How American education produced the audience for a nonsense candidate
Our current political crisis, also known as Election 2016, where the weaknesses of the American two-party system are on flagrant display, is a perfect illustration of what happens when American education creates and reinforces a myopic, small-minded culture of exclusion. If the goal of the American education system is to create a society where critical thinkers are the minority and ethical behavior is a niche interest, then it is a booming success. All my post-baccalaureate reading and learning has brought me to the conclusion that American public education is a system built by capitalist white supremacy for the purpose of maintaining capitalist white supremacy. Why on earth would I want to send my children of color to get an education like that?
When I teach my Kindergarten students about diversity, I begin by giving them language they can use to understand differences and communicate with one another with respect.
Too often, adults avoid talking about skin color and race with young children, particularly white parents and white educators like me. The well-meaning ones who avoid the conversation tell themselves (despite considerable evidence to the contrary) that by not talking about skin color and race, children will simply not notice those differences and be naturally inclusive with one another, communicating “human” to “human.”
Thoughts on culturally relevant parenting and teaching.
Cultures vary in the ways they interact with children. This informs how students interact with each other, with adults at school (i.e., are they raised to see adults as peers, caretakers, authority figures, or a combination of several roles), and with the processes used to acquire and analyze new information.
How, then, do we culturally socialize children to be their very best selves? I’d like to begin with a scenario followed by a question or prompt. If you’ve had or have a young child in your life, whether as a parent, teacher, or caretaker of any kind, I’m guessing the scenario will be pretty familiar!
Experts in conversation with parents and educators
Listen to the full conversation or read an edited transcript below. EmbraceRace co-founders Andrew Grant-Thomas and Melissa Giraud frame and moderate this discussion between child psychologist Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith, educator Dr. Sandra “Chap” Chapman, and a group of parents, teachers, and other caregivers concerned about black and brown children.
Part of an EmbraceRace series on homeschooling & race
According to the National Home Education Research Institute, about 2.3 million kids are homeschooled in the United States, as many as 1-in-3 of them kids of color. The 1-in-3 figure is smaller than the slightly more than half of K-12 students who are nonwhite, but, if close to accurate, still points to much greater racial and ethnic diversity in the homeschooled population than many of us suppose.
This much we know: the number of homeschoolers is growing and becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. We also know that many parents and guardians who choose to homeschool their kids of color do so, at least in part, for reasons related to race.
EmbraceRace asked a few such parents to take no more than 1,000 words to reflect on how their child’s (children’s) racial identity shaped either the decision to homeschool or how they homeschool.
These are their stories.