By: Krystle Crossman
It is no secret that black youth are not getting the education that they need in schools that are not afro-centric. When they are placed in schools that meet their cultural needs as well as their educational needs however they are thriving. An education professor from Northwestern University named Carol Lee started a charter school called the Betty Shabazz Charter School. Each day the students (who are all African-American) begin with a fact about black history, a message that teaches them about having respect for their elders, and a pledge of pride.
Lee states that students do not do well in regular schools because they are faced with racism every day and stereotypes that they must overcome. These barriers are not helping their education at all as they lose focus. Lee also says that people claim that the all-black schools are another form of racism and that they need to look at it from another point of view. Culturally mixed schools do not give the proper attention to each culture that is in attendance at the schools. Everything becomes lumped together and those with a different culture do not get to learn much about their history.
Chicago is home to a few African-centered schools and they have seen a marked improvement in the students’ performance as opposed to being in a traditional public school. When the students do not have to deal with racism and stereotypes they are able to concentrate more on their studies as opposed to concentrating on figuring out how to belong. It may seem wrong to develop schools that are only made for one culture, but that is because people aren’t looking at it from the perspective of the students who are underperforming in schools.
The goal of these schools is not to block other races and cultures from learning with black students but to strengthen the black community. They aim to send these students off into the world with respect, dignity, and a bright future. Unfortunately this is not what happens for many black students in traditional public schools. The students are taught by black teachers and are able to have role models that have gone through the same things that they are going through and know of the same struggles.