August 2023: The Legacy of White Supremacy in Education
Thank you to everyone who was able to join the conversation in July. There were so many important reflections on independence and freedom. At the same time we were discussing these topics, Florida was announcing the approval of new academic standards that include, among other things, lessons on “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.” This, added to book bans, the Supreme Court decision on affirmative action, the school-to-prison pipeline and push out culture, paints a picture in which white supremacy continues to show up in all aspects of our nations educational system. It can feel overwhelming to consider ways that we can make a difference at a systemic level, but as many have shared at CWC gatherings over the years, sometimes it’s about figuring out where we can be useful within our spheres of influence. So, as students and educators return to the classroom around the country, we are going to focus this month’s prompt on education in the United States and consider how we can challenge the continued influence of racism and white supremacy on today’s education system. To help us get into the conversation, we are going to watch this video from WNYC’s 2015 Being 12 series that features New York City middle school students sharing how racism impacts their lives.
Here are some questions we will use to help us focus our thoughts:
What stood out to you in the video?
What is the connection, if any, between racist curriculum, book bans, striking down affirmative action, etc. and the experience of these students?
How are you currently harmed by an education system that is inequitable and racist?
Where can you be useful in challenging the recent attack on education equity?
We hope that you find the reflection on education to be a valuable exercise. Regardless, we look forward to engaging in conversation with you about this and any other topic that is on your mind. "Education is the key that unlocks the golden door to freedom." - George Washington Carver "The ability to read, write, and analyze; the confidence to stand up and demand justice and equality; the qualifications and connections to get your foot in the door and take your seat at the table - all of that starts with education." - Michelle Obama "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela