Heidi Ramirez resigns from chief of academics role with Shelby County Schools

Shelby County Schools Chief of Academics Heidi Ramirez is resigning from the school district, effective March 31.

Natalia Powers, chief of communications, informed board members of Ramirez’s resignation in an email Tuesday morning.

Powers said Ramirez resigned “to make some personal and professional changes to be closer to (her) family and friends.”

Ramirez served as chief for over two years. The announcement of her resignation comes a month after the district announced a restructuring of the academics department that shifted Ramirez’s role in Superintendent Dorsey Hopson’s cabinet.

Dr. Ramirez’s vision has helped enhance planning and coordination across all of our academic departments and stakeholders—from teachers and coaches to school and District leaders,” Hopson said. “She has also been instrumental in increasing focus on our strategic plan, Destination 2025, and we appreciate all of her contributions.”

Read the full story at the Commercial Appeal.

When she chose to homeschool her kids, the school district had her arrested and her kids taken

Black Main Street is reporting the craziest story. A black mother in Buffalo was arrested – and had her kids seized by county officials – because of her decision to home school.

Kiarre Harris, a single mom in Buffalo, NY realized her school district was failing to properly educate her two elementary age children. So she filed the necessary paperwork to formally remove her kids from public school and begin the process of homeschooling them herself.

Ms. Harris says she went to city hall and picked up the paperwork she needed. She showed her local news station, 7 Eyewitness News, her paperwork that the school district acknowledged it had received. Harris told the news station, “I spoke directly to the homeschool coordinator and she told me from this point on my children were officially un-enrolled from school.”

She said about one week later, she received a phone call from Child Protective Services (CPS) inquiring why her kids weren’t attending school. Harris stated, “I told them [CPS] that my kids were homeschooled now and that I could furnish the documents if they need to see them.”

A mother arrested for doing what she sees as lifesaving for her child should never be a crime.

But, Harris’ case isn’t the first time black mothers have been arrested for running afoul of public education authorities.

In 2011 Kelley Williams-Bolar was arrested in Ohio for educational theft after she was accused of using her father’s home address to enroll her daughter in a better performing school district.

Williams-Bolar’s father ended up in jail over the matter too, and he died there.

School districts nationally are hiring private investigators to bust parents using bogus addresses to get in better schools.

It seems we’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t. 

Is it any surprise that a growing number of black families want out of traditional public schools?

A growing trend

About 2 million students are homeschooled in the United States. Estimates of black homeschoolers range from 5% to 10% of that total number, but black families are the fastest growing segment.

The reason?

According to expert Ama Mazama, it has to do with “racial protectionism,” a term she coined to highlight the inability of public schools to meet the needs of black children.

“We have all heard that the American education system is not the best and is falling behind in terms of international standards, but this is compounded for black children, who are treated as though they are not as intelligent and cannot perform as well, and therefore the standards for them should be lower,” she says.

Beyond racism and lower standards, some black parents want to design an educational experience for their children that address their social, emotional, nutritional, and academic needs so they become fully actualized people of color.

Samantha, a black parent in Brooklyn, New York explains in a YouTube interview (below) the draw for her to start a home school collaborative with other urban parents. 

“I really think homeschooling for people of color in America is the beginning of a huge solution. It will change so much. It changes who you are as an adult, how you see yourself, and how you move in it. I’m so excited for this to be a fast growing aspect of American culture.

She also offers another reason for homeschooling: “The surrounding public schools are just above atrocious.”

Indeed.