Creating Multi-Generational Change in Education for Children of Color
“Education is a tool, its power,” Jordan says. “Once you receive your education, no one can ever take that away from you,” she added.
Jordan hopes she has been able to make a difference for the young children in Family Service Association’s “Multiply Your Future” program through math tutoring. The program is supported by United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County’s “Multiply Success” initiative.
“Multiply Success” provides academic resources to children of color in our community, focusing on grades fourth through ninth with a goal of improving eighth-grade math proficiency with Black children.
Jordan says that being a tutor for other students of color and helping them thrive in their learning has been an amazing experience that she looks back on regularly as she studies during the semester. “To help other children that look like me, that sound like me, get into their education and be passionate about it, that means the world to me,” Jordan says.
Data from the Texas Education Agency shows that in 2021, eighth-grade scores on the STAAR math assessment declined significantly for Black and Latino children in San Antonio compared to 2015 scores. STAAR math assessment scores fell from an average of 66% in 2015 to 39% in 2021 for Black students and fell from 67% in 2015 to 43% in 2021 for Latino children.
A Sophomore studying environmental science with a concentration in policy, Jordan is driven by her desire to remove barriers to education for other children of color. Her long-term career goal is to start her own nonprofit to provide resources to children of color so they can become advocates for environmentalism and help fight environmental racism.
Growing up as one of five children, Jordan says her mother instilled the importance of education into her and her siblings. “My mom is a big reason why I take education very, very seriously,” Jordan says. “From a very young age, she instilled in us that education and knowledge is power. She made it a priority for us to know that education was not just at school but also at home.”
When Jordan was the age of the young children she tutored, who range from nine to 14-years-old, there were no outside resources like “Multiply Success” to help children continue their education outside of the classroom. “I honestly think the reason why I am where I am today is because of my teachers. They were people who loved their students and created one-on-one bonds. They made sure to know what my weaknesses were and what my strengths were.”
Due to a lack of tutors in her schools growing up, Jordan says that her classes would often have the students tutor each other. Students with strengths in certain subjects would tutor students who had weaknesses in those subjects and so on. “We didn’t have any outside organizations come in,” she says.
“Being a tutor puts a smile on my face. Seeing them enjoying what they’re doing, makes my little heart happy,” Jordan added. “I remember being in their position.”
Jordan recalls helping a particular young girl with her math skills as a tutor. Challenged by learning strictly by practicing math with pen and paper, Jordan assisted her by having the two arrange physical blocks to explain the questions. Over time, the tutoring worked as the student started to make connections to the math problems on her assignments after approaching the task from a different angle. “To be able to see her engage with something that was actually in front of her, rather than on a piece of paper, to see her smile when she understands it and when she actually starts to get it, it was really exciting for both of us,” Jordan said.
United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County’s “Multiply Success” initiative is funded by Corporate Partners for Racial Equity (CPRE), (CPRE), a partnership between San Antonio area business leaders with the mission of improving racial equity in our community. “Multiply Success” was chosen to receive funding by CPRE and this investment continues to make a difference for children in San Antonio by addressing racial equity disparities in education.
Jordan is extremely grateful to CPRE and United Way for making programs like those included in “Multiply Success” possible and being part of this mission is something she is proud of.
“Too many children of color are suffering from economic issues within their household,” she says. Jordan says providing comfort to children who are struggling is one of the reasons she is proud of having been a “Multiply Success” tutor. “To see how many of them are struggling but they come into school with a smile on their face, to be that person who can comfort them when they are struggling, that’s another part,” Jordan added.
“Multiply Success” is part of United Way’s Successful Students Impact Area, which supports community services that provide stable, resource-rich learning environments to students. The Successful Students Impact Area strives to increase math proficiency, improve reading proficiency, promote the importance of school attendance and re-engage opportunity youth (ages 16-24) in education or the workplace. By doing so all students in San Antonio will have access to a quality education that will give them the tools they need to reach their full potential.
“If I am teaching them the importance of education, imagine they things they can do, the leaders they can become and the lives they will change,” Jordan said.
Jordan is thriving in her undergrad studies today due to the support she received when she was younger and is creating a multi-generational impact by tutoring young children of color so that they can succeed like she does later in their lives.