African-centered education has a strong backer

Eugene Kane

Milwaukee educator Taki Raton sees the problem with failing black students in very stark terms.
For him, the issues are black and white with very little gray.
“Black people are the only ones who can teach black children, it’s as simple as that,” he told me, in no uncertain tones.
Raton, currently a writer and lecturer who runs an educational consulting firm, also founded Blyden Delany Academy, a well-respected private school, which operated under Milwaukee’s choice program for 10 years. Raton closed the school a few years ago because of financial concerns, but while Blyden Delany was open, it was consistently praised by black parents in Milwaukee with children enrolled in the institution.
Raton doesn’t think that was anything out of the ordinary. Blyden Delany was African-centered – some call it Afrocentric – in its approach to teaching black students. Raton and a legion of similarly minded black educators in Milwaukee and across the nation believe that distinction makes all the difference.
“We know what we’re doing,” he said, referring to African-centered schools in general. “We don’t have the kind of problems other schools have because we’re following a classical model for African-centered education.”