Learn as much as you can, as long as you can, from whomever you can, wherever you can. Therein lies one’s access to power and the key to prominence.
Education starts in the womb. Mothers are the first teachers. The quality of women and girls’ education is paramount to the furtherance of a society.
According to Dr. Carter G. Woodson in the Mis-Education of the Negro, “The most imperative and crucial element in Woodson's concept of mis-education hinged on the education system’s failure to present authentic Negro History in schools and the bitter knowledge that there was a scarcity of literature available for such a purpose, because most history books gave little or no space to the black man's presence in America.” It has been demonstrated moreover that it was never the intent of the majority community to teach anything other than a Western-based, colonial-conqueror centered education. Most curriculums from coast to coast are built around the maintenance of the status quo and supremacy.
In order to overcome our fundamental educational disparities, local school autonomy must rest with the community. Education must continue to be free. It must start in the mother’s womb and be reinforced in households. Education must be considered as the lifeblood of a people. It can light up the darkest most desolate places of our lives. Education is one of the most potent weapons that can be used against an oppressor. Education can pull one out of poverty and lead to economic prominence. Education can shape one’s worldview and deconstruct ignorance. Education can create social justice and break down walls of bigotry. Education can fortify a family and cultivate a community. Education will employ political power if a people seek it wholeheartedly.
So, lets send out a mandate.
We must require elected official leaders to take a litmus test on their involvement, advancement, and improvement of educating people of color.
We must take preventative measures that ensure our children are fully equipped to learn prior to reaching the schoolhouse door.
We must supplement the school’s curriculum in our households in the area of cultural studies.
We must seek out and sustain resources that promote literacy.
We must turn off the television, come off the computer, and open a book.
We must directly lobby our elected officials to allocate funding to our schools and students.
We (parents) must be willing to ask for help understanding the curriculum and our children’s homework.
We must realize that the status of black education is a 400-year long problem and there are no quick fixes or magic bullets.
We must address our attitudes about education within our families and promote educational advancement.
We must recognize that grades are not the beginning and ending our destiny. It is simply an indicator of effort.
We must know that K-12 and post-secondary educational attainment is one of the best things that we may seek; and that our children cannot simply go to college but must graduate.
We must create a comprehensive plan to deal with issues surrounding mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery if a crisis hits our schools (i.e.-fights, bomb, threats, and school shootings).
We must take ownership and accountability of our schools and their success.
We must recognize that there is emotional pain and trauma attached to the plight of the undereducated.
We must get on the committees that write the tests and the curriculum.
We must become lifelong learners and students of history.
We must know that we are in a global competition.
We must recognize that there is a linkage between educational advancement and social mobility.
We must learn to be entrepreneurs first and other people’s laborers second.
We must be better stewards of our finances so we can direct our dollars on maintaining our communities.
We must learn to love and lead in our households, our street corners, our blocks, our neighborhoods, our communities, our cities, our states, and our nation.
We must seek to be the dream that our foremothers and forefathers wished for and procreate generations that are the definition of excellence.
Educational attainment is mandatory. It is going to take more than a high school diploma to have a decent quality of life in this country. Education is the fastest way to pull oneself up the socioeconomic ladder. College is for everyone that seeks socioeconomic mobility. College is for everyone that wants quality of life and longevity of life. College is for everyone that desires to shatter glass ceilings. College is the intersection of the greatest minds and leaders of any field of expertise. Upon completion of a degree, one will gain access and opportunity which lands in the middle class. We must encourage members of our family and friends to take courses at a local community college and historically black colleges and universities that resonate with a career path the she or he seeks to pursue.
We are more than able to overcome the crisis in black education. It is a race that must be won. We will have to pace ourselves in order to stay the course. We will get tired. We may even lose some runners. We have to plan our race and train. We will have to outperform sprinters that have lapped us for centuries. We will have to position ourselves with runners that share our goal and are willing to cross the finish line with is.
Despite it all, we will win.
We will win.
We will win.