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But the issues the podcast raises via this one case study make it a meaningful opportunity to explore the complicated realities of race, privilege and power across all American schools. Whether you are a group of parents, a family or an educator with students, we hope you use this discussion guide to investigate how race and racism, sometimes overtly and sometimes very quietly, play a powerful role in our educational system — and to thoughtfully consider: What should we be doing to make sure our schools provide a quality education for all children?
Beautiful black girl seeking ongoing companion on these three big-idea questions before you listen to the podcast. Then revisit them after you finish the series. Notice if any of your responses change. What should be the goal of public education, and why?
What does it mean for schools to be truly integrated? Who benefits from integration, and in what ways? Why do you think every child in the United States does not have access to a quality education? What can we do to change that inequality? Before listening, reflect on your own identity and experiences as you enter this discussion. How did your identity, including your racial identity, affect your experience in school? What has your educational experience been so far? How do you think your racial identity affects your experience in school?
Do you know what your family believes about education? Have you ever spoken with your family about their beliefs on education? Do you have questions about those beliefs? Do you share those beliefs? For all listeners … Do you think public education is working in your community?
In what ways, and for whom? What about in your larger region or metropolitan area? How do you know? What do you think could be improved or changed? What are your associations with the title? Use any of the following questions, some adapted from our weekly Film Club series, to promote discussion and reflection about the podcast and how its themes relate to your own family and community. The first set of questions may be used to react to any episode.
The second set is specific to each episode. We imagine that discussion groups will pick and choose the most appropriate, relevant and interesting questions from this list to foster productive conversations.
What moments in this episode stood out for you? Were there any surprises? Anything that challenged what you know, or thought you knew? What messages, emotions or ideas will you take away from this episode? What questions do you still have? What connections can you make between this episode and your own life or experience?
The first episode looks at what happens when a group of white parents who are new members of a school community assert their power and agenda in a school whose student body is predominately Black, Latino and Middle Eastern. School Admissions: Episode One begins with school tours. Have you ever seen — or participated in — a school tour? What do you notice about these tours? What do you know about how your school does admissions? Students: What questions do you have about where you go to school compared with where other people in your community go to school? What kinds of conversations, if any, are had?
Why do you think issues of race so often go unspoken? School Choice: New York City public schools offer parents choice. Rather than requiring students to attend their local elementary, middle or high school, families typically can choose from a of options.
In fact, students participating in the high school admissions process are given a phone-book-size directory listing over schools. Do you think this kind of choice empowers families and children and strengthens the public school system as a whole?
Or does it perpetuate inequality and segregation? In your mind, what does a diverse school look like? What does an integrated school look like? Do they look the same? Is any racial group a majority, in your vision of diversity and integration? Do you think other people of different backgrounds share your vision — or do you think their vision might look different?
On its surface, how can there be anything wrong with raising tens of thousands of dollars for a school? About holding a fancy fund-raising gala? But as we listen, there are moments of awkwardness, resentment and anger.
What went wrong? How do these moments of tension relate to the larger issues of race and social class? Was this disconnect between the new families and the existing families inevitable? What do you think has value in your school? Are they the same things that you value? Power: By the end of Episode One, white, Black and brown children are attending the same school. The parents are in the same room. Race, social class and power got in the way.
Does that ever happen in your school or district? Everything that goes into making thousands of schools run for years and years is sitting in boxes in the municipal building. I love the B. First of all, to look through it, you have to go to a century-old municipal building downtown.
You sit at a table, and then a librarian rolls your boxes up to you on a cart. Inside the boxes are all the dramas of a school system. Miss Fitzgerald says, when I go in the army, I will be expendable. I do not like to be expendable. I came to the Board of Ed archive after I attended the gala thrown by the French embassy, the fundraiser for SIS organized by the new upper-class white families coming into the school.
Everyone was talking as if this was the first time white parents were taking an interest in the School for International Studies. White parents had invested in the school before, way before, at the very beginning of the school. Before the beginning. I found a folder labeled I. And this folder was filled with personal letters to the president of the Beautiful black girl seeking ongoing companion York City Board of Education, a man named Max Rubin, pleading with him to please make I.
Rubin, my husband and I were educated in public schools, and we very much want for our children to have this experience. However, we also want them to attend a school which will give them a good education, and today, that is synonymous with an integrated school. Rubin, as a resident of Cobble Hill, a teacher and a parent, I want my child to attend schools which are desegregated. I do not want her to be in a situation in which she will be a member of a small, white, middle-income clique.
At issue was where the school was going to be built. The Board of Education was proposing to build the school right next to some housing projects. The school would be almost entirely Black and Puerto Rican. Put it closer to the white neighborhood. That way, all our kids can go to school together. These parents wanted the school built in what was known as a fringe zone. This was a popular idea at the time, fringe schools to promote school integration. Comes up in the letters.
Rubin, this neighborhood is changing with the influx of a middle-class group which is very interested in public education for their children. This is why SIS is located where it is today, on the fringe, closer to the white side of town, so that it would be integrated. I tried to imagine who these people were — young, idealistic white parents living in Brooklyn in the s, feeling good about the future.
They would have had their children around the time the Supreme Court ruled on Brown versus Board of Education. They probably followed the news of the Civil Rights Movement unfolding down South. Maybe they were supporters or active in the movement themselves. One of my favorite letters was from a couple who left the suburbs to come to New York City for integration, the opposite of white flight.
Rubin, we have recently moved into the home we purchased at the above Beautiful black girl seeking ongoing companion in Cobble Hill. It was our hope in moving into the neighborhood that our children would enjoy the advantages of mixing freely with children of other classes and races, which we were not able to provide to them when we lived in a Westchester suburb.
We had moved to Scarsdale for the children, because Scarsdale has the best — it probably still does — the best school system in the country, but we hated it. We found that we were bored to death with it. It was bland.
It was just homogeneous. So they moved to Brooklyn and wrote that letter, which I showed her, her year-old self writing about her hopes for her young children, the choices she made back then. But it sounds as though I was fairly impassioned about it. You know, that it meant something. I went through this box of letters and called as many parents as I could. What I did find surprising is that, by the time opened, five years later, none of them, not a one, actually sent their kids to I. In the s, much like today, white people were surrounded by a movement for the civil rights of Black Americans.
White people were forced to contend with systemic racism. And here was a group of white parents who supported the movement for school integration, threw their weight behind it. What happened in those five years betweenwhen these white parents planted an impassioned pro-integration flag on the school, andwhen it came time to enroll their children? These white parents who wanted an integrated I. They were part of a bigger story unfolding around them. I want to zoom out to that dramatic story because it takes us right up to the moment these parents wrote their letters, and then made the decision not to send their kids to the school.
Back in the s, the New York City Board of Ed was not one of those boring bureaucracies that chugs along in the background, keeping its head down. It had personality. It invested in self-image.Beautiful black girl seeking ongoing companion
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