The key to all of our futures is an Education system that meets the needs of the African community!

The APEDF believes that education is a basic human right. It was the African community in the Reconstruction period in the South that first brought a free public education to the U.S. Yet today, over 50 years after the Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education, the reality is there are two separate and unequal school systems in this country. The schools attended by mostly white students look like mini-college campuses, where students engage in challenging assignments designed to develop creativity and critical thinking with state-of-the-art technology at their fingertips. Compare this to the repressive atmosphere, lack of books and bleak and dilapidated classrooms that characterize the under funded schools in black communities.

History lessons describe life for African people as beginning on the plantation in slavery. The incredible contributions Africans made in science, culture, art, architecture, and human development are ignored. White people are portrayed as makers of history explorers, inventors, artists, writers and philosophers. The true story of the enslavement of African people whose labor built the economic infrastructure of this country is never told. This robs African children of their past and their future and distorts the worldview of all students.

It is the mission of the African People's Education and Defense Fund (APEDF) to address the disparity in education experienced by the African community. APEDF is an African-led organization that calls for an end to the unequal, two-tiered school system and promotes community control of education.

Today there are more black men in prison than in college. In Oakland, California, the school district spends $1 million per year on school police, out of a fiscal general education budget of $24 million. The U.S. spends $25,000 per year to keep a prisoner while spending an average of $7,000 per year on each student in the public school system. In 2005 a five-year-old African girl made national headlines after she was arrested on her St. Petersburg, Florida elementary school. A ten-year-old girl in Philadelphia was hand cuffed and taken away in a police car for bringing a pair of scissors to school to work on a project.

National statistics reflect the failure of the education system for African youth. Graduation rates for blacks hover around 50% while the rate for whites is 75%. Comparisons of expulsion rates show Africans are expelled at about 6 times the rate of white students. For example, African students in San Francisco public schools make up 18% of the population and comprise 56% of all expulsions. In a lawsuit currently pending in Pinellas County, Florida, an independent statistician proved that the likelihood of anything other than racial hatred being responsible for the gap in achievement, suspensions and expulsions is the same probability as winning the Colorado Lottery 12 times in a row by playing the same number. This challenges the cultural refrain of blaming the black and Puerto Rican parents and the community for the problems in the schools and sets an important precedent for other areas in the same situation.

In St. Petersburg and other areas of the South, court mandated bussing means that there are no neighborhood schools and that young children are forced to spend hours every day riding a bus to attend school in a hostile neighborhood far from home. In Philadelphia the city spent $ 19 million to open the Penn Alexander School a public school built especially for the children of the University of Pennsylvania staff and students. Sitting on a five-acre campus, it receives an extra $1000 per student as well as extra teachers, access to museums, and other resources all subsidized by the University. Only blocks away, other West Philadelphia schools average 33 students to a classroom, with a scarcity of such basic necessities as textbooks, heat and running water in the bathrooms.

School funding in Pennsylvania ranks 43rd in the nation. Like California and several other states, Pennsylvania schools are funded by property taxes that perpetuate disparities because of the lack of resources from the inner city tax base. The trend in college scholarship grants is in so-called "merit" as opposed to need. The fastest growing sector of students who receive funds for school are those in the highest income bracket. Black youth, denied an education and pushed out of school often have little or no viable economic opportunity. The real solution is the APEDF plan of genuine economic development in interest and control of the African community.

A positive Education for our African Children

APEDF is struggling to develop education in the African community to be in the hands of the African community. In the tradition of Marcus Garvey and the Black Panther Party, we have the vision to create tutoring programs and charter schools that hire African teachers from the community and develop a curriculum based on the rich history of African people that dates back thousands of years. This same curriculum must prepare African youth for their future and provide them with the resources needed to develop the skills necessary to begin rebuilding prosperity in our community.

As a non-profit, APEDF has begun to harness resources, through private donations and donations of goods to our three Uhuru Furniture stores, which allow all communities to support our efforts. These important fundraising institutions continue to develop and multiply, and demonstrate the undeniable connection between genuine economic development and education for the African community. Several of our programs have successfully displayed the APEDF vision for positive development including the Marcus Garvey After School Program, Soul Math, and Uhuru Martial Arts. Our community forums, taking place at Uhuru Houses across the country, address local education issues and challenge public policy. The perennial champion Uhuru Basketball Teams which are all for both boys and girls, and have teams for ages 11-18, incorporate tutoring and travel into the program and all participants are successful in school despite the dire conditions.

APEDF is an organization of the African community. Through the support of donors and volunteers like you, we continue to promote a vision for shared prosperity and increase our capacity to develop education programs inside our community, which will teach our children their true worth and develop the confidence and potential in each of them.

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