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Black only, but don’t use the `S’ word; Children are thriving in Afro-centric schools south of the border. Advocates argue that progressive segregation is the only way to reach troubled African American students.

“Public schools have failed African-American students, which is shown in lower graduation rates and lower achievement,” says education professor Carol Lee of Northwestern University, founder of the Betty Shabazz charter school in Chicago, whose three campuses boast 825 students from kindergarten to Grade 12.

Abstract (Summary) “Given the condition of the urban landscape, our children need to be culturally centered to learn, and they’re not,” said Raton, whose school begins each day with a black history fact, a pledge of pride and a message based in “black old-school values” of courtesy and respect for elders.

“African-centric schools have sprung from the belief that African-American students living in a society with a history of racism and stereotypes need a form of socialization that provides them with sociological buffers,” [Carol Lee] said.

“Our point simply is we can view the world through the perspective of the people of Africa. Africa is the mother of civilization.”

“People call these schools racist as a tactic to keep the status quo, but the status quo doesn’t teach the whole diverse story,” said [Anthony Daniels]. “People can say public school curriculum is multicultural, but it’s not – it’s a melting pot where cultures get lost. We like the idea of a cultural salad bowl instead, where every ingredient keeps its flavor.”

Full Text (989 words) Copyright (c) 2007 Toronto Star. In Ontario, it would be a first. But across the United States, dozens, possibly more than 100 black-focused schools have existed for decades and get rave reviews from students and teachers.

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