|I recently considered returning to college to complete a degree in education
to assist young African (Black) students in reaching new heights previously
unconsidered. So far I've come up with the following list of nine ideas to
improve our learning and overall performance: |
These and other ideas would be useful in retaining and developing young minds
currently apathetic and rebellious to the steady diet of low expectations,
misconceptions, distortions, and lies. Our goal should be to draw out, as
education is supposed to do, the hidden, natural talents, interests, thinking
and energy of all African children. We must elevate the status of our people
by viewing our ideas, expressions, and flair as equal, if not superior, to
current European standards. All too common, one hears people should study
Shakespeare without recognizing August Wilson, Mozart but not Dizzy
Gillepsie, Mark Twain but not Richard Wright, classical but not hip hop,
Greece but not Ghana, Patrick Henry but not Harriet Tubman, or Rosa Parks
etc. We must view ourselves as equals in this universe capable of surpassing
current and "classical" benchmarks. We need the consistency and diversity
equal to Edwin Moses, who won 122 consecutive 400m hurdle races over 10 years
and earned a BS in physics, Masters in Business Administration in Business
Management, and is currently a financial consultant managing investments for
- Recruit African male instructors from two sources: students in K-12 and
the military as they re-enter civilian life in their 20s and 30s.
- Post and enforce classroom rules for students to abide by.
- Solicit parents and students complaints and suggestions for review,
discussion and implementation.
- Form mock trials for students on school, local, national and international
cases and issues with students acting as lawyers, judges, jurors, bailiffs,
press and spectators.
- Assign two instructors or teacher aides (high school graduates, elderly or
disabled interested in volunteering) to as many classrooms as possible on a
rotating basis. They would handle the additional responsibility of teaching
anthropology, logic, rhetoric, philosophy, foreign languages, economics,
politics and other subjects from elementary through senior high, subjects
normally reserved for college or "gifted and talented" students.
- Establish a curriculum founded on truth, illuminating the past
achievements of the entire African Diaspora throughout history, for example
highlighting similarities between America's legal system and Egypt's,
established over 4000 years ago. Inform them that Alkebu-lan (Africa), the
continent where humanity originated, gave the world astronomy, mathematics,
science, writing, paper, schools, medicine, politics, philosophy, economics,
engineering, architecture, irrigation, art etc., and is currently battling
AIDS, hunger, civil war and other troubles.
- Establish African History Month to reconnect to the continent from which
mankind originated over 3.5 MILLION YEARS AGO.
- Infuse proverbs, foods, clothes, culture, rulers, inventions, thinking,
philosophy, literature, cosmology, languages and worldviews from the entire
African Diaspora's perspective throughout the school curriculum.
- Require all students introduce themselves by their full name '... by way
of "mother & father"' demanding that absent mothers and fathers be recognized
for the scholars present.
All our people possess natural gifts in both athletics and music but a host
of other fields have been overshadowed by our success in these two. I often
hear that our youth play basketball in great abundance because of its low
cost supplies and easy access, however I never hear of any excess of white
students in journalism due to the low cost of pen and paper and its easy
accessibility. Not to mention the same has been said of youngsters who desire
to express themselves through hip hop by emceeing but never the same of rock
or the current surge of country artists. Programs like the NAACP's ACT-SO
help to encourage young scientific, mathematical and artistic minds for our
community's betterment. More Africans attend college than ever yet
mainstream outlets focus incessantly on the areas needing improvement. We
must stop and think before we accept anyone's explanation for our behavior,
even from our own people who many times do not figure out nor invoke their
intuition into concluding such matters.
Teachers and students need to voice their intuitions to balance the
over-dependence on memorizing data as the highest indicator of
"intelligence." Students should be considered 'bright,' independent of how
swiftly they arrive at the solution since we all know family members,
friends, and acquaintances who find the wisdom of responsible bill paying,
prayer, filing taxes, and the weighing of one's words at radically different
times in life. In other words like legendary composer DJ Marley Marl said,
"I don't care who's first or who's last, but I know that y'all just better
rock this at the drop of a dime baby!"
There should be a greater focus on developing global people, more so than a
global economy that incidentally drives the society based on many practices,
models, patterns, ideas, mores and norms established through their formal
education. People are a product of their schooling be it through their
homes, friends, schools, clubs, gangs, televisions, movies, radio, books,
sports, etc. The universal and practical approach to life that is indigenous
to Africans is a valid outlook that needs to be woven into the public school
system. The understanding that what is done individually, reverberates
eternally through all humanity should be incorporated in the formal education
process. African (Black) people's innate ability to 'read' people should be
viewed as a scientific analytical principle. This 'talent' would be of
extreme value for psychologists in search of honest characterizations from
their clients as opposed to the guessing game based on outdated models.
The resolve of African (Black) people to have survived and succeeded
following history's only global persecution of every aspect of a people based
solely upon their birthright, needs to be held as a first and studied
intensively. The infamous 'chattel slavery' firstly and lastly legalized and
practiced by Europeans and European-Americans, was based on the European idea
of permanent 'classes' or 'stations' in life, a pernicious idea in feudal
Europe. In Europe one born a peasant remained such in the society's eyes
regardless of their individual qualities, abilities, successes, thoughts etc.
This way of thinking has not died out and holds sway in many school systems,
illustrated by the low expectations many teachers have of African students.
Education should free one's mind to question ideas to form their own opinions
regardless of the current theories, as history demonstrates new hypotheses
soon overtake long-held beliefs. Students should be encouraged to follow
ideas not things, people or the things people do as we are all equally valid
regardless of our achievements and failures. They should be encouraged to
brave ridicule, isolation, and misunderstanding as we all have been
mis-understood by one another.
Students should be required to account for their behavior, positive or
negative, and be able to articulate their viewpoint of an issue verbally and
written. Many students become automated beings, operating mechanically with
little thought of the cause and effect of their tasks. Oftentimes students
fall in the habit of memorizing facts for test questions with little
recollection or understanding of the individual facts or the subject matter
These changes will undoubtedly change society on a whole, nurturing tolerance
of opposing views once a variety of solutions are presented along with
accompanying steps of enlightenment. A lot of 'problems' in America are
based on past concepts that need inspection and validation for today's world.
Instead of mimicking the past shouldn't we be highlighting and improving upon
the fundamental principles upon which were founded economic, religious,
educational, political, ideological thought?
I am confident that to elevate our youth's performance we must, can and will
recognize and validate their passions, ideas, and modes of expression as
legitimate, not dysfunctional, progressive not backwards, evolving not
retarded, nor inferior. I am honestly interested in building a true,
curriculum for our students that includes our past and present achievements
and failures for the future of the world depends on them.
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