Education does not only occur within the formal school setting. A child's first education occurs in the family and community. It is here that children learn their history and what is expected and accepted in way of aspirations, values, and beliefs of their culture. Research has shown a significant importance between the relationship of home and school as related to school achievement. Children who are enrolled in schools that reflect their culture and values of the their communities tend to do better. Unfortunately regardless of these findings the majority of African American students continue to attend schools that do not reinforce their family and community culture, values and aspirations, and beliefs. .
Though families and communities continue to educate their children, these children do at some point enter formal education venues. It is here in this formal education that the aspirations, history, expectations, values, and culture of American society is reflected. Many African Americans find incompatibility between their formal and informal educations. Since the majority of formal American education does not reinforce African American principles of family and community. African American children find themselves having to live and function through biculturalism. The purpose of this paper is to focus on the education of young African American students and the understanding that their teachers have of their culture. The elementary teacher who fails to understand the cultures of their students will negatively affect the young child's cognitive abilities and cause frustrations and tensions. .
The first eighteen years of a child's life is spent in some form of an educational institution. The school experience is crucial and a detrimental experience for children. The cognitive development, educational achievement, and future educational attainment and lifestyle are all affected by the school experience.