Barbara A. Sizemore Academy, an African studies-themed school in Chicago, Illinois is facing the possibility of being closed by the Chicago area public school district.
Barbara A. Sizemore Academy is a K-8 school and is one of the three campuses, which are part of the Betty Shabazz International Charter institution. The academy is named after the first black woman in America to become a school superintendent.
Betty Shabazz Academy is another K-8 school on the three-school campus. There is also a high school located on the campus called DuSable Leadership Academy.
According to the New York Times, low test scores for students grades 3-8 have become a problem at Barbara A. Sizemore Academy.
The Times reported that reading students in these grade levels scored in the national 14th percentile on their standardized tests last year. Math students in the same grade category reportedly scored in the eighth percentile nationally last year, according to The Times.
These test score results are causing officials on the board of Chicago Public Schools to aggressively move toward closing Barbara A. Sizemore Academy. However, supporters of the school, such as its principal Danielle Robinson are largely against the school board’s desires.
Robinson believes that the test scores of children are not the only determining factor, which should be used to rate a school’s credibility.
“When you talk about children who are suffering from all the ills of, you know, the residual effects of slavery, absolutely this is where they need to be,” Robinson said in her interview with The Times.
Instilling self-esteem and teaching cultural relevance into a population of children whose race is battered by society is definitely a respectable thing for an institution like this one to do.
Black charter schools usually are under a lot more pressure to get their students to academically perform by set standards. “They have a double whammy,” said Dr. Martel Teasley in his interview with The Times. Dr. Teasley is the Chairman of the department of social work at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
“Not only can’t they compete with large charters, they are demonized because they’re black,” Dr. Teasley continued. At press time, the Chicago public school district had not carried out its desire to close down Barbara A. Sizemore Academy.
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Source: The New York Times–Click here for a link to the original article.