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Commentary: Racial Identity Initiatives in Schools Take Away from Basic Education

Date: Monday, July 25, 2005
By: Joseph C. Phillips, BlackAmericaWeb.com

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...

The San Bernardino County Sun recently reported that the San Bernardino school district would begin implementation of a pilot program of cultural enrichment that will incorporate Ebonics. The pilot curriculum, known as Students Accumulating New Knowledge Optimizing Future Accomplishment Initiative or SANKOFA (a Ghanaian word that means remembering the past), targets second, fourth, and seventh grade students in two schools and will include "information on the historical, cultural and social impact of blacks in society."

Mindful of the derision that greeted the Oakland California School board when they declared Ebonics the "genetically based" language of black students, the San Bernardino School board quickly issued a statement that denied Ebonics was part of the curriculum or that it was ever considered. Word clearly did not trickle down to Len Cooper, who is coordinating the program. He is quoted as saying, "Because Ebonics can have a negative stigma, we're not focusing on that ... we are affirming and recognizing Ebonics through supplemental reading books [for students]."

Cooper's double negative aside, whether the program uses Ebonics or not misses the point. SANKOFA is a cultural immersion program, and this is the greater issue. There are high school students in the district that are functionally illiterate, but rather than focus on the fundamentals of English, science and math, we have yet another program aimed at building self-esteem through a celebration of racial identity.

A healthy racial identity and self-esteem are important, but academic underachievement is not evidence of low self-esteem or a lack of cultural consciousness. The fact that many of the students in question are unable to write a complete sentence in standard English would seem an indication they have more than enough "culture." More significantly, self-esteem cannot be obtained through group pride or group identity. Self-esteem is built through individual accomplishment. Small personal successes build confidence; confidence leads to greater success, and with that success comes greater self-esteem. There is also ample evidence that suggests a student's belief in the importance of education is more crucial in determining academic success than is self-esteem. As well intentioned as these programs are, the only thing that will reverse the downward spiral of academic failure is to move away from racial identity education and focus on the basics.

The latest results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress give some credence to this judgment. In the five years since the implementation of No Child Left Behind and its emphasis on fundamentals, reading and math scores for African-American nine-year-olds are the highest they have been in the history of the test, and the achievement gap between black and white students has closed considerably.

Still, in San Bernardino, as in other parts of the country, black students are over-represented in special education classes and virtually absent in college preparatory courses. They have higher expulsion rates, higher drop-out rates and lower college attendance than any other ethnic group in the district.

I don't fault the San Bernardino school board. "Any boat in a storm," as the saying goes, and they are desperately grasping at any idea that might aid in turning the tide of black academic underachievement. However, sacrificing instruction in proper grammar in order to focus on racial identity and self-esteem is not the answer.

Cultural immersion may make everyone feel warm and cuddly inside, but if, at the end of the day, our children lack an understanding of the efficacy of education and aren't equipped with tools for academic success, we will have done them a terrible disservice.

© MBM

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I must agree with Joseph C. Phillips.

We are so screwed up (somebody scream it for me), we can't 'see for looking'. We can't go for stopping.' We can't get out of our own way.

Our educators don't know which way is up. At least, they act like it.

Mindful of the derision that greeted the Oakland California School board when they declared Ebonics the "genetically based" language of black students,...Oakland School Board

NOW language is genetic??????????

Damn!!!!!!!

And the title????

Racial identity????????

Noah:

This thing is just not happening.

PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
begin implementation of a pilot program of cultural enrichment that will incorporate Ebonics


Are the enlightened Black folks in California being held hostage in someone's basement?? How did this idea get so far? Actual funds are going to be used for this junk?? Like real money?? In a country where teachers have to beg for even basic school supplies and vital programs are being cut?? Lord Have Mercy! *Faints*

quote:
Still, in San Bernardino, as in other parts of the country, black students are over-represented in special education classes and virtually absent in college preparatory courses. They have higher expulsion rates, higher drop-out rates and lower college attendance than any other ethnic group in the district.


Golly gee, I wonder why. The children are being led by a confederacy of dunces.
sI wonder what is the real motive of this stupid schit? Is it some negroes selling their souls for program funding that can be absorbed by administrative costs and salaries? Or is it a ploy by racist whites usinf negroes to handicap black kids for the rest of their lives? If schit like this was not needed in times with much less educational resources why is it needed now? Black people that came from really oppressive times and a total lack of formal education did not even need this in order to learn how to speak english effectively.


**The question I have to ask that seems to get overlooked is....If this stupid schit was accepted and put into practice, how will the use of ebonics factor into college admissions and employment consideration? I think the reason that it has not been mentioned because it is a systematic method to render young black kids useless to the greater society before they even become adults....in other words, like the media, work to further socially engineer some black people into thinking this is their norm....which like the rest of that schit...is predicated on highlighting ignorance the same way promiscuity, crime and violence are emphasized.....'sigh'...something's got to give......
quote:
I think the reason that it has not been mentioned because it is a systematic method to render young black kids useless to the greater society before they even become adults


And there is little doubt Kevin that it is these so called "Black Conservatives" that are advancing this Ebonics programs AND the resulting conspiracy against college admission that you put forth.

It is funny how with you all negative that can be attributed to so called "Black Conservatives" gets duly noted and assigned. But the more numerous incidents that can be attributed to non-Black Conservatives you only criticize them WITH REFERENCE TO so called Black Conservatives without ASSIGNING A SPECIFIC LABEL to them.

I believe that you hate so called Black Conservatives more than you LOVE the ultimate solution that you aspire toward.

You are more in love with your METHODOLOGY and LITMUS TESTS than you are with actually acheiving this end state that you CLAIM to want.
Black Conservatives side with racists to reduce black opportunity...period....and try to mask it with a bunch of bullschit rhetotic....like yourself...whose solution is for blacks to turn and walk away and never fight for equality WITHIN the system we built....like Noah told you.......why would he leave a system his ancestors built to those who didn't do shit tp profit from it? Those people are f-ked up who promote ebonics and I said why.....fi I caught them siding with racists to reduce black opportunity like your ilk then they would be lumped in the same group....those people are either mistaken or greedy...blkCons defer to whites....period.....think about it...it has been weeks and you STILL cannot come up with reason to support policy that is detremental to blacks....and if blk COns were not pieces of shit as human beings......they would look at the resulatnt drops in enrollment and professional inclusion and AT LEAST admit they made a bad policy choice...but they see the numbers and know that is what they intentionally helped the racist right to accomplish....and that is why you negroes get dead silent whenever it is time to call white people out on ANYTHING....I have NEVER heard a blkCOn say anything bad about whites.....no matter how blatant racism is in their face...and that is why I can never take a blkCon serious or affiliate myself with SHIT they do.....because they know what their motives are when they defer to whites....and get quiet about the fucked up outcomes they helped racists to facilitate.....so all that bullschit you talk in this and other threads means nothing....when your actions cause opposite outcomes............
I say rent three Step&Fetchit movies along with Song of the South, combine it with a couple Aunt Jemima/Uncle Festus movies and cure the SANKOFA movement with a quickness. Tell those kids "This is Ebonics. You WILL be speaking English and you'll be doing it correctly." Ole Step&Fetchit set the race back a zillion years. It might have made him a millionaire; it did NOTHING for the rest of us. Since we can't speak Swahili or whatever other language our folks came here speaking, we have to learn the language of the enslaver to get any job, let alone a good one (whatever that is, too). Whatever ORDERS one has to take in the job market/prison industrial complex/military, it's better to be able to respond in English, rather than EBONICS. They might go a little easier on you with the name calling when they decide to dole it out.

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