Education and Community

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by  Stanley Kinard

African Spirituality to Mend
a Failed School System
September 8, 2003, will start the first full year of the newly organized school system marked by unprecedented systemic change. There is no longer a central Board of Education, District offices have been eliminated and 110 Livingston Street has been sold.  Community School Boards are more or less defunct.
There is greater confusion as this school year begins than at any time in recent memory. The majority of black educators are angry, yet afraid to speak out against the new system, as our children are being subjected to a dictated curriculum that we have had no part in; designing additional classes are overcrowded and there remains a shortage of teachers.  Parents are confused, left to scratch their heads about where to go with issues regarding transfers and other pertinent questions regarding the education of their children.
Bloomberg is in charge and we no longer have control over our schools.  To be fair and objective, for the past 30 years when we did have some semblance of control of local schools, our community failed miserably to adequately educate Black children. Principals, politicians, parents, paraprofessionals, preachers and teachers must all share in the blame for this failure. Further blame can also be attributed to both the African Nationalists and civil rights leadership who failed to make education a priority. Historically, we have always faced White racist opposition to the education of Black kids. At one point, it was illegal for African children to read or write, then separate inferior schools were legal until Brown v. Topeka Board of Education changed the law in 1954. However, in 2003, we still have separate and unequal schools where our children continue to be miseducated.
Assigning blame for this problem does little, however, to change the current situation. The Bloomberg-Klein agenda for control of schools is in full effect as predicted.  It is not an agenda for African liberation; it is not inclusive or supportive of African-centered learning. While there are some positive attributes, Mayor Bloomberg is not the Messiah who will lead us to the Promised Land. As a matter of fact, if you look around we are losing land, resources and our schools under this administration. Our children are in crisis and awaiting our coming to their rescue. We cannot continue to lose them to drugs, disease, sex, violence, miseducation, MTV and BET.
At this time, my spirit has directed me to embrace a spiritual solution to this crisis, as all else has failed. Spiritual leaders, those with sight and vision, must now take their proper place in leading a crusade to educate African children. It is now time to rely on the one thing that has sustained us as a people throughout our history – Our Spirituality. God was with Harriet Tubman (called Black Moses) during the Underground Railroad. Nat Turner had a vision from God which led to his organizing a slave insurrection, Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream and was God-filled, and Malcolm stood before us as a spiritually transformed man. We have certainly come this far by Faith, leaning on the Lord. The next major movement for the education of our children must be spiritually based. We will be victorious, when we affirm that GOD not Bloomberg or Bush is still on the throne. Approaching education from that perspective, Bloomberg can’t possibly be in charge.  We must educate our own children. Remember: God is Good All of the Time and All of the Time God is Good. Maferefun Olodumare.