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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

If schooling was as important as football

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Vesia Hawkins loves football, she writes on Volume & Light, which follows Nashville schools. This year, she’s taking her young cousin to play on the youth team coached by her husband.

She asks: What would happen if parents were as engaged, aware and demanding about their children’s schooling as they are about their football prowess?

Community youth football teams are teeming with parents and family members pacing sidelines and screaming for their little loved ones. They want their children to be successful, maybe even need them to be for whatever reason. They are intently watching every play, every move the baby made or didn’t make and, believe me, mom or dad will remind the kid for the remainder of the week what he must do to be better for the next game. High expectations. The highest. So it’s got me wonderin’ if these parents are as aware and as fervently engaged in their child’s literacy and numeracy performance as they are in the x’s and o’s of pee wee football. If the high expectations around making plays are equal to the expectations of making good grades.

Most of the players on the team are black, as is Hawkins, she writes. She feels “compelled” to discuss Nashville’s “literacy crisis” with parents. One in three third graders reads at grade level: It’s worse for black students.

Here’s the Tennessean on the literacy gap.

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