This week I talk with Jason Allen, an Atlanta-based teacher, blogger, and community advocate with a passionate drive to improve education for Black boys, as well as for increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. One of my goals for the podcast recently is to feature more perspectives and voices of the teachers who are in the trenches, working with our differently wired kids every day. I’m also aware that across the country, students of color are underserved and under-evaluated for gifted and accelerated programs while Black boys especially tend to be over-identified with learning disabilities. I believe so deeply that all differently wired kids should be able to thrive and feel supported, so when I came across Jason’s writing online recently, I knew right away I wanted to bring Jason on the podcast to talk about this issue and share his perspective as an educator.
In this discussion, Jason tells us about his experiences as a teacher and administrator over the past 15 years, how his own learning differences influence his teaching and approach to his students, as well as his insights for improving educational outcomes for differently wired Black students and Black boys in particular. This is an important topic within the differently wired community and deserves attention and understanding.
About Jason: Jason B. Allen has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger, and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. Jason is the Neighborhood Planning Unit K Chair, which works to build economic and community development in the city of Atlanta. He has worked in education servicing our students, families and communities in various positions in education and human development over the last 10 years. A major goal of his is to ensure that all youth have positive role models to emulate. Throughout his academic career, he has mentored many young, African-American males through his national mentoring program, BMWI (Black Men with Initiative), serving as the third national president.
He has also volunteered with several community organizations including the Darnell Senior Center of Fulton County, PAL (Police Athletic League), PTSA, Lillie’s Foundation, JoJo Martin Renal Disease Foundation and a longtime advocate with Dignity in Schools and other National Organizations for Educational Advancement.
He has served on Georgia’s PTA District 10 Male Involvement Committee and GaDOE Region 5 as parent coordinator. He has completed board certification through the Georgia Charter Schools Commission and holds a certification from the Georgia Leadership Academy Economic & Leadership Development. Embedding the spirit of service, Jason’s main goal is to simply help others along his life’s journey. He’s dedicated to servicing those in need, determined to do the right thing for the right reasons and dependable; living by his word being his bond. Jason blogs at EdLANTA and was a 2017 YouCAN Advocate, supporting his effort to build a family and community advocacy training program.
THINGS YOU’LL LEARN FROM THIS EPISODE:
- What Jason sees as some of the biggest challenges for Black students in traditional school settings, and for differently wired kids of color in particular
- Why Black boys tend to be overrepresented in special education programs
- What strategies Jason has found as a teacher and administrator to support his students with learning and attention issues
- What all educators should know about differently wired kids of color and what things schools can do differently to help them thrive
- What other systemic issues are contributing to poor outcomes for differently wired students of color
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