I'm all for putting an end to the mind- killing experience that passes for education for too many black students in this city.
But the argument advanced by some defenders of African-focused schooling leaves me bewildered.
They claim that these schools should teach African children that they come from kings and queens, that they are heirs to a legacy of monarchical "high" civilization - even existing before Europeans did.
We should teach a social history that bigs up the people and honours our efforts to create just societies, not one that identifies with hierarchical systems based on ruling families and elites.
I would suggest that we promote the humanistic values and practices of so-called primitive and tribal African societies of the past: consensus decision-making, economic collectivism, participatory democracy and the absence of coercive class instruments such as a standing army, police force and judiciary.
Will these schools be positive and self-affirming spaces for African students who are queer?
Will homophobia/heterosexism be eliminated from the curriculum?
We cannot claim to be seeking schools that will be safe havens for African children if we tell some to leave fundamental parts of themselves in the parking lot.
Members of sexual minorities should not be made to feel like sisters and brothers from another planet, as our community has often done.
And what of the gender biases that exclude our young African sisters?
Are we going to prepare and orient teachers on black feminist principles and cultivate their awareness of multiple forms of oppression and their impact on learning?
Are we going to be proactive and create single-sex classes for our sisters in the critical subject areas of mathematics and the sciences?
African-centred schools should be about social emancipation.
Otherwise we will just be churning out students who go on to post-secondary studies only to take their place at the master's table.
Ajamu Nangwaya is in the adult education and community development doctoral program at U of T?s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and chair external of CUPE Local email@example.com