the conversation about education in Philadelphia
has shifted from the No Child Left Behind
legislation to whether or not African
American studies should become a mandatory
course for high school students.
There are various attitudes that have
emerged due to the proposed implementation
of the course. The public response
was very supportive, for it included community
leaders, parents, and students.
in opposition of the course included students
who were generally disinterested in academics
altogether, close-minded parents, and
surprisingly John Perzel. Perzel
is the speaker of the Pennsylvania House
of representatives. While expressing
his views on the issue he exhorted that
the course was "unnecessary;" furthermore
he also stated "Most of these kids will
never go to Africa. They have no
affinity for Africa."
politicians and ignorant individuals such
as Perzel express themselves in such a
manner, it is further clarified that they
do not understand the African American
experience. As a student wherever
he attended school, Perzel was introduced
to subject matter that was relevant to
his culture and his experience.
African Americans represent two-thirds
of the Philadelphia School district; therefore
it is only just that instruction that
reflects their experience be included
in the curriculum.
from the aforementioned views expressed,
I concede that African American Studies
should be a mandatory course in high schools
nationwide. Throughout the duration
of time that Africans have spent on the
North American continent the agenda of
every government has been to ostracize
them and perpetually keep them ignorant.
Overemphasizing European history,
literature, and culture has done the act
of excluding Africans. Under no
circumstances is it fair for the educational
system to present propaganda to students.
those in opposition may argue that some
students are disinterested, or will never
visit Africa, students still should not
be denied the opportunity to study their
ancestry. The effects of the education
agenda has left many African Americans
disconnected from American culture, politics,
and mainstream ideals. If students
were aware of how their ancestors contributed
to the establishment of this country it
will increase their sense of self-worth
and possibly their civic involvement.
Those who lobby against such instruction
are sowing seeds of destruction into the
lives of African Americans students.
The seeds of destruction that have been
sewn into the lives of millions has been
obvious, given the premise that the education
system was not created for Africans to
excel in it.
that do not incorporate African American
history into every subject area are doing
students a great injustice.
It is impossible for me to look at clocks
and not think about Banneker, a street
lamp without thinking about Latimer, my
shoes without thinking about Matzeliger,
or traffic lights without thinking about
Morgan. These attributions to American
culture are significant, and there are
about an infinite amount of other contributions
that are as equally important.
"a people without knowledge of their history,
is like a tree without roots."
The most efficient way to keep a population
underachieving and displaced is to keep
it ignorant of its history. Now
that African American history will be
mandatory for 2005-06 incoming freshman,
students can comprehensively study their
history, apply it, and help to break down
the barriers of ignorance.
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