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 held August 10-12 on the campus of The Ohio State University co-hosted by the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity and the Todd A. Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male.

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 and open community briefing will be held on Friday evening, August 10 at the King Lincoln Theatre, 769 E. Long Street, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. 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


The AACLD ( was organized on the Martin Luther King Holiday in 2000 to increase awareness in African American communities nationwide about learning differences and to promote parent advocacy. It links information and resources provided by an established network of individuals and organizations experienced in minority research and special education with parents, educators, and others responsible for providing an appropriate education for students, specifically African American, although any new programs and practices implemented to benefit one child will ultimately benefit all children.