I have a question, when you have nothing to lose, wouldn't you throw rocks at the police too? The death of Freddie Gray,while in police custody, has sparked peaceful demonstrations and violent protests throughout the city of Baltimore, Maryland. Today, following his funeral, the city broke into a heightened sense of urgency. In the midst of protests, young Black Americans took to the streets, responded violently to the police, and for many, they began throwing rocks at them.
|Photo Credit: NBC News Image of young Black male, most likely an 8th grader or freshman in high school, throwing rocks at police armed and ready for war.|
"The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance and other abuses of the bill of rights by government pay the true price, and ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importance of any kid's game played tonight, or ever, at Camden Yards," Angelos tweeted. "We need to keep in mind people are suffering and dying around the US and while we are thankful no one was injured at Camden Yards, there is a far bigger picture for poor Americans in Baltimore and everywhere who don't haveI like most that he spoke of "families and Americans of all backgrounds". So often is there a separation of Americans, which mostly means white, and then Black Americans. I'm guilty of this too.
jobsand are losing economic, civil and legal rights and this … makes inconvenience at a ball game irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans."
So what does this have to do with education. Well I believe it has A LOT to do with education.
My targeted audience for this blog is anyone who is an educator, advocate, supporter, policy maker, parent, or even stands on the side of the opposition. Most often, you had a seemingly quality education, something you cherish to this day. It would be fair to say that you tried to stay almost out of trouble, or you got in just enough trouble where it landed you on punishment, but nothing to the extent of expulsion, arrest, or a jail sentence. Not only did you value your education, but you most likely valued whether your parents were disappointed in you or not, and you desired to please them. And lastly, it wasn't socially appropriate to participate in amoral crimes. Your friends weren't involved in it, so you most likely weren't.
This isn't the case for kids like the ones in the picture above. Keyword, kids, students, like ones you and I teach for at least 180 days out of the year.
Point blank, we have not given these students anything of value. We have not given them a reason to think twice about throwing that rock and landing them in a heap of trouble. We have robbed them of what is within their rights which is an equal opportunity for education.
The question can be asked, are schools supposed to fix everything? Of course not. As an educators, we are already inundated with a myriad of responsibilities to attend to. However, we are the staple community institution, that possesses the power to make a life altering influence on our children.
I must say, I don't blame my students for their often unruly behavior in the classroom. If you felt that your education was totally inaccessible to you, and didn't incorporate aspects of your life, you would place little to no value in it. During my year long student teaching I, as well as a colleague of mine, wondered, "So we do all this work on the inside, but how does it translate on the outside of these four walls?" And what I am coming to terms with, is that, for the masses, it doesn't. What long lasting impact will teaching my students how to multiply 2x2 digit numbers, if I am not able to supply them with life skills, and equip them with constructive strategies to manage their conflicts, and promote socially appropriate emotional responses, educate them using a curriculum that is most salient and relevant to them? What it seems we've been told is that it's not important because its not on the test.
Like our students, we are tested each time another life is stolen relentlessly at the hands of government, or another generation enters our classroom doors. With some, we have passed and helped to flourish, and others we get by with just the skin of our teeth. It has become apparent, that today, we are the failing this one, before they're even able to drive.