The School Integration Myth

Afrocentric Schools and School Integration:

In a NY Times Article written today 1.8.19, titled ‘I Love My Skin!’ Why Black Parents Are Turning to Afrocentric Schools, the author Eliza Shapiro attempts to show us the pros and cons to the integration of schools.

Ms. Shapiro reached out to Andre Perry for a quote. Perry, a fellow at the Brooking Institution, said, “Segregation leads to inequality, you can’t just do that away.” Perry goes on to state, “If you’re going to ignore this issue, it will come back to haunt you.”

I posit that integration is what is haunting us. Integration as a whole has not worked in my opinion. The integration of Blacks into public schools post-Brown, I’d argue, may be a reason for the destruction of Black Communities nationwide. Integration caused a significant divide in our communities, one that still exists. It is heartbreaking to see people of color (POC) that have seats at the table regularly sell their people out to maintain their position at the table. Saying segregation won’t work is the same as saying black folks aren’t good enough.


Tone Deaf Textbooks:

Earlier today, I received a picture from a colleague of a worksheet circulated to students in a school district in Connecticut. It brought all kinds of emotions out of me. I have a school-aged child, so this hit hard for me. It is insane at how at an early age society permeates this notion in our children that they aren’t good enough. We don’t go out looking for this kind of stuff, yet it finds us.

This type of blatant racism is not okay, nor will it ever be okay. These types of things happen to students of color daily. Whether its students being persecuted for their hairstyles, how they look, dress, the list goes on. We must go on the offensive to keep our kids safe.

If we can be outraged about Robert Kelly and his horrible treatment of Black women, we have to allow ourselves to be equally outraged about the injustices that occur in K-12 education daily. Not only must we be outraged, but we must also be ready to call out these injustices with swift action.


Moving Forward with the work:

I was talking to a parent earlier today, and her exact words were, “Mr. Ankrum, if I had the resources to survive and did not have to work, I would homeschool my children.”

The fact that I’m looking after her children allows her to be able to sleep at night. I don’t take that responsibility lightly, because if anything happens to any of my students, it’s as if it happened to my kids. That’s the level of investment I have in the job. Educators, don’t take your responsibility lightly, parents depend on you to keep their children safe.

Author: Raymond J. Ankrum, Sr.

Mr. Ankrum is the current Superintendent of the Riverhead Charter School. Mr. Ankrum has gained notoriety as a school turnaround expert. He is enthusiastic about helping students from low (SES) find ways to end generational poverty through educational advocacy. If you believe PoC can end generational poverty by exercising educational opportunities, you have an ally in @Mr_Ankrum.