What the “Crisis in Black Education” Means Today
The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) was established by Carter G. Woodson, in 1915. The organization founded Black History Month, and its mission is to, “promote, research, preserve, interpret and disseminate information about Black life, history and culture to the global community.” For 2017, ASALH has selected the theme, “The Crisis in Black Education” in order to “focus on the crucial role of education in the history of African Americans.”
You’re not alone if the theme caught your attention. So what does it actually mean?
This month, the PAWs team had an opportunity to speak with Dr. Newton Miller, Program Chair for the Department of Education Studies (DES) at Ashford University. According to Dr. Miller, “Education is a gateway to opportunities. It’s the teeth to making dreams, goals, and aspirations happen. It brings self-worth to a person, and once a person has self-worth, then they can no longer be enslaved. Their mind is free…Embracing the power and the purpose of education, that’s at the core of the crisis of education in the Black community.”
As a Program Chair at Ashford, Dr. Miller tells us about his role relative to the 2017 theme. “I am charged to build a culture in the faculty and the students that encourages both groups to invest in themselves.” Additionally, “I am charged to make sure every student in the DES has access to the type of instruction and support that allows them to embrace this educational opportunity.”
Dr. Miller leaves the PAWs team with some final thoughts. “In our communities, we may not be able to re-route funding sources, dispel the political regimes, acquire better resources, and increase access to facilities and such, at least not immediately. But, we can immediately change our thinking. We can change the perception that education is an us vs. them thing. We can flood our communities with the message that education is a must, it is a necessary step for survival. We can refuse to allow our children to settle for mediocrity from themselves, and we can refuse to accept mediocrity from the schools our children attend. We can get involved in the schools and make school systems know they are supported and at the same time monitored because public schools belong to the public.”
To hear more from Dr. Miller, including his research findings about factors that contribute to success for men of color in online higher education environments, check out this month’s video.
Written by Ashford University staff