When Zakiya James attended Woodrow Wilson High School in her native city of Washington D.C., she quickly exhausted the curriculum that was being offered to her there. Zakiya, 14 at the time, was not being challenged and her mother, Shawna Malone, could see that.
Malone attempted to enroll her daughter into higher-level courses at Woodrow, but the administration was not open to the idea. Malone was told by counselors that she should be glad that Zakiya was making A’s and didn’t need to be in more challenging classes.
Their thought, Malone said, was that more challenging classes could result in lower grades. Having attended Wilson herself, Malone knew that Zakiya was becoming bored and if she was not pushed more, she would become lazy and disinterested in school.
“It made me realize that if I was really going to be concerned about my daughter’s education, that I would have to take matters into my own hands,” Malone said. “So when the school wasn’t receptive, the counselors were not open, and the principal was not receptive, then I started looking outside the school for other resources to educate her.”
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Dominique “Peak” Johnson is a North Philadelphia journalists and blogger. He is one of the founding editors and writers of the North Philly Metropolis and blogger for The Huffington Post. Click here to learn more about Peak.