The Florida Conference of Black Legislators held their third annual Educational Symposium at Florida A&M University Friday.
The event kicked off with welcomes and introductions from Traki L. Taylor, the newly appointed dean of the College of Education, and FAMU President Elmira Mangum. Mangum addressed the audience in regards to FAMU and the power of the student body.
“Many of you know that Florida A&M University is laser-like focused on creating a brand that matters in the 21st century, and for us that means that our students are able to be competitive with any students anywhere,” Mangum said.
She went on to discuss the focus on educational matters at hand and the globalization that FAMU will soon be exposed to.
Mangum talked about the new passport initiative that she recently launched. She also talked about the importance of FAMU students and their achievement to being well around successful students and assets to the university.
The panelist for the symposium consisted of Presidents and representatives from colleges and universities in the state of Florida such as, Florida Fund for Minority Teachers, Council on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys, and various professors.
The panelists raised different issues concerning African-American men and women in education. Some of the topics discussed were the inability of students wanting to attain the resources they need, the lack of African-American male educators, the environment in which children are being raised, and much more.
Bethune Cookman University Dean of the College of Education, Willis Walter spoke on issues that affect children in the education system.
“We continue to ignore and continue to allow some of our children to go some of the worst environments to start out their education,” Walter said.
Walter also expressed his concerns of the lack of students in attendance at the event and he suggested that there should be more sessions held similar to the symposium.
Cheryl Williams, representative of the Florida Fund for Minority Teachers spoke on the lack of African-American men in the classroom as educators and the financial obstacles that students face. Williams noted that young men and women were not graduating on time due to the lack of financial stability.
After hearing comments from the panelist, a few students made comments on what they have faced in the past with the education system. Many of the students had similar responses regarding money, safety and the lack of communication between faculty and students.
During the recession period, students, faculty and legislators networked and expounded upon issues that impacts African-Americans in education. Alan Williams, District 8 Florida Representative, discussed the impact of teaching on young African-American men.
“We have a lot of our men that are falling behind. We look at graduation rates and retention rates and those numbers are roughly low as it relates to their female counterparts. We need more men in our classrooms interacting with young men to encourage them to finish school,” Williams said.
The event continued into a breakout session where attendees were given the opportunity to discuss solutions to fix the issues that minority students are facing. For more information on the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, visit www.flblackcaucus.com .