Parent Advocacy Training

Nationwide Parent Advocacy Trainings to Launch on August 10

Series of Trainings Aims to Identify and Support African American Parent Leaders

COLUMBUS, OH, AUGUST 2, 2012 – Next week marks the official launch of a series of nationwide trainings aimed at creating a movement for change in the African American community that results in an improved and socially just quality of education for African American children with learning differences. The training is hosted by the National Association for the Education of African American Children with Learning Disabilities (AACLD) and is the result of a grant by the Oak Foundation to conduct advocacy trainings for African American parent leaders in 20 locations throughout the United States.

This inaugural symposium and training, Empowering Parents for African American Student Achievement (EPAASA), will be co-hosted by The Ohio State University Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity and held on campus at The Blackwell Inn and Conference Center on August 10-12. The disproportionate representation of African American children in special education has been one of the most critical and enduring problems in the field while minority children continue to suffer from the effects of over- and under-identification of a learning problem. The project goal is to provide parents, through parent leaders, with the tools and information they need to be able to improve educational outcomes for their children. Informed and knowledgeable parents can make a difference in whether or not a child achieves academic success. In the intimate setting provided, 42 parent leaders from 19 states, will attend as representatives of their communities to learn more from expert presenters about the challenges facing African American families with children struggling to learn and begin acquiring new skills to help parents within their own networks back home to improve educational outcomes for their children.

Program participants include Perry Williams, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education; Richard Gray, Director Community Organizing and Engagement, Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University; and Rahn Kennedy Bailey, Chair, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Meharry Medical College and President, National Medical Association. In addition to the training for parent leaders held in each of the selected sites, the AACLD has committed to educating communities about learning differences. Therefore, a free community briefing will be held on the evening of Friday, August 10. It is expected to attract large numbers of parents concerned about their children struggling in school as well as church, school, community, and corporate leaders and public officials. Program participants include Columbus City Schools Superintendent Gene T. Harris, among a host of other individuals who will participate on a panel and organizations that will provide resource materials for everyone in attendance. Future trainings and locations will be announced in the coming months.

For more information, contact Nancy R. Tidwell, AACLD Founder & President, at (614) 237-6021 or and visit

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