Published: February 1, 2021

As anyone who has worked with Black and brown parents knows, broken promises from public school officials have long been a reality for many families. So it should come as no surprise that Black parents are less likely to send their children back to school once in-person classes resume, worrying that school districts aren’t prepared to keep their kids safe. A piece in today’s New York Times takes a closer look at the issue, which is good news. It’s never too late for those with influence to pay more attention to the frustrations described by advocate Bernita Bradley in the NYT story: 

“The school system asks parents to be patient because it’s a pandemic, but we’ve been told for years, ‘Give us time.’ How many years are we going to hear that?”

There are longstanding issues — of trust and communication, as well as school quality — that families have been enduring since long before the pandemic began. Our nation’s public health crisis can be transformed into an opportunity, if school districts and education leaders are willing to lean in and listen to, learn from, and better communicate with families of color.