Education is without a doubt crucial to the success of our students to compete for jobs.
Quality education that enforces and reinforces math, science, writing, and cognitive thinking will separate those who desire a prosperous future from those who are simply content with getting by.
With so many people wanting our children to get a good education, the African American community must never overlook nor neglect the importance of their history. That’s right; history that deals with more than slavery within as well as outside of the United States. Whenever an educational system fails to place a value on history, far too many of our students are deemed to make mistakes.
As a strong proponent for education, I came across a program in New York called the International Youth Leadership Institute (IYLI). In particular, I was drawn to the areas in which this institute instills in their students: history, culture, geography, and environment.
These areas of concentration along with leadership developmental skills assist in educating (not training) our African American students to succeed. (I use the word “educate” because it comes from the Latin word, “educo,” meaning to “educe” – to “draw out”). If a system fails to “draw out,” then it’s simply training our students to conform to a system.
Dr. Michael Webb, one of the founders of IYLI contends that African-Americans must understand the following:
The effects of enslavement and its aftermath directly affect our communities today in terms of unity, value, cooperation, and self-help; There must a method of unlearning systems that have failed our children, who are victims of residual effects; An analytical approach has to be implemented as to why things are the way they are; Resources around us need to be used to bring about intellectual and cultural freedom.
A story reported in U.S. News and & World Report (Jan. 2015) stated, “Educational expectations are lower for Black children, according to Child Trends, a non-profit and non-partisan research center that tracks data about children. Black parents, most of whom are less educated than their White counterparts, don’t expect their children to attain as much education as White parents expect.
“Lower expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies, contributing to lower expectations from the student, less-positive attitudes toward school, fewer out-of-school learning opportunities and less parent-child communication about school.”
For so long, many of our children have been brainwashed into thinking education and intelligence is “a White thing.” This lie has done more damage and continues to have a rippling effect on the progress of our children. No longer must this lie continue.
Demand the best
The challenge here is for every Black parent to demand the best from the school system. In addition to that, every Black parent must challenge the system as well as their child to excel in education. Idleness and mediocrity cannot be accepted in any way, shape, or form. When education is valued, lives change which leads to communities changing.
Dr. Sinclair Grey III is a speaker, writer, author, life coach and radio/television and talk show host. Contact him at www.sinclairgrey.org.