Roughly 80 percent of DuSable’s students resided in the Robert Taylor Homes, located in one of the nation’s three most poverty-stricken communities. Many were and still are poorly prepared, poorly motivated and poorly informed about the potential of education to empower them. Over the years, no more than 65 percent have attended school regularly.
Tiffany Swain, who lives with her grandmother and aunt, rarely sees her mother, and shuns a father she has seen only once in 18 years. Stretching from 5:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., her schools days are filled with classes, a Gospel Choir, a Bible study club and the Academic Decathlon. After June graduation, she will use a Golden Apple scholarship to earn a college degree in education and then return to DuSable to teach.
The Million Man March was neither a one-day, one-agenda nor one-locale event. For example, because of it, 2,600 adults from across the country have expressed an interest in adopting 25,000 black orphans, according to Conrad Worrill, chairman of the National Black United Front and a march organizer.
Amid the massive throng in Washington D.C., Brydie had spotted a fellow White Academy staffer, R.C. Hardy, a husky, no-nonsense, Vietnam veteran who is the school’s custodian. Both had accepted Minister Louis Farrakhan’s challenge to marchers to seek right relationships with the Creator and reconciliation with each other, and to take personal and collective responsibility for their lives and the welfare and future of their families and communities.
We view reading and mathematics as the school’s most important subjects. For example, music and art teachers devise methods of teaching their subject in such a way that it reinforces the importance of reading and mathematics. All of our teachers compile statistical profiles of each student’s progress and make adjustments necessary to assure success.
SAS (School Achievement Structure) was launched last year in 13 schools, but three schools—Mayo and McCorkle elementary and Juarez High—dropped out, and one, Arthur Ashe, is following the principles on its own. SAS now is in 20 schools, including four that are on remediation:
“Many African-American educators have spent large portions of their professional lives protesting the cultural biases of tests and protesting their nearly universal use to no avail,” she writes in the 1989 book Effective Schools: Critical Issues in the Education of Black Children. “Today, it seems that the way to eliminate tests is to help minorities to pass them. … Effective, high achieving, African-American elementary schools are now doing this. … Perhaps in a decade SATs, CATs, MATs, ITBS, and all the other ‘T’ tests will be extinct. … Tests can then become the diagnostic tools they were meant to be instead of the mechanism for separating winners and losers.”