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NAS Not A Statistic

NAS (Not A Statistic) is a program designed to target the issues of the Achievement Gap. The program can be done through after school meetings, as an alternative for summer school, as a pull-out program during the school day or a combination.

Despite the perceived success of our nation’s students via standardized testing, one key demographic is not keeping pace—minorities, primarily Hispanic and black males. The NAS program intends to focus on black males for reasons beyond the Achievement Gap including the startling statistics of high incarceration rates, as well as a focus on local black history that is often glossed over in our schools.

Florida statute 1003.42 Requires instruction in “the history of African Americans, including the history of African peoples before the political conflicts that led to the development of slavery, the passage to America, the enslavement experience, abolition, and the contributions of African Americans to society.”

Although we likely cover enough to meet this requirement in our history classes and during Black History Month, we are certainly not designating many courses for students to truly immerse in their own history. I was born, raised, and taught school in Brevard County. Our County complex is called the Harry Moore Center but it wasn’t until several years ago, on my own searching, that I found out who Harry Moore was. 

Harry and his wife Harriette were civil rights activists—he a member and organizer for the NAACP. They were responsible for huge increases in African American voter registration across Central Florida and both were honored educators who were fired for their political activity.  They made a huge impact in the movement before it became an official movement. Harry investigated lynching throughout Florida and was likely murdered because of once such investigation—the Groveland Massacre.  

Harry and Harriette Moore were killed on Christmas Day, 1951. A bomb was placed under the floors of their home directly under their bed. Harry died on the way to the hospital and Harriette died nine days later.  

Since I learned about the Moore’s I have been curious to know how many students are aware of their story and how many adults know as well. I ask often but I am rarely met with someone familiar with this local connection to our National history. Even more disturbing is the number of African American students who have never heard of him. We live 30 miles from where their house once stood.   

This prompted me to research more Florida history in relation to African Americans and there are so many stories that our students do not know. NAS is designed to work with the students to discover, uncover, and enrich their understanding of the local history. Through this relevant curriculum and targeted demographics we expect students to excel. Out of the 10-15 admitted to the program, we hope for a minimum of 3-4 to become leaders and organizers of a group to continue to share these stories through workshops and presentations at schools, conferences, and in the community.  

Please follow this blog as we detail the making of this program. Through the combined efforts of students and teachers working together for a common goal, we hope to create a program that can be replicated throughout the state, maybe the country.

To read more about Harry and Harriette Moore click here.

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