I hope we will criticize the many reform ideas that rest upon false assumptions about the differences between "us" (especially middle- and upper-class whites) and "them." The "these kids need" arguments that I find most distasteful about many of the charter schools networks I know—spouted by folks who are hardly experts on "those kids," and whose solutions support the continuation of schools with a test-prep curriculum and military/prison-style behavioral norms. (See the popular current fads being pushed by author Ruby Payne about educating poor kids.)
I want all kids to have a chance to go to schools of the sort where Arne Duncan and President Obama send their own kids. I want us to stop assuming that only "some kids" can handle complexity, uncertainty, and depth of curriculum or self-regulation—what we used to call "agency."
I want us to stop pretending that the only thing upper-income kids get from their mothers is more books and reading aloud! Nonsense. What their parents offer them most of all are advantages that come from money, money, money and status, status, status and a sense of entitled power.
Friday, May 7, 2010
"Us" and "them"
And I know I say this a lot, but you should read Deb Meier: