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- Suddenly Teammates After a Decade of Division - June 21, 2022
- Can Sports Heal a Segregated School? - June 14, 2022
- I Left Teaching for a New Career. Here's Why I'm Still Mourning. - March 31, 2022
- You Don't Hate Teaching, You Hate the System - March 15, 2022
- The Dismantling of Public Education Part 4: Regression - March 4, 2022
- Teachers Who Teach in Schools in Lower-Income Communities Don't Get the Respect They Deserve - February 28, 2022
- The Dismantling of Public Education Part 3: Privatization - February 25, 2022
- The Dismantling of Public Education Part 2: Teacher Attrition Must Be Addressed - February 18, 2022
The Educator's Room Reviews WNYC's "Keeping Score" Podcast
Keeping Score is a brand new 4-part series from WNYC Studios and The Bell. The series follows the real students of one Brooklyn high school building that houses four separate schools and recently integrated their athletic programs. Keeping Score hopes to unearth the structural inequalities of our school system by taking a closer look at this community as it undertakes a modern integration experiment.
John Jay Educational Campus in Park Slope Brooklyn houses four schools: Cyberarts Studio Academic, the Secondary School for Law, Millennium Brooklyn, and Park Slope Collegiate. With each school relegated to its designated floor, the students of these schools are not just divided - but segregated.
Millennium Brooklyn, the only school which uses grades and test scores in its admissions process, is also the only school with a large proportion of white and Asian students. The other three schools are comprised of ~90% or more students of color, and the partition is palpable. Millennium has a better staff-to-student ratio, and its students view it in a much more positive light. Meanwhile, students from the other schools are made to feel unwelcome on Millennium's floor (despite having shared facilities like the nurse's office there) because they "don't look like they go there."
Last year, in an attempt to address the divisions on campus, the administration of the schools took a bold move: combining the two athletic programs of the John Jay Education Campus into one team, the John Jay Jaguars. However, the decision garnered mixed reactions and begged the question: How will these students merge and come together as one?
Keeping Score is a well-paced docu-podcast that explores the nuance of the intersection of race, equity, class, and education. In the first 30-minute episode, the listener gets relevant background on each of the four schools, as well as the opportunity to hear directly from their students. These interviews shine a light on the positive and hopeful experiences of Millennium Brooklyn students compared to the anxious and isolated experiences of the students from the other three schools.
Room for Improvement
While I love where this series is starting, I hope they keep the momentum going and don't focus solely on the athletic team integration. The first episode peppered in a lot of small references to inconsistencies in the quality of education, the widespread segregation of NYC public schools, and the microaggressions that plague the local campus. However, the podcast has already primed its audience to expect a sports-focused integration story, and I hope we don't lose the opportunity to uncover more about the broader issue of segregation in NYC schools.
Final Thoughts from an Educator
Some of the information from this podcast was jarring. While I knew NYC had one of the most segregated school systems, I wasn't aware that only 15% of the city's public school students are white. Many white students in NYC attend private or parochial schools, which deepens the education division of these communities. Additionally, one of the students described her 1.5-hour commute, which really shed light on how challenging it is for many students to access a quality education.
One of the most striking parts of episode 1 was the discussions about the metal detectors that all students are required to go through upon arrival at the John Jay building. Recently, there has been extensive talk in the news about implementing more security measures (like metal detectors) at schools in the wake of the Uvalde shooting. Meanwhile, the students of John Jay are very vocal about their opposition to their presence - many students of color especially felt they signify a distrust of the type of students who attend these schools. One student, Mariah, described the experience of going through the daily security check, "It's very criminalizing to have a wand - they physically wand you. You stand there with your hands on the table…." The narrator went on to cite that students of color are three times more likely to attend a school with metal detectors, which further illustrates the harsh reality of these policies.
As an educator who taught at a school that wanded students each morning as they arrived, this podcast made me reflect further on the dehumanization I have witnessed firsthand in schools. As the story progresses, I hope attention remains on the impact these policies can have on students. I look forward to listening to the rest of Keeping Score as it dives deeper into the athletic team integration at the John Jay building.
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