The Digital Age.
A Post Racial Society.
These phrases have been used to describe our modern day society. As much as I want to believe that these words equate a change inchange, I always peer sideways and question how much of thise type of ideology has become praxis. Cultural acceptance and sensitivity is just that–a praxis. Unfortunately in our classrooms it really is often just rhetoric. In Norcross, elementary school students spent their time at home practicing math skills by determining how many beatings a slave would have weekly if he got beaten twice a day. I am speechless at the implications of what type of teachers and environment these students must have to learn in each day. My heart hurts.
Teachers described questions such as: “If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in 1 week?” as being cross-curricular. The planning was done to integrate social studies content with math. Unfortunately, that does not meet or even fit with the premise of cross curricular. These teachers either don’t understand the point of integration or just chose a ridiculous excuse for their culturally insensitive instructional choices.
The act of collaborating, discusssing, and typing up homework like this is perturbing. I try to imagine a group of teachers sitting and discussing this, then cosigning on these questions. Not one teacher stood up and saidm “Guys, let’s not do this. Let’s focus on the Social Studies standards, not beatings and slave cotton picking.”
Remove slavery as the subject and replace attrocities that are respected as being culturally protected by mainstream America. If a group of minority teachers wrote math questions about children in the Holocaust being killed or abused, imagine the outcry. If teachers wrote questions about 9-11 deaths into a math problem, imagine the outcry. The fact that this is brushed aside as a minor issue shows the devaluation of the African American narrative. “Oh, that was inappropriate. We will work on making better questions.”
You have a bigger problem than how you write questions. This speaks to a larger, more complex set of problems. Sadly for these teachers, you have to admit that there is a bigger problem in order to find real solutions.