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What is African Centered Education?

Most Often Asked Questions About
African Center Educations

Answers Submitted to the Kansas City Missouri School Board by
Their African Centered Education Task Force

Question 1. What does African Centered Mean?
African centeredness is the placement of African American people and students at the center of human process. This is based on the belief that all humans have their physical, social and intellectual origins in Africa.

Question 2. What is African Centered Education?
African Centered Education places the African American student at the center of the educational experience as a subject rather than an object. This placement of the student at the center allows for an inclusionary process which gives equal representation of all groups rather than one group over or below any other group.

Question 3. How does African Centered Education differ from Euro-centric Education?
With African Centered Education, the African American child is culturally placed at the center of the learning process, whereas with Euro-centric Education, they are culturally outside of the educational experience.

Question 4. What will my child learn?
African Centered Education is holistic, meaning that the student will be involved in cross discipline learning, meeting state core curriculum goals and guidelines, critical and creative thinking, self-concept development, character development and moral education.

Question 5. What does African Centered Mean?
The African Centered School Implementation plan would be a Kindergarten through 12th Grade articulation involving J.S. Chick and Ladd Elementary, M.L. King, Jr. Middle School and Southeast High School.

Question 6. Will teachers and staff be retrained?
Yes, an African Centered training model will be developed to assure that the instructional staff is competent in the delivery of African Centered Education as well as the core curriculum.

Question 7. How will parents be involved?
Parents will be essential to the success of the African Centered Schools. There is an African proverb that states: "It takes an entire village to raise just one child." Parents will be partners of the village and will work closely in the planning, decision-making, development and evaluation of the African Centered Education model. The parents will help to develop a Covenant of Excellency between the community and instructional staff.

Question 8. Why are some people against African Centered Education?
Because of misinformation and misunderstanding about, "What African Centered Education really is and what it is not."

Question 9. Will children learn more at an African Centered School?
Yes. The African American student will be exposed to a world-view experience that relates to all people, cultures, and traditions from the context of their reality which will enhance their own self esteem, positive self imaging and higher standard of educational excellence.

Question 10. Does African Centered Education teach racism?
No! Racism is a power relation where one group is able to deny other groups equity of power, based on the criteria of a superior race. African Centered Education is an inclusionary multicultural educational process with emphasis on the African American experience that teaches all people are equal.

Question 11. Why is African Centered Education needed?
Looking at the school system in America, Euro-centric education has failed to meet the needs of African American students. There is a gap existing between the test scores of black children and white children in the Kansas City, Missouri School District. Contributing to this gap are low expectations for African American students, the labeling number of African American boys being placed in special education and behavior disorder classes which places the students in an at-risk environment. Additionally, the high drop-out rate across the country within urban educational centers pinpoints the need for a more culturally appropriate education thrust.

Question 12. Will students just learn about "black stuff" or will they learn about other cultures and ethnic groups?
African Centered Education acknowledges the scientific fact that humanity began in Africa. Therefore, African Centered Education is an approach which celebrates the culture, heritage, contributions and traditions of all humans.

Question 13. What is Ma'at and the Nguzo Saba?
Ma'at is an ancient Kemetic concept. The Nguzo Saba is a term popularized by Dr. Maulana Karenga. As used by the Ancient Africans, Ma'at was a concept that stood for "universal order." Ma'at represents realty in all its manifestations both spiritual and material. It is the divine force that encompasses and embraces everything that is alive and exists. As an ethical system, Ma'at is often discussed as seven cardinal virtues (truth, justice, righteousness, harmony, balance, reciprocity, and order). As part of Karenga's Kawaida philosophy, the Nguzo Saba are seven principles (Umoja, Unity; Kujichagulia, Self-determination; Ujima, Cooperative Work and Responsibility; Ujamaa, Collective Economics; Nia, Purpose; Kuumba, Creativity; and Imani, Faith). The Nguzo Saba is most widely recognized in relation to the seven days of Kwanzaa.

Question 14. What is the difference between African Centered Education, African Studies and Afrocentricity?
Remember, African Centered Education is an educational experience, that utilizes African and African American cultural and intellectual traditions and processes in guiding the teaching and learning experience. It is both the philosophy and the practice which guides the process of teaching and learning. Afrocentricity is a special quality of thought and practice which is rooted in the cultural image and interest of people of African ancestry. It is a concept that guides the intellectual investigation and understanding of reality. African studies is simply the designation given to the body of studies primarily concerned with the experience of African people. It is an academic discipline like Political Science or Economics.

Question 15. Does the African emphasis on spirituality contradict, differ, or conflict with orthodox religion?
The short answer is no. The traditional African belief that everything is spirit does not differ from the foundation of orthodox religion. In fact the African belief in spirit allows for an appreciation and a respect for every religious tradition. Often, people confuse the African recognition that western religion was used to oppress and colonize African people with being against religion. One having a belief in African spirituality does not mean that one has to reject his/her religion. There is no conflict. To the contrary, it is probably because of the African's sense of spirit that African people are amongst the most religious people in the world.




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