Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: Stand for Children Memphis - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: Stand for Children Memphis

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By Ursula Madden - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - It's a hard lesson, but Stand for Children Memphis is teaching people the brutal truth about Tennessee schools.

"We do grassroots advocacy that insures that all children have a great quality education," Stand for Children Memphis' Director, Kenya Bradshaw, said in a recent interview.

Only 70 percent of Tennessee students graduate from high school, and that rate drops to 58 percent for African-Americans, and 52 percent for Hispanics.

"As a community why are we not outraged about these issues?" Bradshaw asks.

Stand for Children's goal, according to Bradshaw, is to the get the public energized about making public schools the best they can be.

"We need to be more vocal in speaking up for our children, and I think it's powerful to have students speak for themselves," she said. "But I think as adults, we have a responsibility to advocate on their behalf."

Bradshaw was proud of the Mitchell High School student who recently confronted school board members about not having text books, but believes the community should have beat him to it.

"When schools don't have teachers in their classroom, or they don't have books or kids aren't going outside to play, then we are not providing the education that they deserve," she said.

Stand for Children helped bring federal Race to the Top dollars to Memphis in the amount of $76 million.  The group sponsored Education Study Circles to show people how to become advocates, and provided several screenings of the education documentary 'Waiting for Superman.'

Stand for Children has also organized public forums for school board candidates.

"It is a community issue, the state of our public schools, and more people need to be engaged in that conversation," Bradshaw said.

Stand for Children Memphis is looking for mentors, tutors, and advocate volunteers. You can also donate money to the group, which also acts as a political lobby.

The organization has not issued an endorsement for any candidate in the race for school board, and will not issue an endorsement.

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