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2016-04-21T00:00:00.000Z

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Wrong Ama Mazama?

Dr. Ama Mazama

Head of Graduate African-American Studies

Temple University

HQ Phone: (215) 204-7000

Temple University

1801 N Broad St

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122

United States

Company Description

Founded in 1884 by Dr. Russell Conwell, Temple College was chartered in 1884 and became Temple University in 1907. Today The comprehensive public research university's 34,000 students can choose from 300 undergraduate and graduate academic degree programs ... more

Find other employees at this company (22,230)

Background Information

Employment History

Associate Editor
Journal of Black Studies

Teacher
University of Texas at Austin and Penn State University

Education

Ph.D.

University of La Sorbonne

Ph.D.
linguistics
University of La Sorbonne , Paris

Web References (30 Total References)


Ama Mazama, slight in stature ...

www.phillymag.com, $reference.date [cached]

Ama Mazama, slight in stature and wearing a tightly fastened Ruth Bader Ginsberg ponytail, is revving up an Epson projector on a cold and rainy December morning. The head of graduate African-American studies at Temple University, Mazama - a self-chosen name that translates to "tender and violent love" - is both gentle and commanding at the head of a class. When she's listening to you, the 48-year-old mother of three squints ever so slightly, as if not quite hearing you or not quite trusting your line of reason. But she politely guides you, in her French-Caribbean accent, to a logical answer nonetheless.

Mazama teaches a lesson on cognitive psychology in a classroom that looks ill-equipped for the task: devoid of whiteboards and desks, outfitted with drums and a piano. There's commotion from a dog in the nearby kitchen. Only two pupils are present. The four of us are cloistered in the "music room" within Mazama's three-story stone home in Germantown.
As she introduces today's discussion topic - spiritual intelligence - I can't help but think it's a little heavy for her 10-year-old son, Kiamuya, and 13-year-old daughter, Tamu. Minutes later, the three are not only discussing an array of metaphysical ideas; they're doing so bilingually, alternating "okay" with "d'accord. Mazama's kids scribble in their notebooks and exchange occasional giggles, the way children in the back of a traditional classroom would. But their curriculum is far from traditional, even by homeschooling standards.
Mazama is known nationally as an Afrocentrist scholar and linguist, a translator of Marcus Garvey, and, increasingly, one of the most prominent voices of an emerging segment of alternative education: black homeschooling.
...
When Mazama started teaching her oldest boy 13 years ago, she says, there was nothing by way of research on the topic. The assumption was that the motivations of homeschooling black Americans were no different from those of the two archetypal camps that were doing so: religious fundamentalists and crunchy-granola progressives.
"People assumed they were doing it for the same reason as white parents," Mazama says. But once she started interviewing parents in seven regions across the country, she found otherwise. Black parents were nearly as likely to cite racism (24 percent) as their primary motivation as they were to blame the low quality of education in brick-and-mortar schools (25 percent). When Mazama dug deeper, interviewing parents one-on-one, she reached a more damning conclusion: "Racism was interwoven into every reason why they disengaged."
By racism, she means not only bigoted name-calling, but the full gamut of marginalization within schools: the dearth of black teachers; the over-representation of blacks in special education and disciplinary actions; their under-representation in honor tracks; the Eurocentricity of curricula; the 15-point gap in high-school graduation rates between blacks and whites. But the data, however important, wasn't as devastating as what Mazama heard. As much as parents want to believe in American education as the great equalizer, its infrastructure remains skewed for some to succeed and others to fail - or, at best, simply to get by.
"It's not necessarily that they stopped believing in quote-unquote the American Dream," says Mazama.
...
With double standards in schools ranging from cash-strapped inner-city institutions to those in posh suburban districts, Mazama found that black parents didn't know where to turn to educate their kids.
...
In her homeschooling, Mazama moves to circumvent that "imposition of whiteness. Aside from a novel each by John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway (she has a soft spot for those stories), her children read no white authors; during the lesson on spiritual intelligence, all the examples in Mazama's PowerPoint were African-American or Native American. "I made a point of not teaching anything from white history, white literature, white nothing," she says.
...
When I ask Mazama what she's heard about a homeschooling center opening up less than a mile from her home, I get one of her gentle, skeptical stares. We're standing in her foyer, the sound of rain pattering outside. She knows nothing about Natural Creativity - a response suggesting that homeschooling is growing too fast for even a researcher to keep up.
A racially integrated homeschool experiment like Natural Creativity is another means to expand the growing share of black self-educators, so Mazama is all for it. She points out that Maryland's Prince George's County, the bastion of black upper-middle-class life in America, has a booming black homeschooling population. Mazama doesn't think it's a coincidence. "These are black people who see that there's definitely a problem and they decide to do something about it, to remove themselves physically from that environment," she says.
With racial inequality seemingly at every turn of their children's lives, black parents view homeschooling as an opportunity to claim authority over at least one area: education. Consider it a new twist on the old African-American proverb "Each one teach one. Ever the iconoclast, Mazama sees the potential for this movement to ripple out through society: "There was this woman I spoke to who always would say this: 'If all those black men in prison had been homeschooled, they would not have ended up there.'"


Ama Mazama, a professor of ...

thewestsidegazette.com, $reference.date [cached]

Ama Mazama, a professor of African-American studies at Temple University, also confirms that "Black home-schooling is definitely on the rise.


"Black home-schooling is definitely on ...

www.opb.org, $reference.date [cached]

"Black home-schooling is definitely on the rise," says Ama Mazama, a professor of African-American studies at Temple University.

It's hard to determine the exact number of home school students, let alone the racial breakdown. However, most estimates put the total figure at roughly 2 million, and suggest that between 5 and 10 percent are African-Americans.
Mazama says black home schoolers tend to come from urban, two-parent households.
The key question, she adds, is why these families are deciding to leave traditional schools. Research suggests black families often choose to home school for very different reasons than white families.
"White home schoolers, the number one reason they give when asked is religion," Mazama explains.


Schools "rob black children of the ...

www.theatlantic.com, $reference.date [cached]

Schools "rob black children of the opportunity to learn about their own culture" because of these curricular biases, Huseman wrote, citing Temple University's Ama Mazama.

...
"Typically, the curriculum begins African American history with slavery and ends it with the civil-rights movement," Mazama told Huseman.


Some scholars, including the Temple ...

www.theatlantic.com, $reference.date [cached]

Some scholars, including the Temple University African American studies professor Ama Mazama, even attributethe notable rise in homeschooling among black families in part to the predominance of Eurocentric school curricula and teacher perspectives.

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