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Education Philosophy

Nigel D. Jackson

            The children of Washington DC are suffering.  They are growing up in the nation’s capitol without the necessary tools for survival and victims of systemic depravity. The genesis of this problem is one deeply rooted in the African American experience. 


            Some of the 20th centuries foremost thinkers (Dr. W.E.B. Dubois, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) have all addressed the issue of education as being essential for the progress of African Americans.  Many dedicated men and women have created institutions designed to specifically educate Black youth.  Black history in America is inseparable from the effort to educate Black children in this setting of historical oppression and thwarted opportunity.  In the final analysis, the liberation of African Americans is dependent upon an effective education.  And the progress of society will be enhanced with improved education with curriculum and teaching styles germane to our children’s interests/needs and learning styles. The well-known concept and process of ‘miseducation’ was diagnosed by Dr. Carter G. Woodson in 1931 and continues to obstruct African American progress as an educated people.  His belief was that the source of the problem was in what African Americans were being taught. Dr. John H. Clarke, Dr. Marimba Ani, Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu and others have developed curriculums with alternative frameworks for the express purpose of tapping into the highest potential of the African American.  And so it is on the broad shoulders of these giants that educators, parents, and community members must continue working to reform the education system and implement quality schools/organizations/programs led by quality administrators/teachers. 


            A successful education plan involves many critical factors.  The vision of the program must integrate a thorough understanding of its population with mastery of effective methodologies to educate the children.  These concepts oft appear in alternative school charters, programmatic mission statements, and in graduate school classrooms full of future educators.  However, at some point, there is a collapse, as evidenced by the persistence of failing schools and test scores.  And specific to the African American child, this collapse not only means academic under performance, but the maintenance of a ‘slave mentality’ that was designed for continued dormancy and disengagement.  It is in the practical application where we see programs disintegrate, and these concepts remain mere catch phrases that mollify all, but help none.  Our program is designed to maximize the potential of the children as a whole by establishing a climate of high expectations, a milieu of good health and well being, and by creating a delivering a curriculum that meets the unique learning styles of our youth.


            According to scholars such as Na’im Akbar, the ancient function of education was to develop positive self images and discipline for the students of the educational system.  The belief that was held in those times of “greater illumination” was that the human being was born with all the tools of enlightenment at birth.  It was not assumed that vital knowledge had to be brought in from without, but rather as the word itself implies, it was ‘educed’ from within. This methodology was carried out by cultivated self esteem or positive self knowledge by encouraging an awareness of ones historical origins which offered insight into the potential of each individual by virtue of his Divine and genetic legacy.  Contemporary American society views education and self discovery as two separate entities, reserving one for the classroom and one for therapeutic counseling, even though the link between negative self image/esteem and poor academic performance is well documented.  In Ancient Egypt, the prevailing educational philosophy was that the positive self image emerged from the cultivation of self knowledge and that the application of the knowledge was manifested through self discipline.  They believed wholeheartedly that the most significant component of an educational system is to know oneself.  And so in strict adherence to the educational philosophy proven so effectual in Ancient Egypt, education in Washington DC can be enhanced by emphasizing the study and knowledge of oneself.  The enduring deficiency in the education of African Americans demands a change in how educational services are delivered. Through DC’s public charter schools, there exists a forum to address this deficiency

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            African American youth attending school in Washington DC today are not only being ‘miseducated’, but actually de-educated insofar as they are being “systemically excluded from the educational system and/or being systematically destroyed within that system.”  Educating African American children is an issue of great complexity and magnitude and requires sound, innovative, and comprehensive approaches to tack the numerous dimensions of this challenge.             

 

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1629 K Street NW, Suite 300 Washington DC 20006 Phone: 202 349 1694 Fax: 202 331 3759

Anthony McAllister , CEO

Moses McAllister, COO

Nigel Jackson, Clinical Director

Michelle Robinson, Reimbursement Analyst