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From: "Samuel Jefferson"
Sent: Friday, March 19, 2004 12:03 AM

Tragically we often place, struggle, sacrifice, and fight to get our
children into public, magnet, private and religious schools that actually
retard their development -- even when our kids gets "A"s in those schools.
Read the attached for a more accurate understanding our academic abilities
(there are I think three schools in D.C. that follow the methods of the
Garvey school discussed in the article):

Douglas, Pamela. Private schools: By, and for, blacks. L. A. students use college arithmetic text in 3rd grade. The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, October 4, 1981.

“Los Angeles – The wealthy in Los Angeles have closets bigger than this classroom – cinderblock walls brightly painted, a swatch of African fabric covering a small barred window, old-fashioned desks attached to chairs, marred from years of use in public schools before they were passed on. But the one blackboard is crowded with advanced math, and little arms fly as the teacher, a young black man, asks for solutions to the equations. This is the third grade at Marcus Garvey elementary school and the class text is ‘Arithmetic for College Students.’ Tim Jones, the teacher commented, ‘It’s just a matter of exposing them. They learn so easily.’

In fact, in a recent contest, the Garvey third grade out-performed the sixth grade from a public ‘magnet’ school (a school for gifted children, predominately white) in both reading and math. Yet, Garvey isn’t dubbed a ‘special’ school; it isn’t funded by any corporation; it receives no federal funds; nor is it an experiment of any research body. It doesn’t feed off any university; it doesn’t pay high salaries; and the staff doesn’t tout a string of academic degrees. It is, instead, an indigenous _expression of the Los Angeles black community, created by people who feel the public schools have betrayed their children.

The Garvey school is an example of a rising national trend toward black ‘alternative’ education: private schools run by blacks for blacks, charging tuition, usually with tough academics in an environment of caring.

Garvey began in 1975 when Dr. Anyim Palmer put his $20,000 savings into building his dream. Palmer explained: ‘After 14 years of experience in various school systems as a counselor, vice principal and university professor, I say that black youths, wherever they’re found, are not being taught. Each year the various high schools in all of the large cities graduate hundreds of thousands of children who cannot read, write or do simple arithmetic. As a result, they cannot seek gainful employment and are therefore driven to lives of crime.

'To expect the system to educate our children is to expect the lion to educate the lamb,’ Palmer continued. ‘It must be borne in mind that were we ever to become educated, we would then be competition with whites. Recognizing this, I decided to establish this school which in time would become a model for others to emulate.’

The parents of Garvey students have become its most enthusiastic backers. Dorothy and Joseph Miller have a 5-year-old daughter in the Garvey kindergarten and two older sons in public school. Mrs. Miller reflected: ‘Public school doesn’t motivate them. We’re trying hard now to get a junior high at Garvey so they can go. We’re going to put our seventh-grade son in the sixth grade at Garvey. He’ll get more out of this sixth grade at Garvey than the eighth grade in public school. Part of his problem in public school was that the fifth-grade class had six different teachers during the past year because they just didn’t care enough and they kept quitting. Our 10-year-old and our 5-yer-old read on the same level now.’

Charles Clemous, another parent, is equally enthusiastic. ‘When he comes home, if we ask our son what he did in school he doesn’t say “nothing.” He may speak some Spanish or Swahili he just learned or show us some math. He’s in a total comprehensive educational system.’

It’s the feeling in the school that makes the difference. Dr. Palmer led visitors into a class where 19 students sat in a semicircle around a blackboard. He asked the young black teacher, ‘Sister, can you show them…’ And before he could even ask, most of the hands were waving to be called on.

On the wall is a collage of black family pictures, bordered with ‘Unity, Purpose, Faith,’ in English and Swahili. On another wall hangs the ‘World Wide Family Tree.’ A black cutout of a tree embellished with photos of former U. N. Ambassador Andrew Young, Mayor Tom Bradley, Joe Louis, Stevie Wonder and several kids from the class.

Then the children got their chance to show off: Seven-year-olds spelled ‘exhaust,’ ‘substantial,’ ‘violation’ – all words picked from the newspaper that morning. Palmer’s eyes lit up and he shouted, ‘Give yourself a hand!!’”