Should we get tied up in controversies about blackface?
It should be shocking that middle-class educators with college degrees and above average occupational benefits trade in these hasty, dehumanizing generalizations. Even you the reader might harbor similar classist illusions of the stereotypical low-income parent who passively allows their kids to be redlined into the dark underbelly of public schools.
Follow the lead of teachers across the country, the Oakland teachers union is set to strike for….wait for it….more pay, more union members, and a cap on charter schools.
The possibility of independent thinkers is the thing that haunts the Devil. He says he fears that “someday some courageous person will reverse the present system of school teaching” and create one where “children establish ways and means of developing their own minds from within.”
Social media outrage about blackface stories doesn’t carry the same weight as focusing on endemic problems that blight the lives of children and steal their growing years. If anything, obsessions with the trivial is little more than intellectual drift, and that is the worst sin for conscious people.
What happens when our own community is anti-choice? Ray Ankrum has us talking about how to defend our work and inform our people.
“[Y]oung men use crime as a means of constructing the kind of stereotypic masculinity that helps them traverse their adolescence and win the acceptance of peers, as well as fathers, coaches, and other hypermasculine role models,” writes Kupers. This is where stealing a car, joining a gang, bragging about rape — or confronting a Native American, groping a girl, assaulting a boy — becomes a way of being a man. This is also where privileged white boys are divided from other boys. While the kids at Covington and St. Mike’s and Georgetown Prep are acting out in their adolescence, they have the opportunity to graduate to a more socially acceptable adulthood of building a career (a Supreme Court position, maybe?) and a family.
Are private schools that receive public money able to “teach whatever they want” to an extent that’s greater or different than a local school board’s power to adopt whatever curriculum they want?
Diane Ravith has a microblog post about students in Kansas who recently walked out in protest of their middle-school adoption of the Summit learning platform. As she mentions, a similar protest happened in Brooklyn. It stinks of union organizing, but, the fingerprints aren’t clear yet on the weird coincidence very different groups having similar organizing…
The public generally agrees that teachers deserve better pay and more urgent attention to the decline in resources many of them face. They have every right to stand up for themselves, but when they attack charter schools and attempt to prevent families from accessing schools they want, it’s time to reconsider our support.