Sunday, December 18, 2016

TAL, Herbert, and Brown v Board of Ed

The last one came out all weird so I'm trying again.
I chose to do a connections post on TAL, Herbert, and the Brown v. Board of Ed. website. All three sources talk about the issue of segregation in schools. The Brown v. Board website has information about the case that supposedly ended the issue, but the other two, and especially This American Life, provide examples and evidence of modern-day segregation, despite also providing proof that it would be the most effective way to improve schools. Because of the fact that those with privilege believe segregation to be a thing of the past, the first connection I saw was to Johnson. He discussed the luxury of obliviousness, the idea that thinking privilege and injustices, such as racism, do not exist is a privilege itself. One example of someone experiencing the luxury of obliviousness would be the mother in the story of Normandy in TAL who says that her opposition to integrating her children’s school is “not a race issue.” Johnson is the one who said we have to say the words, and this woman refused to believe they were even applicable.

Brown v Board of Ed was not the end of the story.
There were also some very strong ties to Delpit’s arguments, specifically in the TAL episode. One that stood out, for example, was the story of one particular student, Cameron, at the Normandy high school. He was an honors and AP student enrolled in the most challenging academic classes at the school, and he only had one teacher who actually taught. In college level classes, he was being completely under-prepared, not taught the rules and codes of power, and definitely not taught enough to come prepped for a real college course. There is also a connection to Shor here (no surprise here, now that I check, given he is conducting the interview), because in one of his other AP classes, Cameron was given a middle school level worksheet that he was able to finish in five minutes, which does not foster meaningful learning at all and also does not encourage any participation, which Shor says is crucial to learning.

Kahne and Westheimer would also point out that any efforts to “change” schools, which Hannah-Jones frustratedly rattles off examples of, such as replacing teachers, replacing curriculum, and sending school supplies, are actually all just acts of charity. They are short-term, less effective “solutions” that really just avoid integration, the real but less palatable change.

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