Ex Livingstone race advisor Lee Jasper has been calling for “all black” schools in London, defined as schools with a curriculum and ethos geared towards the interests of black students rather than with an exclusively black intake. See this from the Evening Standard in which he opines “The fact is, it’s time the black community ran its own schools, devised a curriculum that suited the needs of our children, employed teachers that look like the young people they are teaching. Some of the greatest black leaders in the world – Dr Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, to name just two – attended all-black schools and universities.”
He’s already hit out at “liberals” for dismissing the idea while accepting faith-based education for Jewish, Muslim and Hindu children. The idea of a less Eurocentric curriculum is a great one but there are a couple of things wrong with this. Firstly he is not clear whether these “beacons of excellence” would be state or independent schools, second many good lefties oppose faith schools and lastly the idea is pretty bonkers to say the least. I don’t much look like the people I teach (I’m a good deal shorter than the most) but that doesn’t invalidate the content of what I teach. Students are students so why should “black students” require specially altered teaching? Wasn’t “parallel lives” the whole concept that the reports after the 2001 Burnley/Bradford/Oldham riots slated for getting those places into such a mess? The Windrush generation, slavery and the history of the British Empire/ colonial exploitation should be taught to all surely? Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela may have been educated at all black institutions but it’s precisely because of this that they spent the remainder of their lives fighting to get rid of the things. People like Obama, I guess David Lammy and hell even Diane Abbott damnit have achieved success by entering educational bastions once seen as not for the likes of them (law-school, Harvard and Cambridge) and reaching outwards not retreating inwards. I can only see all-black schools making things worse rather than better.
Jasper has been unfairly treated by right-wing bloggers in the past but his contention in this this intervention just seems wrong.