is African Centered Education?
Most Often Asked
African Center Educations
Answers Submitted to the Kansas City Missouri School Board
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
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
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