Quality Education has ALWAYS been the great equalizer to the social, political, economic injustices that Black people have faced in America. People of African descent, were forbidden from reading and writing…and for what?…for fear of revealing the truth of humanity. This is why I believe education of Black children has been compromised.
The dialogue about the quality of education provided to “disadvantaged children” or “at risk children” (code name Black children) is really about the failure of society to promote a just and equal society that provides an individual with the equal opportunity to be successful in America today. Success in America is not based on education! Success in America is based on the ability to manipulate and leverage the democratic system of individual progress and the acquisition of power to one’s advantage.
A quality education, however provides an individual with the insight into how power is exercised. Consequently, the under-education and/or the mis-education of our Black children deprives our children from understanding how the social, economic and political economic game is played and prevents the natural and spiritual evolvement of the most morally qualified people to lead our city and nation.
The history and legacy of Black America, and what we have always taught to our children is the moral imperative for justice and equality for all people. It is a concept of Divine Equality that originates from the continent of Africa, the birthplace of humanity. The origins of all major religions…all moral teachings come from African origins. Yet, our Black children are neglected in the basics of an American educational system that has systematically and historically failed children of African descent.
There are numerous and credible examples of how to educate Black children to learn according to the historical legacy of our culture. The current public education system has NO CLUE on how to accomplish this. For those in the Education Reform community we refer to this as at Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (teaching method that identifies with our culture). In lay-mans terms, we need to meet children where they are.
The following suggestions are based on raising Black children in LAUSD, the horrific results of Black student achievement in LAUSD, the realization of Black Flight from LAUSD public schools, and the hope for a revolution that changes how we educate our children.
First, Black children need to b recognized and acknowledged as the inheritors of the progenitors of humanity from the African Continent. As the first civilized people on the planet, credit must be given to the development of languages, sciences, mathematics, arts, astrology and religion.
Second, educators must be sensitized to the institutional racism and discrimination that has historically characterized Black children as intelligently unequal and unable to operate in positions reserved for non-white people.
Third, (and most important), Black parents must embrace our cultural heritage and implant it in our children the importance of education. Education always has been and always will be the primary focus of the Black family.
There has been the criticism that Black parents today are not as concerned about their child’s education as we once were. However, statistics show that Black families have overwhelmingly placed their children in charter schools, catholic schools and private education compared to public education, for the specific desire of receiving a quality education that has not been provided by the public education system.
Some may say that it is only those Black families that have the economic resources or educational background that seek a higher quality education for their children. The reality is that the Black community has ALWAYS placed a high value on education, regardless of our material resources or educational background. In fact, it is when we were legally denied educational opportunities that we excelled the most.
The reality is that Black people continue to believe that a quality education is the great equalizer to systemic discrimination. The question becomes, are we willing to demand that the training of teachers recognize of the inherit greatness of our children and provide a culturally relevant teaching that affirms the dignity of our children…our culture…and our Blackness?