Readings:

  • William H. Watkins, White architects of black education: Ideology and power in America, 1865-1954 (Introduction, Chapters 1, 2, and Conclusion)
  • Robert Guthrie, Even the rat was white: A historical view of Psychology – Chapter 5


 

In today’s class we had Dr. Tammy Spencer as a facilitator, and she was absolutely amazing! Her passion and enthusiasm for the youth currently in the educational system is contagious and I am am honored to have had her as a guest.

She started class by talking about her history and background which really laid the foundation for her experience in the education system. It was nice to hear about her half french, half black background and to see how that affected and shaped how she grew up. Her powerpoint was called, “Standardized Deficits: Examining the Policy Narrative in Early Language and Literacy Policies” and primarily spoke about the education system in America.

She posed the question, “Who says a kindergarten student must know the alphabet?” This perspective was challenged me because I have always considered myself to be a rule follower and never really thought of challenging the system in that way. This policy does not necessarily adequately determine what age is the best age to learn something, rather it is just used as a way to standardize learning. We talked about multiple early childhood policies in education that directly impact the black community like NCLB, Lift Up, Reading Remediation, after school/enrichment. We then spoke about the home and school divide and how at home we encourage speaking out while at school we often are told to “be quiet” and “only spoke when spoken to.” At such a critical age, it is interesting to think about what sort of impact this has.

Ornella gave a really great example of this divide, as she was born and raised speaking French as her first language but after coming to America, was put in an English learning class that primarily catered to Spanish speakers. This assumption that all English learners in America are primarily Spanish can be damaging to those who speak other language. This lack of linguistic diversity in early education can be damaging to the overall diversity of the schools.

We watched a video that found a correlation between higher class and levels of wealth with the amount of words that are spoken to children. Unfortunately this video was not necessarily appreciated by most of the class as many of the minorities here, as many of us have been raised by lower income parents who worked twice as hard in order to raise intelligent children. Last, we talked about the prodigy stigma that occurs when a black student or student of color does well in school – ostracizes students and draws people away from their communities.

 

 

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