On Tuesday, November 9, 2010, CBS published on its web site an article titled, “Shocking School Achievement Gap for Black Males.” The author Bill Whitaker discussed the details of a new study showing that African American male students “languish at the bottom of every educational category.” Painful statistics were presented displaying the low performance of black males at multiple educational levels. When compared to that of white males, their aptitude level was depressing. It was stated that, "Researchers call these dismal numbers a call to action for scholars across the country to study this problem and come up with real solutions."
Surprisingly, one Chicago school seems to have found a way to get teenage African American males to excel in academics. In June of this year Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men had its first graduating class of 107 seniors get accepted to college. The school was opened as an experiment to cater to the scholastic needs of African American boys in Englewood, one of Chicago’s roughest neighborhoods. The students at the school predominantly come from economically disadvantaged households but have performed exceptionally well in this unique academic environment. “Urban Prep's mission is to provide a comprehensive, high-quality college preparatory education to young men that results in graduates succeeding in college.” The school has three campuses, Englewood, East Garfield Park and South Shore which were respectively opened in 2006, 2009 and 2010. Urban Prep’s success this year is reaffirmation that African people can rise again if the right circumstances are facilitated.
Sadly, there just aren’t enough Urban Prep’s all around the nation and it is still uncertain if it will stand the test of time. It is thus important to look at the deficiencies in the current education system by comparing it to that which existed in Africa before its many societies were interrupted. When we look at the education system of ancient Kemet, you will find that it is the foundation of western education. Within the walls of its many temples students were educated in areas such as “(1) Mystery Teachers of Heaven (Astronomy and astrology); (2) Mystery Teachers of All Lands (geography); (3) Mystery Teachers of the Depths (geology); (4) Mystery Teachers of the Secret Word (philosophy and theology); and (5) Mystery of Pharaoh and Mystery Teachers who examined words (law and communication).” In addition, the Kemites had simple and practical ways of calculating advance math problems without the use of a multiplication table. This method is known as Relational Mathematics and Jabari Osaze does a phenomenal job explaining the concept in his lecture titled, “Echoes of the Ancient Mind.” Dr. Yosef Ben-Jochannan also discusses this mathematical method in “Black Man of the Nile.”
Kemetic education was a system focused on wholistically developing and transforming the pupil into a God-like being. It was a combination of theory and practice which fostered progressive growth through successive stages. This education system had open admission for all students which meant that the king’s child and the pauper’s child were subject to the same rigorous training. Their education system truly left no child behind because they believed everyone was a reflection of the creator and thus all are destined to serve a higher purpose. Students began their formal education by training as scribes where from the outset they were exposed to copying serious text of the mdw ntr which detailed the nation’s great historical and spiritual tradition. Challenging and development of the mind was imperative for the Kemites. Dr. Na’im Akbar presents this information in a lecture titled, “Ancient Kemetic Science of the Mind.”
This tradition of human development for the benefit of the individual and the society prevailed throughout Kemetic history as well as other African nations up to the pre-colonial era. In “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa,” Walter Rodney states the following about Africa’s educational system, “The following features of indigenous African education can be considered outstanding: its close links with social life, both in a material and spiritual sense; its collective nature; its many-sidedness; and its progressive development in conformity with the successive stages of physical, emotional, and mental development of the child. There was no separation of education and productive activity or any division between manual and intellectual education. Altogether, through mainly informal means, pre-colonial African education matched the realities of pre colonial African society and produced well-rounded personalities to fit into that society.”
With all this information on the table, we can now see what important elements Africans in America are missing in the current education system. They are not being wholistically developed, not being given skills that benefit them or their communities and not being taught history and theology to which they can relate. In an interview with Listervelt Middleton, Dr. Asa G. Hilliard states, “If we always read the history of someone else, we will become psychologically imbalanced.” This is all a fall out of the destruction of black civilization and the historical amnesia from which the African population suffers. It is thus urgent that an education system be created that can provide the type of development to resurrect the excellence of African people. This is a responsibility which must be taken up by African people themselves because no one else will do it for them. It is dire that this is done to restore the balance of Ma’at to the world. An ancient Kemitic proverb states, “Social good is what brings peace to family and society.” An empowering education system is a social good that no civilization can live without if it hopes to achieve higher levels of development and greatness. Thank you for reading.
Shocking School Achievement Gap for Black Males: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/11/09/eveningnews/main7038804.shtml
100 percent of school's first class college-bound: http://www.urbanprep.org/media/apArticle_June2010.pdf
Rodney, Walter, “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa,” Howard University Press, 1982
Van Sertima, Ivan, “Egypt: Child of Africa,” Journal of African Civilizations, 1994
Ancient Kemet Science of The Mind: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToqxoWXLdBE
Free your mind, return to the source, African Origins: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhenAPlY4Ek