to be suspended or expelled from school than their peers. Black students make up 18% of the students in the CRDC sample, but 35% of the students suspended once, and 39% of the students expelled."
- U.S. Department of Education
Arizona Alliance of Black School Educators
1334 E. Chandler Blvd., Ste. #5-D32
Phoenix, AZ 85048
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AzABSE pledges to continue serving as educational advocates for children who have been poorly served in the past. We further pledge to ensure that African-American and all other diverse students are effectively educated in the present and are accorded priorities for the future. We pledge to lead the way through the creation of a concrete model that demonstrates the goals of academic and cultural excellence.