Toronto school administrators are examining alternative strategies to cope with issues arising from poor performance of black students in school. Among the alternatives being explored is creation of a black-focused school as well as beginning black-focused programs in three existing schools. A report to these educators suggested an Afrocentric or black-focused school that would be “open to all students, which uses the soources of knowledge and experiences of peoples of African descent as an integral feature of the teaching and learning experience.” Toronto school trustees were urged to explore this alternative last fall by some supporters of Afrocentrism.
If Toronto school authorities are interested in creating a black-focused school all they have to do is wander into New York City or Chicago or St. Louis or any number of urban American schools where the student body and a high percent of teachers and administrators are essentially African American. Afrocentrism has been around for about forty years and there is scant evidence this approach has much of an impact upon academic success in terms of high school graduation or going on to college. One problem with Afrocentrism or Jewish or Italian or Irish Studies is how these topics are taught. If teachers are boring and lecture on and on about Afrocentrism or any topic, student heads soon head toward the desk for a sleep break. The issue facing all children of poverty backgrounds is escaping from the boredom of test preparation and being able to engage with exciting teachers who teach an interesting and relevant curriculum.