I was going to do a post, as I sent my own kids back to school this week, on the implication of teaching a majority children-of-color student population after Charlottesville. I had hoped that I would have something to share from local leadership.DISRUPTING THINKING was recently attacked for political implications, but there are political implications in all teaching-- pic.twitter.com/C5UhK6TuOe— Bob Probst (@BobProbst) August 15, 2017
Thus far, here in Worcester, both at the district level and at the school level, it has been business as usual. With what I can only hope are exceptions at the classroom level, the notion that we are experiencing anything out of the ordinary has not been communicated to pupils.
And yet the reality is that our students are, and it is a luxury of those who hold power to pretend it can be ignored. That is not the reality of most of our pupils.
As it says above this notion that we must "keep politics out of the classroom" ignores both what politics are and what education is. Should teacher be indoctrinating students? No, but that tends not to be the problem. The problem instead is pretending that what surrounds classrooms doesn't impact them.
I'm reading Jack Schneider's new book Beyond Test Scores, and I was struck by this passage I read yesterday:
For low-income families and families of color, this kind of segregation poses a far more serious problem. Often lacking the resources to send their children elsewhere, these families are dependent on schools that bear outward signs of abandonment. Students at such schools are well aware of the fact that the privileged are educating their children elsewhere. They feel all too acutely the stings of segregation and resource scarcity.That relates to Melinda Anderson's piece in the Atlantic last month on how the myth of meritocracy hurts children of color:
The findings build upon a body of literature on “system justification”—a social-psychology theory that believes humans tend to defend, bolster, or rationalize the status quo and see overarching social, economic, and political systems as good, fair, and legitimate. System justification is a distinctively American notion, Godfrey said, built on myths used to justify inequities, like “If you just work hard enough you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps … it’s just a matter of motivation and talent and grit.” Yet, as she and her colleagues discovered, these beliefs can be a liability for disadvantaged adolescents once their identity as a member of a marginalized group begins to gel—and once they become keenly aware of how institutional discrimination disadvantages them and their group.We do a serious disservice to children and to their education when we ignore what surrounds them. This is true not only of racism, but of the increased marginalization, discrimination, violence, and fear that other groups of people have faced since January: immigrant groups, people in the LGBTQ community, women, the disabled, and so on. Those challenges must be faced as well.
We shirk our core reason for having public education if we just go on with vocab words, multiplication facts, and geography quizzes.
for the preservation of their rights and liberties