Mission and Objectives
The mission of the Institute is to understand factors that contribute to the African American academic achievement gap and to identify and support strategies that help narrow and close that gap in order to propel African American children to their rightful position of excellence and leadership in the world. The mission requires understanding African American child development and its underpinnings and many contexts and influences that impact upon the manner in which that development unfolds. The focal point of the Institute is to formulate best practices for working with African American children in school and in the community. Pedagogy – the activity between the teacher and the child is the primary discipline represented.
In Learning While Black (2001), educators are called upon to relinquish their belief that African American children have educational limitations that are the reason for the achievement gap. Principals and teachers are called upon to work with community members to monitor the educational performance and extracurricular activities for each child at the classroom level, making sure that all children are performing at or above grade level and are involved in meaningful cultural enrichment programs. The society is called upon to create the “Beloved Community” conceptualized by American philosopher Josiah Royce and evoked by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Strategies are outlined redefining the school as the Family and the broader community as the Village, in which each child is too precious to be left behind. The mission of the Institute is carried out through five inter-related areas: Research, Training, Community Service, Clinical Services, and Social Policy.