What We Need To Teach Black Children In the New Millenium


I am blessed to have received a great education. Maybe it was a time in U.S. history when educating our nation’s children was a priority, but I don’t feel anything was lacking in what I was taught. I distinctly remember my education beginning in kindergarten—and not just in name only. I was able to use my head as well as my hands, and was prepared for grade advancement. I fear my daughter may not have the same experience of school as I did, despite us doing our best to find her an educational home.

My baby girl enters kindergarten this fall. After an exhaustive search, my wife and I decided on a school that (while costing a Midwest mortgage) mirrors our values: strong academics, family involvement, experiential learning, respect for a child’s learning style, second-language acquisition, and a global focus. Why didn’t we go to the public school we were assigned to? I visited the place and two parents got into a fistfight in the parking lot because one parent’s kindergartner pushed the other’s.  Yeah… that was a bad look.

When I was in school, my mom was never involved more than attending annual conferences or picking me up when I got suspended. She was a firm believer that it was the school’s job to educate me, and her job to parent. For some reason, she didn’t see these as being one and the same. I do. I’d guess that my compulsory education was 70% academic, 20% social/cultural and 10% environmental. These numbers will be wildly different for my daughter.

Reading, writing, mathematics and rudimentary science were the bulk of my education. “As long as you are literate, that’s all that matters,” my mother used to drill into me. That was great back then, but the ideas of literacy have expanded, and the idea of the bulk of a child’s education happening in the classroom is out with the eight-track tape. I’d argue that there are a host of new literacies we need to teach to our children. While everyone will have his or her own ideas about this, these are what I feel are most important…

Read the rest of Shawn Taylor’s [Father/Hood] post, “What 21st Century Kids Should Learn,” on Ebony.com.

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One Comment

  1. I’m so glad to see more and more parents waking up to how the huge cracks in public (and private) education are disproportionately affecting minority children. Every parent needs to be encouraged to be committed and heavily involved in their child’s education. Waiting for an overhaul of the system may be too late for your child if they are in school today. I hope we “get it” sooner rather than later.

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