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KEYNOTE: Moving Beyond Grit & Resilience: Lowering the Achievement Tax on Students without Lowering Achievement
From an educator focused on the advancement of youth of color, this talk will spotlight the research Dr. Cole built around the Black Achievement Trauma Tax that high achieving Black males often face. The Black Achievement Trauma Tax is the phenomenon that occurs when Black males—who grew up in poverty and were exposed to high volumes of trauma successfully navigated education, but failed to actively address their traumas along the way—pay a greater social-emotional price even after achieving at the highest levels of success. This research applies to urban education today by ensuring that students still achieve academically at a high level while lowering the chance they leave the public school system emotionally broken.
This talk was presented at:
2020 National ESEA Conference
February 2020 in Atlanta, GA
Charles Cole, III

Dr. Charles Cole, III is an educator focused on the advancement of youth of color, but more specifically Black males. This passion comes from his experiences growing up without proper support, including being homeless and attending more than ten elementary schools across the country while his parents battled addiction and incarceration. Throughout that experience, no adult, no group, no organization ever asked him how he was achieving success nor how he was surviving. Schools were not a place where students in similar predicaments were learning. As founder of Energy Convertors, Charles comes from the community and has shared many of the students’ experiences. Previously Charles served as a social worker, a Director for Teach for America, the Vice Chair of the California Young Democrats, Black Caucus and at a director’s level with various youth-focused nonprofits. Charles is a national speaker and a writer, and he can be found in Oakland and around the country working with youth on how to equip themselves appropriately to lay the groundwork for a bright future. Charles is currently an Entrepreneur-in-Residence focusing on building student navigation skills and voice in education for his burgeoning organization, Energy Convertors. Charles’ life goal is to better the communities he grew up in, which include Chicago, Paducah, KY, and Oakland.