Complexity is a ten-letter word

Detroit Public Schools

are rapidly moving, changing, closing, and reforming. The Detroit Free Press showcased an interesting school and with an interesting philosophy. The Marcus Garvey school has an Afrocentric approach that helps its students build confidence, emotional empowerment and humanity. The school incorporates many activities that help students connect to African roots, such as addressing the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

Principal James Hearn maintains that the character development, high expectations and discipline embedded in the African-centered curriculum and culture at Garvey can transform other Detroit public schools.

–Dawsey writes for the Detroit Free Press

Did I mention Marcus Garvey’s high test scores despite its high “economical disadvantage” rates?

School Is Full of Different Kinds of Learning

Examples like Marcus Garvey prove that students are learning a lot more than textbook knowledge in school. If we look back to the origins of American Public Schools, we find that these institutions were made in part to train people into becoming American citizens. What do we want our citizens to be like? Fearful and ignorant? Schools that can empower students to have their own educational agency, to take responsibility towards their life-long learning (and this includes learning of respect, humanity, and community), are schools that need to be highlighted.

Flickr Photo

Empowerment for All?

I was excited to find this article because my friend had brought it up a few days ago. She was also happy to hear of its student-empowering program.

However, the article said that, “there also are rites of passage programs that include manhood and womanhood training.”

We’re not anti-anybody.

–Haki Madhubuti

What does “manhood and womanhood training” mean? Training??

What about the students who don’t fit into the traditional gender roles? What about those who have non-traditional sexual preferences, or no preference? What about the students who identify as gay or lesbian? What about the students who identify as transgender? What does “training” mean?!

Does training mean that women need to do “woman work”? That men need to be masculine?

I can’t say, not knowing what “training” is defined as, that this school is doing a disservice to non-traditional students. I don’t know. But I do question. I am curious.

What do you think?




Filed under Thoughts on Teaching

2 responses to “Complexity is a ten-letter word

  1. schmi355

    This has nothing to do with what this is about, but I just wanted to tell you that I really enjoy reading your blogs because you put so much into it. There are always quotes, and you bold some things, and the organization and overall look of your blog and your posts is just really nice. I like it.

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