Afrocentric Schools Take Center Stage in NYC

By CultureBanx Team

  • NYC Afrocentric schools aim to empower black children

  • Brooklyn Afrocentric schools have 2,300 students enrolled

In New York City’s 1,800 public schools, many have specialized themes like engineering, math and fine arts. Now an alternative choice for schools is popping up dedicated to servicing the African American community. Schools that incorporate an Afrocentric approach are more prevalent in large urban education systems disproportionately populated by African American students, and aim to empower black children in ways that traditional schools in America historically have not.

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Why This Matters: Ember Charter School is one such educational institution in Brooklyn specifically designed for black children and comes at a time when the education gap is widening, as the New York Times points out. There are more than 12 of these new age Afrocentric private and charter schools scattered across Brooklyn. They have around 2,300 students enrolled, tend to have high graduation rates and standardized test scores, compared to the city average.

As long as schools comply with state educational standards any principal can incorporate a curriculum focused on black culture

As long as schools comply with state educational standards any principal can incorporate a curriculum focused on black culture. New Afrocentric public schools and programs are operating in cities such as Washington D.C., Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and Oakland. Children of any race may apply to an Afrocentric school, for example, Ember which is a kindergarten to eighth grade school is about a third Hispanic.

Situational Awareness: A recent finding by the Journal of African American Studies noted that some Afrocentric charter schools are low performing. The study contends these educational facilities need better standardized accountability measures, in order to become a credible school choice option to failing urban public schools.

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