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Whats wrong with the school system ? By Brenda Edwards

As a retired New York City educator, every once in a while someone will ask me what is my perception of the failings of the New York City school system. Well,I believe it's a number of things.

First of all, when people ask what's wrong with the school system,they often are really asking why are the inner-city kids not progressing as they should and displaying such hostile behavior.Why are these students so out of touch with education, they wonder.But what they really mean is, what's wrong with the African-American, African Caribbean and Latino students who comprise the majority of the inner-city schools.

Having been an African-American student myself and then becoming a teacher, I say let's look at the history that is so very much a part of us and how that history reflects what it means for black and brown people today transitioning from being considered subhuman to enslavement, to Jim crow/segregation,lynchings and poverty.Let's look at the subliminal messages that black and brown students receive and that are translated into "you"are not good enough through the media. And what about the scantily taught and often down right omission of black,latino and Caribbean history and literature.

Let's look at the recent and continuous rash of black and brown people,especially,males who are being incarcerated,killed and brutalized by the judicial system under the guise of fear and protection.

Although I do not believe in allowing  students to succumb to their disadvantages and disappointments even under such objectionable circumstances,I do understand that these are some of the reasons that we bare witness to a failing school system.

Failing schools are simply a symptom of some of the failures in our society.
And until we honestly and collectively work to annihilate them ,we will always be scratching our heads and asking the same questions.


Shane B. Kulman said…
Great piece and from a valued source a teacher with experience, who is able to witness... The magic word is work. The system and our society needs a tune up, like anything that isn't offering high or great results. Not an easy talk but definitely a highly worthy dialogue to open up. Dialogue and communication sans blaming, shaming, or pointing out what doesn't work. That kind of "work" is what isn't working..... I see how students and parents are bullied, I see how teachers and principals are bullied. It makes sense that many kids are failing. There are many schools that do "work" they work to find ways to work within the old-fashioned structure.... I'd like to see why in a factual way those schools are successful, what are the teachers lives like who continue to have open hearts and really "see" their students.... I know that will have a lot to offer... just to start.
maisha Sapp said…
Wonderful post Brenda. It really is time for a game changing system that by design is made to produce a different result.
Brenda your assessment is spot on...will the system ever change? Not without educators with legacies such as yours. Continue the fight my sista...Cheryl
Adeola said…
This is such an important issue. You are 100% correct - failing schools are a result of systemic societal failures rooted in our nation's history. The students can't always verbalize it but they feel it and are affected by it. Thank you for writing.
Anonymous said…
Damion Trent:Great article that makes more sense than a Common Core or Danielson framework. White supremacy created this shisstem and it has to be eradicated in order for our children to truly progress. The dehumanize us from the day we are born until we hit the casket, so we have to fight to control and build our own schools that serve the interests of our children and community. Forward ever, backward never. Black and Brown power must unite to fight against this white capacitistic system of downpression and educational poison.

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