To whom much is given...much is expected: African school administrators address their role in improving academic achievement for African children
Harris-Tigg, Theresa A
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This qualitative study explores the assumptions about culture, education and schooling that influence African school administrators' efforts to improve the academic achievement of African children. In-depth interviewing was conducted and interpreted. A total of 11 African school administrators and/or policymaking leaders from one northeast urban school district were selected. This study used an African-centered conceptual framework (Addae, 1996; Akoto, 1992; Asante, 1998; Hilliard, 1997). The following research questions guided this study: (1) What are African school administrators' assumptions about culture, education, and schooling? (2) In what ways do these assumptions shape their efforts to improve academic achievement for African children? (3) What factors (including co-worker attitudes, work climate, etc.), if any, do African school administrators believe facilitate their efforts to improve academic achievement for African children? (4) What factors (including co-worker attitudes, work climate, etc.), if any, hinder their efforts to improve academic achievement for African children? With remarkable consistency, four themes emerged from the data: internalized inferiority, disempowering efforts, lack of vision for cultural leadership, and the marginalization of African people in the schooling arena. The African administrators' prevailing support for the existing state of affairs in the public school system demonstrates dissimulation. This is evidenced in the study as the participants have rejected their African cultural responsibilities and embraced the values and practices of the status quo that maintain an anti-African environment in public schooling. The absence of African school leadership focused on the cultural strengths and intelligences of African children makes it difficult to confront the underachievement of African children.