Story by: Shaunese Johnson
In high school I can still remember the bland (useless) classes I had to endure that would contribute nothing to my future. However, thinking back, I remember the structure of a few of the classes. The history classes never taught about black history or even attempted to try and teach it. Even in the classes the teachers would only focus on certain students as if expecting others to fail. Going to a predominately African American public school, teachers seemed to create their own stereotypes of certain students. Teachers would be afraid to address African American students even if they were misbehaving. Of course me being the “quiet girl,” I “stood out,” to a few of my teachers who seemed surprised by my attentiveness.
Which brings me to the question are African Americans likely to receive an adequate education compared to white students? School has become limited for many students with its “one size fits all,” curriculum and standardized test. African Americans families have considered alternative forms of education for their children, in order to escape what they consider “white mainstream,” in the classroom. Ama Mazama an education consultant and professor at Temple University, interviewed several families who were considering home school. The main issue she found through her research is white mainstream feminism, or schools are only focusing on non-white women and their concerns. By home schooling families have a new perspective of trying to protect their children from the effects of retelling history, while being able to learn about their own culture.
Also schools fail to forget the social economic disadvantages some African American students who are constantly surrounded by poverty. These aspects not only have a financial burden but effect the achievement gap as well. Less than adequate housing, illiteracy, little technology, and no role models who value the importance of education can cause a great challenge in terms of graduating and wanting to continue their education. Not to mention living in poverty comes with being surrounded by violence, gangs, sex, gambling, fast money, and other distraction hindering children to receive an education.
With the mainstream media influences, lack of role models, and various parenting styles already can make it difficult for children to fully grasp their culture. They venture into an unknown classroom with an empty mind absorbing countless information. They are taught what is considered “right,” and what is “wrong,” The classroom continues to confine freedom in numerous aspects especially for African Americans. Teachers refuse to dictate the hardships African Americans face in the classroom and the obstacles they will face throughout life as well. They won’t dictate the inequality of African Americans in the workplace. School won’t teach financial burdens, house discrimination, obtaining scholarships as a minority, and family values.
Even though we no longer have “white only,” or “black only,” schools however segregation is still prominent and visible including the lack of education received in the community. In order for African Americans to truly thrive in the classroom, they have to take control of their education. Instead of being dictated by their teachers, self-education is the ultimate weapon.