Education Post Lockdown

Our educational indoctrination system is struggling to adjust itself in terms of how best to administer America’s curriculum following the onset of COVID-19 in 2020 and its challenges. Numerous questions still abound and need to be resolved in order to invigorate a system that was temporarily crippled from providing its traditional in-person instructional services. For example, many educators and parents are collaborating on the most effective strategies for reopening schools this fall after last year’s forced at home lockdown. Fortunately, our teachers finally got the green light for the vaccine after some politicians initially did not designate them as essential workers for the vaccine. Educators are also discussing how to properly assess children academically after this unprecedented experience. Research is already showing that some students have fallen painfully below accepted benchmarks for their grade levels. Underneath all the remaining questions, however, lies the same fundamental commitment to provide a “quality” education for ALL students regardless of class, race and learning abilities etc. Our country’s efforts to reopening schools is commendable but 2021 also “unveiled” cracks in the foundation of this indoctrination system forcing many to question whether there is room for radical improvement. After all, shouldn’t the educational system evolve and CHANGE if it is found to be lacking?

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Texas Middle School Accused of Discriminating 
Against Black Student’s Hairstyle 
A Texas school district is being accused of discriminating 
against an 8th grade Black student’s hairstyle. The student 
was required to cut his hair in March 2021 then given in-school 
suspension because of his longer hairstyle. His parents have 
enlisted the help of attorney to fight what they believe 
is a discriminatory dress code policy and unfair punishment.

There can be no doubt that educators have a vast array of tools and strategies for how best to support children in their pursuit of a quality education. While numerous topics could be debated now, we still have yet to tackle one very key central issue. What does it mean to be an educated American in a diverse country?After the national events of 2020, to ponder this question philosophically takes one on an interesting journey related to the accuracy of the educational curriculum/content presented to students as well as a review of the mind-set (fixed or growth) of our educators. In the past, I have advocated that the content used in the indoctrination process should be free from the presence of racism and conscious/unconscious biases. The same concerns have now become even more critical when examining the individuals responsible for educating our children especially since the pandemic seems to have “unhinged” many to freely demonstrate and express personal biases openly. More than ever, we need to know that the best and brightest teachers, who also have the moral fortitude to nurture and challenge our children, are being hired and provided with the tools that will allow them to educate our diverse student population – – without prejudice, unfairness or bias. We should no longer tolerate or reinforce past historical inaccuracies and untrUths to perpetuate a system that no longer serves the greater good of our multicultural society.

Teacher’s profane, racist rant captured on 
video by mother of Black sixth-grader in Palmdale.
In Zoom call that went awry, a magnet school science 
teacher describes a mother and son as “two pieces of s***”.  
“He’s black, they’re black!” said the teacher.

Throughout this second quarter of 2021, I’ve loosely monitored national reports about our children’s experience during the hybrid learning models used as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown. Many students have found remote learning difficult especially since they possess various learning abilities and have not fully mastered self-regulation via sitting in front of a computer for hours (unless it’s an exciting video game). There can be no doubt that we will continue to see some wide discrepancies in the learning gap in the core subjects (reading, math and science). While this fact is disconcerting, it is not the main thing that concerns me at this moment. The most important unknown element is the mental state and mind-set of our educators upon returning. We cannot tolerate any form of “unconscious bias” especially when children have been through so much this past year. They need individuals who truly believe in the inherit value of ALL children to perform at their highest personal best irrespective of race, class, gender etc. Surprisingly, stories have consistently arisen where students are being subjected to prejudicial  and racist comments, assessments and treatment from educators.

Oklahoma Teacher Placed on Administrative Leave After 
Video Shows Her Calling Black Student N-Word.
An Oklahoma teacher was caught on camera 
using a racial slur has been placed on administrative 
leave by her district.

The definition of indoctrination” involves the process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs or ideas without critically thinking or questioning.  Many suggest a simpler way of defining the word is to call it “brain washing.” Why is is necessary to bring this up in the context of this post? Perhaps if we could dismantle the old system of indoctrination to expand beyond historical beliefs and ideas about race, we would surpass the “third wall” that currently exists within our curriculums and instructional paradigms infecting the American psyche (racial beliefs and biases). We would have the opportunity to RE-IMAGINE what it means to be an “Educated American” in the broadest since of the human definition. It goes beyond the basics of reading and writing into the realm of inspiring young people to think for themselves beyond past historical falsehoods (racial politics and stereotypes). Whether we like it or not, we are being challenged to produce an educational indoctrination system representative of our collective, diverse American culture. Past historical prejudices and biases no longer serve the greater good in the post 2020 education model nor does it fit within our Nu Amẹríkàn vision for the future. Respecting the diversity and humanity of our students along with teaching them to use their own intellects and intuition irrespective of the personal beliefs of ”other,” IS an important step in this process. 

Kids ‘R’ Kids terminated the contract of 
a preschool location in Georgia. 
After a viral photo surfacing showing white 
kids eating while Black children were forced 
to wait for their food, parents were outraged 
over the desperate treatment. The image was
taken from a surveillance system that is 
accessible by parents via mobile apps.

The only question that remans is how DEEP are we willing to CHANGE and evolve once this lockdown (both mental and physical) is over. It cannot remain business as usual with all the issues glaringly “unveiled”. We have already been forced to adjust how education was delivered. It is now time to dive deeper into the type of “indoctrination” being administered and by whom. It is indeed possible to RE-IMAGINE our educational system state by state, district by district, teacher by teacher, book by book to address historical biases (both conscious and unconscious) so that ALL children gain respect for “others” irrespective of race, class, gender etc. We must simply be willing to expose and CHANGE the inaccuracies, untrUths and anything not representative of our common humanity (biases, prejudices etc). It is not going to happen overnight but the pendulum is starting to swing itself forward within the educational system after more instances of racism have been exposed as our nationwide lockdown started to open. At the very least, we can say that this particular school lockdown (not a fire drill lockdown, active shooter lockdown etc.) could have a significant impact triggering the possibilities for radical CHANGE within our educational indoctrination system, for the better, in more than 50 years since the historic case of Brown v. Board of Education. Now wouldn’t that be unbelievable?

Racism is a scourge in American society. 
It’s also a serious public health threat. The CDC 
has “unveiled” a new website “Racism and Health” 
that will serve as the agency’s hub for education, 
dialogue and directives dealing with the critical issue. 
Racism, defined by the CDC, is a “system – consisting
of structures, policies, practices, and norms—that 
assigns value and determines opportunity based on the 
way people look or the color of their skin.” It results 
in unfair conditions that provide advantages for 
some and disadvantage for others throughout society.

^^^^

New Headlines

Posted 4/20/21 – Angry Students And Parents Slam School Board After “Slave Sale” Flyers Found Near Aledo Schools: Students and their parents are beside themselves in anger and outrage after it was discovered that white children were engaging in a “slave sale” at Aledo, Texas schools. According to Dallas News, flyers that promoted “Great Sale of Slaves” were found around the neighborhoods and parks that surround Aledo High School and McAnally Intermediate School. A week ago, several of the participants in this heinous social media “game” were disciplined by the overseeing school board.

Posted 4/25/21- South Dakota High School Rodeo Club Cancels Annual “Slave Auction” Fundraiser: A high school rodeo club in the tiny South Dakota town of Faith has finally decided to end its annual “Slave/Branding Auction” after decades. According to multiple reports, images of the flyer for the event, which was set to be hosted by the Faith High School Rodeo Club, surfaced on social media. The flyer read, “AUCTION. Faith High School Rodeo Club’s Slave/Branding Auction. Pancake Supper – 5:30 p.m. Slave/Branding Auction – 6:30 p.m. Followed by a Pie Auction. April 26, 2021. Legion Hall. Faith, SD. “Slave auctions” have been held in numerous communities in the state for over the past 10 years. In the auction, a rodeo member is sold off to the highest bidder to complete chores.

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