- Got Discipline? (Charter School Diaries) - January 28, 2014
- Educators Must Avoid Isolation (Charter School Diaries) - October 28, 2013
- Parents, Teachers, and Conflicts of Interest (Charter School Diaries #28) - October 14, 2013
- Administrative Frankensteins (Charter School Diaries) - September 30, 2013
- New Year, Same Song (Charter School Diaries) - September 23, 2013
- Graduation! (Charter School Diaries #25) - July 15, 2013
- Teacher Turnover (Charter School Diaries #24) - July 8, 2013
- The Masses, the Multitude and the Disciples (Charter School Diaries #23) - July 1, 2013
- Schools and Prisons Are About Solving a Labor Problem - June 14, 2013
- Pissing them off for the Children’s Sake (Charter School Diaries #22) - June 10, 2013
For the last 500 years, Western Civilization has dominated the world. When I say Western Civilization, I specifically mean Europeans who’ve colonized every continent on earth, and also the Americans who continue to dominate. Such domination means that institutions such as governments, schools & economic systems, are put in place and maintained by those in control. The signature of European and American colonization was the exploitation of people and resources: natural resources were found and returned to the mother country, women were raped and men enslaved. Unfortunately for the African, his hands would be the hands to build the Western world against his will. Slavery was common throughout all of human history, but the Western form of slavery became the staple of Euro-American domination for hundreds of years; a form of slavery that was as much psychological as it was physical – a consequence of capitalism. But one day, what the American knew as slavery stopped; at least the physical form. The Union victory in the Civil War left Whites with a dilemma; what to do with Blacks? If we took an honest assessment of the current state of racial affairs in the United States, it would seem that the powers of society are still trying to answer that very question.
Logic says that with the end of slavery comes the natural order of allowing the formerly enslaved an opportunity to begin life anew. Yet Africans were meant to be nothing more than labor. Capitalism gave Africans a place and even worth (in an economic sense). Yet once the government outlawed the use of African Americans as labor, the economic and political elite (who were White) had no use for African Americans. Sense the Civil War, there has been numerous attempts made by both White and Black to remove African Americans from the country, but to no avail. Fortunately or unfortunately, African Americans are here to stay for the foreseeable future. But if they are of no use to the economic and political elite, what should become of their lives?
With that truth in mind, there has been no effort on the part of those in power to facilitate the conditions that would allow the masses of African Americans to be socially and/or economically mobile in addition to assisting with defining the politics of this country. Blacks have been segregated and marginalized from the mainstream of society throughout American history first by race, now by class and in no institution is this more apparent than in the American public schools system. Segregation in housing has allowed for segregation in schools and the segregation of human and financial resources creating inequities in the quality of education received by Blacks and Whites. Concentrated poverty combined with fewer quality resources yields poorer results; this is the current circumstance for many African American young men and women in public and charter schools.
A disruption to the capitalist order can be best solved by a capitalist innovation. The popular solution to addressing inequity in schools is letting the market drive reform. School reforms designed to improve failing urban and inner city schools have done only two things; made money for various industries and reasserted the Euro-American standard by which Black and Brown people in the United States are to be educated. Neither of these has accomplished the supposed goals of reforming “failing” schools or improving the academic results of students. What it has actually facilitated is a system for tracking students; those who do well despite their economic conditions and the lack of school resources are awarded with greater opportunities and the adults around them giving a damn while those who don’t do well are branded as rebellious and problems to be managed. Where does that leave the various Philadelphia students whose schools were recommended to be closed by the Pennsylvania School Reform Commission …?