- One Team, Separate Experiences - July 5, 2022
- What Recent SCOTUS Decisions Mean for Education - June 28, 2022
- Which is More Important, Equity or Winning? - June 28, 2022
- 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
You may have noticed that education has truly become a topic at the forefront of many political conversations over the past few years. So, of course, you would think this would mean politicians would be discussing funding, impactful reform, and how to retain teachers. But, unfortunately, those topics are not at the top of the agenda-at least not in the way we hoped.
Quick history lesson: In 1838, Horace Mann, then the Secretary of Education for Massachusettes, wrote his six main principles for public education. He would later be nicknamed what many teachers hear him called the father of public education in their preparation programs.
His six principles were simple: the public shouldn't be ignorant, schools should embrace the diversity of their population, they should be secular, they should be funded by the public, the teaching provided by trained educators, and taught around the ideals of a free society.
Why do I outline this history? Because I want to contextualize this idea of public education and its blossoming throughout our country's history. Though Horace Mann was a staunch abolitionist, we must acknowledge that his concept of public education was growing in a time when only white children were permitted to receive formal schooling. On the other hand, desegregation wouldn't even be seriously on the table for nearly another century.We're in the Midst of the Dismantling of Public Education: Episode 1 Click To Tweet
With the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. the Board of Education in 1954, schools were integrated! But were they? The history of desegregation does not end with the Brown v. Board decision - if anything, it was only the beginning. Unfortunately, this Supreme Court decision led to massive resistance efforts from white communities. In numerous cases, the National Guard was called to force integration, while black students were heckled with slurs and threats.
Some were even slower to make the shift - with a school in Texas taking 48 years to desegregate and another in Mississippi taking 50 years to settle a legal battle over the order. But even in communities where the white families were not physically blocking the school entrance, their efforts often did so unintentionally (as is discussed on the podcast Nice White Parents).
We may recall something called No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in our more recent memory. At its core, it intended to close the achievement gap and provide opportunities for all students (which seems to allude to Horace Mann's principles). Instead, NCLB brought in the slew of standardized tests and teacher accountability measures we are so familiar with today. As is typical with these types of initiatives, it also revealed itself to impact students of color negatively: standardized tests have been found time and time again to be racially biased, and the ability to leave "failing" schools may have led to a new wave of white flight. That was two decades ago, and while our current set of problems feels distant and unrelated, I am not convinced that is true. The dismantling of public education has been a slow but deliberate effort from those who would benefit from its demise. This series will dive into the landscape of public education over the last few decades and why it matters so much right now. This four-part series will explore how the pandemic, teacher treatment, privatization efforts, and resistance to progress ultimately lead to a collapse. Who do you think will be left behind when it does?