Ebonics in Schools
Many black individuals have played their part in America's history. Has
the Oakland School gone too far by wanting to teach a black slang language in
school. In this paper, you will see the peoples, teachers, and the student's
opinion as well as the Senate.
A lot of people are speaking out on the subject, especially actors.
Arsenio Hall replied to reporters “When I heard somebody from Oakland say the
word genetic, on TV, I ran into the kitchen so I didn't have to be mad at
anybody.” James McDaniel of ABC's NYPD Blue and S. Epatha Merkerson of NBC's
Law and Order described the Oakland School Board's decision on Ebonics as a
distinct genetically based language (Shister, p.1). Civil Rights leader Jesse
Jackson defended Oakland's school over a controversial plan to recognize black
English in the classroom (N.A., p.1).
On December 18, 1996 the Oakland School Board approved a policy affirming
Standard American English language development for all students. This policy
covers the effectiveness of the strategies that must be utilized to ensure that
every child will achieve English language Proficiency (Hawkins, p.1). This
policy is based on the work of a broad-based Task-Force, convened six months ago
to review the district-wide achievement data and to make recommendations
regarding the effective practices that will enhance the opportunity for all
students to successfully achieve the standards of all students. The data shows
the low levels of the student performance and lack of students in the Advanced
Placement Education Program. These recommendations focus on the unique language
stature of the African American Students (Shister, p.2).
One of the programs recommended is the Standard English Proficiency Program,
which is a state of California model program. Which promotes English-language
development for African-American students. The S.E.P. (Standard English
Proficiency) training enables teachers and administrators to respect and
acknowledge the history culture, and language that the African American student
brings to school (Cambell, p.2). Recently a “Superliteracy” component was added
to ensure the development of high levels of reading, writing, and speaking
skills. The policy further requires strengthening pre-school education and
parent and community parcipitation in the education process of the District
In the following, there are findings on African Americans in school: 53%
of the total Oakland School's enrollment were black, 71% of the students
enrolled in the Special Education were black, 37% of the students enrolled in
Gate classes were black, and the average Grade Point Average of black's in
school was 1.80, which is the lowest in the District (Hawkins, p.2). Also, 64%
of the students held back were African American, 71% of the African American
Males attended school on a regular basis, 19% of Senior African Americans did
not graduate, and 80% of all students suspended were black (Shister, p.2).