Interview with Rhody McCoy
QUESTION 29
LOUIS MASSIAH:

You know, when you first started talking about the roll of the parents, you said it was a real flowering, ah, and, ah, you were talking about going back to that time, how w-



LOUIS MASSIAH:

OK, what I wanted to get a sense of was the difference for the students between school as it was prior to Ocean Hill-Brownsville and then afterwards. And also what difference it was for the parents, what you saw about blossoming that you began to speak very highly of?

RHODY McCOY:

Ah, as I see it unfolding in front of me now, teachers, who are now parents, come to school sharp and dressed, committed to--

LOUIS MASSIAH:

OK, let's start again, the parents who are now teachers.

RHODY McCOY:

The parents who are now teachers came to school beautifully dressed and sharp and ready to take on and assume this professional manner. And now these youngsters who had previously seen 90 percent of their teachers White are now looking at their parents or the parents of their friends who are teaching. So, you already had a change in the learning atmosphere, that these youngsters now are awed by their parents and their parents friends or other adults in the community who they never saw as teachers, now see, not only the, the parents in the school but see them as teachers. And this new role model was just fantastic. Ah, as I said, no more hookie, no more truant-playing, everybody was coming to school. The parents took this seriously because when they were manning the classes at the beginning they began to see and understand that they had something to contribute, that they were just as capable of teaching their youngsters as the teachers were and with some guidance and some help from the professionals, bingo, they could do it. And so they got involved in all dimensions of teaching, the research, the program evaluations, the teacher evaluations. It was a phenomenal situation. Everybody was happy. Everybody was coming to school. And, even though we were in different schools, we came together regularly, not by mandate i.e. board meeting but out of common cause. We wanted to talk about libraries and how we could get libraries done. We'd talk about Black Studies programs. And we'd talk about not having, or the extended classroom, when we'd send youngsters down to the courts, et cetera. So the youngsters now see an entirely different educational arena. They weren't playing hookie. They weren't disruptive in class. Their parents were sitting there. Their parents were making them study. And they wanted to study. Their parents were there in the schools, where heretofore, you'd say, the parents are not in the school, they are now in the schools en mass.