Dr. Howard Fuller ignites African Methodist Episcopal church



Dr. Howard Fuller ignites African Methodist Episcopal church
M AY 2 0 1 2
Dr. Howard Fuller ignites African Methodist
Episcopal church conference participants as BAEO
continues its mission to engage the clergy community
The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think
intensively and to think critically. But education which stops
with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.,
hese words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Junior spoke to
the travesty of education that failed to empower a community;
which proved to be the greatest detriment to society. On
April 12, 2012, Dr. Fuller ignited an audience of clergy and laity at
St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Cleveland, Ohio
who listen intently regarding injustices that have been unveiled
in the educational systems of America. Fuller exuded a very open
conversation regarding the current climate in education, specifically
as it relates to Urban Education. He reminded participants of
African Methodism’s’ involvement in social justice while bringing
to their attention the struggles of today. Candidly, Dr. Fuller
revisited his own experiences as superintendent of Milwaukee
Public Schools, coupled with current incidents of injustice that
have stripped many Black children from thriving within many
inner city schools. It was clearly conveyed that a great travesty
would be an inevitable result if the Black church did nothing to
avail itself during this struggle for justice on behalf of low income
and working class black families. Particularly since many of them
simply desire access to high quality educational options for their
children. Shortly following Dr. Fuller’s presentation, the Rev. Dr.
James Harris, Presiding Elder of the Cleveland District applauded
his efforts to inform conference participants of disparities that exist
in education. Dr. Harris encouraged every church in his district
to immerse itself in BAEO’s mission while also emphasizing the
significance of being members of the organization. Because of the
AME churches support Ohio BAEO received more than $425 in
new members support.
2 BAEO BEAT May 2012
Ohio BAEO encourages Dayton
area private school participation
in the Jon Peterson Scholarship
n Tuesday, March 20, 2012 Ohio BAEO assembled
private school administrators for a luncheon at
Mr. Hymans Fine Dining to gain insight regarding
participation in the new Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship
The meeting agenda was organized around an informal discussion of school participation, common issues and challenges along
with shared strategies. Private school administrators were able to
gain information that would benefit staff and students alike.
In attendance were principals and administrators representing
several of the EdChoice and Autism participating private schools in
the Dayton area. Also joining the discussion was Christopher
Pastura, Director of School Strategic Planning from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Because of his knowledge of the Jon Peterson
Scholarship and his participation in the training offered by the
Ohio Department of Education he was able to assist BAEO with
dispelling some of the misconceptions around school accepting the
scholarship program. Mr. Pastura gave a brief presentation on how
to access the scholarship application while Ohio BAEO provided
step-by-step instructions on how to navigate the application portal.
The Jon Peterson scholarship provides parents of children with
special needs or learning differences, access to special education
programs outside of their residential school districts, encompassing
services outlined in their individualized education program (IEP).
“Great job BAEO! Thanks for hosting the luncheon, the information provided was very much needed and helpful”, Mary Ruth
Shearer, Admissions Director Archbishop Alter High School.
May 2012 BAEO BEAT 3
Parents convene in Columbus and
Cleveland for BAEO’s School Expo
n March 10th and 17th, the cities of Columbus and
Cleveland were host to Ohio BAEO’s School Expo at the
King Arts Complex and the Gunning Recreation Center.
School Expo is an opportunity for the education community to
share information with families and individuals about programs
under one roof. Participants included organizations from
public charter and private schools, social service organizations,
and members from the business community. The spirit of Expo
takes into account that the development of low income and
working class families is vital to Black community advancement.
Parents were engaged about options that exist within their own
communities which can prove helpful when making informed
choices regarding a child’s education. The theme of Parental
Choice was a common thread for both events. Parents had an
opportunity to seek information and ask questions about school’s
curriculum and programs along with dispersing information on
the Ohio EdChoice Scholarship program, Cleveland Scholarship
and Tutoring Program, the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship
program, tutoring programs, pre-school options, before/afterschool options for working parents, and post-secondary education
The event received an added lift by Radio One personalities who
were successful in drawing community attention toward the event
by interviewing Ohio BAEO Staff regarding the organization’s
mission, programs, and policy interest. Overall, Expo certainly met
the expectation of parents in both cities, allowing for some meaningful discussion and exposure to schools in both charter and
private school communities. Many parents agreed that schools
availing themselves in this manner gave way to the potential of
gaining access to attending some of the areas high performing
charter and private institutions.
4 BAEO BEAT May 2012
Breakthroughs making it happen in Cleveland
hen considering high performing charter schools in the
State of Ohio, Breakthrough Schools are at the top.
During a recent visit to several of the Breakthrough
Schools which included Citizens Academy, E-Prep School, Village
Prep, and the Near West Intergenerational School, I realized that
there was definitely something special about each school. It has
been stated that one can learn much about a school within the first
5 minutes of entering. Upon entering these schools I can only
imagine what many our Black parents must have felt like when
visiting for the first time. Well, I am a witness to the hope which
exists within Urban Education. Our kids are deserving of hope
and opportunity, without question, these institutions are doing
their very best to ensure each student’s aspirations are preciously
protected and respected. I am reminded of the words of George
Washington Carver: “Education is the key to unlock the golden
door of freedom.” It is apparent that Breakthrough Schools
have placed their hands upon the keys and are unlocking doors
of new discovery for its students. There are no perfect panaceas
for education; however, there are some models that demonstrate
true success within the inner city where gaps are being closed and
Black students are academically out performing their suburban
counterparts. Yes, this is taking place at Breakthrough Schools.
When asking staff what are one of the major keys to their success,
overwhelmingly teachers and administrators replied, passion. I
must admit that I believed them because when I looked into the
eyes of these young people who smiled, who walked with a strong
sense of integrity, who were excited about the learning process it
was then I realized that our babies were embracing the promise of
their own breakthrough.
May 2012 BAEO BEAT 5
Ohio BAEO continues to share
scholarship information with parents
uring the month of March, Ohio BAEO has held two
parent workshops designed to inform, educate and guide
parents through the process of obtaining the Edchoice
Scholarship and applying for the Jon Peterson Special Needs
Scholarship Program, (JPSNS). More than 42 parents left the
workshops with knowledge of the application process as well as
tools to help them choose the school that best fits their child’s
EdChoice provides children in under-performing public schools
the ability to attend a state-approved private and parochial school
of their choice. Currently, more than 15,000 students receive the
Edchoice scholarship. The (JPSNS) gives parents of students with
special needs and who have an Individualized Education Plan
(IEP), the option to attend a private school, receive services at
private therapist and other service providers. In addition, families
can choose the options to attend other public schools outside of the
students’ home districts.
To date more than 18,000 applications have been submitted to
the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) for both state-funded
scholarship programs. According to ODE over 17,000 applications
for the Edchoice Scholarship Program were processed which
included 3,814 new applicants. The department received 1,544
first-time applications for the (JPSNS).
Ohio BAEO believes that parents who are armed with the facts,
informed about their choices and educated on all the options will
ultimately make the best “quality” decisions for their children.
6 BAEO BEAT May 2012
Ohio BAEO participate in the Cleveland
Transformation Plan Press Conference
n Wednesday, April 25, 2012, Ohio BAEO joined
local and national community and education reform
organizations including the Thomas B. Fordam
Foundation, Ohio Catholic Conference, and Ohio Alliance
for Public Charter Schools, Ohio Catholic Conference, School
Choice Ohio and Students First at a press conference to express
support for Mayor Jackson’s plan to improve the education being
received by Cleveland students. Also present were the elected
officials responsible for SB 335 Senators N. Turner and P. Lehner
(R-Kettering); and HB525 Reps. R. Amstutz (R-Wayne County)
and S. Williams (D-Cleveland).
The Cleveland Transformation Plan will put the Cleveland
Metropolitan School District (CMSD) on the path to provide
every child with an excellent education. Strengthening partnerships
with high-performing charter schools, cracking down on lowperforming charter schools and giving more flexibility to successful
district schools are just a few of the components detailed within the
Tracie F. Craft, State Director of the Ohio Black Alliance for
Educational Options, shared her perspective about the critical need
to reform Cleveland schools and the importance of doing it now.
She further expressed that “Though we recognize this plan may not
remedy all of the challenges that currently exist within the district
we certainly commend Mayor Jackson for his courage to bring
forth such a bold plan that will allow CMSD to begin moving in
the right direction towards academic success and quality options for
all students.”
Senator Turner greeted BAEO parents after the press conference
and stated, “I am so thankful that you have taken time to come out
and support this plan, you being here means a lot.”
Ohio BAEO parents had the opportunity to meet with various
legislators to express their gratitude and also share concerns and
encourage support of the Cleveland Transformation Plan.
In the coming weeks, Ohio BAEO will be hands-on in creating
opportunities for dialogue within the Cleveland community
around this very important issue. It is our hope that the legislature,
charter schools and the community can come to a consensus
around what will be in the best interest of the children.
May 2012 BAEO BEAT 7
BAEO parent offers testimony at
Ohio Senate and House hearings
“By passing this legislation, the state will be taking major steps toward
improving our schools and making sure that our children receive the
quality education that they need and deserve.”
– James Smith
Photo: from left to right, James Smith, Shaeneal Gaither, Mr. Turner,
Sen. Turner, Micah
Photo: from left to right, Ron Amstutz (R-3rd District), Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland),
James Smith (parent).
hese words spoken from a BAEO parent could not have
been more clear during the Ohio Senate and House hearings
on May 8th and 9th in Columbus, Ohio. James Smith,
who was accompanied by his fiancée Shaeneal Gaither and son
Micah, spoke to the theme of quality education serving as the
bottom line for all children. Smith an advocate of parental choice,
provided testimony on how his three children are being educated
in both charter and private school systems. Smith related that
Mayor Jackson’s Transformational Plan is not a perfect plan but
it does grant new possibilities. Smith, also a football coach sees
firsthand the experience of so many young Black boys who are
placed in challenging conditions and expected to succeed. Coach
Smith vehemently urged for the passage of HB 525 and SB 335.
According to Smith, “By passing this legislation, the state will be
taking major steps toward improving our schools and making sure
that our children receive the quality education that they need and
Following his testimony, Smith was engaged in a series of questions from Sen. Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) who asked him to
expand on his thoughts of why he supported the Transformational
Plan. Turner expressed her disappointment in some members from
the Ohio Federal of Teachers who were proponents of spreading
falsehoods about the Transformation Plan which abruptly caused
misinformation to spread negatively throughout the Cleveland
community. Sen. Turner eluded that she would publically call
them out in an effort to halt the spread of such propaganda.
The Transformational Plan definitely is not the panacea for
education in the city; however, it does allow a chance for lowincome and working-class Black families to experience quality
school options that they would not have with the current status
quo of education functionality in Cleveland.
PO Box 5699
Dayton, Ohio 45405
4118 Brookside Blvd.
Cleveland Ohio 44135
Tracie F. Craft
State Director
[email protected]
P 937-222-7990
F 937-558-0744
Ericka L. Murphy
State Coordinator
[email protected]
P 937-275-8393
F 937-275-9557
Shane K. Floyd, Ph.D.
Business and Community Outreach Coordinator
[email protected]
P 440-263-2440
F 216-941-6706
Local BAEO web page:
School Choice Ohio
MARCH 14-16, 2013
U.S. Department of Education
The Peabody Orlando
9801 International Drive
Orlando, Florida 32819
Parents Advancing Choice in Education (PACE)
Questions contact:
[email protected]
To increase access to high-quality educational options for Black children by actively supporting
parental choice policies and programs that empower low-income and working class Black families.

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