Students at Nguzo Saba are gearing up to tell the story of the school using a $125,000 federal grant designed to allow charter schools to share the their highlights with the public and other educators.Charter schools often use the money to publish a book or pay for workshops. But Geuka said he wants his students to tell the story in their own ways — through song, rap, dance, plays and stepping.”Children of African descent often learn affectively,” Geuka said. “You go to a black church, and they’re not just sitting there. They’re tapping their feet, talking back to the preacher.”
This article is based on the NAACP report, Unlocking Opportunity For African American Girls: A Call to Action for Educational Equity. One premise that has held true since the 1960’s, is that the quality of teaching usurps all other factors in a child’s life. “One growing body of research shows that student achievement is more heavily influenced by teacher quality than by students’ race, class, prior academic record, or a school a student attends. This is especially true for students from low-income families and African American students. The benefits associated with being taught by good teachers are cumulative.”
The report, Unlocking Opportunity for African American Girls: A Call to Action for Educational Equity, outlines what are sometimes insurmountable barriers to staying in school and how poor educational outcomes result in limited job opportunities, lower lifetime earnings, and increased risk of economic insecurity for African American women. In 2013, 43 percent of African American women without a high school diploma were living in poverty, compared to nine percent of African American women with at least a bachelor’s degree. The report examines roadblocks faced by both African American girls and boys—such as under-resourced schools—and emphasizes those that have a distinct impact on African American girls due to the intersection of gender and race stereotypes. These barriers include lack of access to college-and career-preparatory curricula in schools; limited access to athletics and other extracurricular activities; disproportionate and overly punitive disciplinary practices that exclude them from school for minor and subjective infractions, such as dress code violations and wearing natural hairstyles; discrimination against pregnant and parenting students; and pervasive sexual harassment and violence.
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Scholars interested in this book may also want to research the 1960s and 70s NY policy; “live in your work community,” where NY police and teachers are still given incentives on home purchases and other amenities within the inner city communities where they are employed. This was hoped to address the timely complaint by African American community leaders that African American communities should be served by teachers and police officers of their culture. It was partially successful. Also, look up the JDL response through Brooklyn’s Union College. This is one history, Dana Goldstein would not, could not dare include in Her history. Interesting story regardless.
What surprised you most about the history of race and education?One of the really big things that surprised me was that the roots of this “no excuses” reform ideology that is so popular today was actually in black educational theories and ideas dating back to the 19th century. We often mischaracterize those movements today as something that white people are imposing on communities of color. Yet what I found is that in the ideas of Anna Julia Cooper, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois—figures who disagreed with each other on a lot of things and had a fertile debate—[valued] “no excuses,” strict discipline and academic rigor. Those things were, to a certain extent, areas of agreement among black educational leaders.You can quite easily trace how the founders of the “no excuses” movement, for example the founders of the KIPP network of charter schools, Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin [who are both white], were explicitly influenced by a female black teacher who they observed using these “no excuses” strategies. And there is a translation process that happens there, where this set of ideas of was mostly being used by teachers of color with children of color. Now a multi-racial group of teachers is using these strategies. When someone from your community says to you, “Look, there are no excuses,” that is very different from when someone from outside your community is telling you “no excuses.” Although these are very old ideas, what they mean in practice today is has changed.
via ‘The Teacher Wars’ Author Talks Race and Gender in American Education – COLORLINES.