Dr. Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966. It is a holiday celebrated from December 26 – Jan 1. There is a focus principle each day of the holiday. Although these principles are based on African values, I believe if we apply these principles in education we could improve our education system. Today’s principle is ujamaa/ cooperative economics – to build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
On Day 2 of Kwanzaa, I wrote about the Rosenwald schools and I included the following quote by Stephanie Deutsch about the schools:
But of course the true legacy is the people themselves, not the physical structures. This is the fact that I find the most amazing. In Virginia, the African Americans who built the schools and who attended the schools contributed twice as much money, dollar for dollar, as the Rosenwald fund did. These were people who were almost universally poor. Many of them were people who had no education themselves, but they knew that this was the road forward for their children. They wanted their children to have something that they hadn’t had. They made it happen.
Today, contributing financially to your child’s school or the school in your neighborhood, outside of paying taxes, is an action many people want to avoid. We want something for nothing. Schools are struggling financially and they need community support and resources.
When I first entered school, my family was poor, but my parents still sent me to school with supplies and made sure to pay my book rental. They also would help out when needed. My mom would donate resources or donate her time volunteering in the school.
Last year, 1/2 of the students in one of my son’s class did not bring in scissors, so I purchased eight additional scissors and sent them in with my son. This year, there was an online reading resource my sons’ school wanted to purchase that the school could not afford, so parents and community members, including myself, pitched in to pay for the program. If we want our children to succeed we have to put our money where are mouth is.