Book Description - RACISM - 70'S STYLE

This is my Seventh book about life in public school classrooms that I have published through Xlibris. It is actually the first one I wrote because it was published in 1970. Rereading it I can recall my passion and anger as I wrote it. I saw first-hand how the Black children were mistreated and poorly educated.

Each chapter describes how that group or entity ...

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Racism 70's Style

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Book Description - RACISM - 70'S STYLE

This is my Seventh book about life in public school classrooms that I have published through Xlibris. It is actually the first one I wrote because it was published in 1970. Rereading it I can recall my passion and anger as I wrote it. I saw first-hand how the Black children were mistreated and poorly educated.

Each chapter describes how that group or entity systematically destroyed or seriously impaired the chances of the Black children to get an equal education.

I begin with how our superintendent in his yearly pep talk to all the district personnel informed us that we should not accept on our shoulders the fact that Black children were not learning as much as the Whites were. He relieved us of guilt and responsibility and placed the blame firmly on the shoulders of the Black parents.

The minority parents, no longer so cowed by "Whitey" or convinced their children were being properly educated placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of the teachers. They were backed by many militant Black organizations such as CORE, Congress Of Racial Equality.

The city of San Bernardino was a simmering cauldron of anger, hate, and fear. The power structure never had to deal with the outbursts and organized protests and the city was a powderkeg ready to explode. Racist feelings and racism were obvious, but neither side could admit that it was racist. I had developed contacts and friendships on both sides and I attempted to create communication channels between them. Even the superintendent met with me and I served on a committee to ease tensions.

The Black children were being used as soldiers on the front line, just as they had been in the South when forced integration began. I know the parents and the militants didn't want it that way, but there was no other way to get through to the "establishment." Children lost their fear and respect for their teachers and the classrooms in the minority schools were like prisons, but he inmates were now running the show.

Teachers in the minority schools, mostly excellent teachers in their other assignments, were at a loss about what to do. Violence was ongoing before school, in the classrooms, on the playgrounds, and after school. As it also had been, the violence was mostly directed Black against Black. It did spill over and teachers were realistically afraid of their own students.

At Muscott, a target school of the militants, we finally managed to clear away many of the people who didn't want to be there and we gradually developed programs that included the parents' and children's input. Utopia didn't happen, but more children became successful and they went on to better lives.

I brought the book from out-of-print status because I believe that reading this book will be a wake-up call for many. It is also an excellent gauge to measure how far we have come.

What are my suggestions to improve education?

1. Teachers need to understand who they are. By writing their philosophy of education they will began to understand what they believe. They should then take this philosophy and examine how it affects how they see the different children, how they view the curriculum, and how it defines their teaching approach or style.

2. Teachers need to understand that their growth as a teacher is dependent on how they deal with their mistakes and failures. If they can accept their mistakes as learning opportunities rather than failures, they will learn from them. As important, they will then be able to model this concept and to teach the children to realize that learning is not regurgitating facts correctly, but is exploration and discovery. In that process, making mistakes is the normal and critical feedback in gaining skills or understanding content.

3. Making mistakes will become equated with growth and teachers will be making many mistakes depending on how many different things they attempt. Therefore, their supervisors and evaluators need to be as cautious about nonproductive criticism as the teachers must be with the children. Evaluators should help the teachers understand who they are, what is the best teaching style for them, and then help them or direct them to sources or people who can best help them become the best they can be - not a clone of the evaluator or system.

4. Observers and evaluators of teachers should realize that how they treat the teachers is the model that will be consciously or unconsciously used in the teachers' treatment and education of the children.

5. Improvement, not perfection, should be the goal of everyone involved in education. With this concept, plus mistakes as learning opportunities, the pressures of arbitrary standards and expectations will be eased and joy and self-expression can become a major part of learning.

6. Children need time to be children, not just after school, but during school. My sixth graders learned complex materials during reading and science, but when the period was over they could, if they wanted to, play with dolls and Legos.

7. There must be time for the activities that make us human and joyful. The mad dash to assess academics only has left little time - or energy - for teachers to teach the arts, science, and physical education. These things not only make life more worthwhile, but also are the natural expressions of the very children who often are not doing well academically. By offering these activities for them to look forward to and experience every day, these children will have some success daily and then will be more willing to try those skills that are more difficult. As it stands they seldom experience any success and give up on academics, on school, on life.

8. California is in the process of making assessment instruments for the arts and then adding them more prominently to the curriculum. Big mistake. Arts by their very nature are creative and idiosyncratic. To assess them to make them more palatable to the public or legislators is to totally miss their place and value. We decry the influence of MTv, TV, and the Internet, but their influences would be diluted if we gave our children legitimate ways to express themselves in school and at home.

9. The Constitution and Bill of Rights are two documents that we proudly state reflect our individuality and national uniqueness. Yet, in our schools, the teachers' and students' rights are constantly violated. We need to make certain that every decision and action in the schools is first examined and filtered through these two documents. Many of our problems with minority cultures would immediately be resolved.

10. We are the most technologically sophisticated nation on earth. Our children are unafraid of and quickly learn and use it. The Establishment has not even learned how to use or allow teachers to learn and use TV and the VCR or the even older audio cassette player. The computer and all the new technology being created can make individualization of instruction an immediate reality. The testing and ongoing tracking of progress in all the basic skills could be done for a fraction of the cost in time, energy, and the frustration that it takes now in our horse and buggy mentality.

11. It means totally rethinking our conceptions of how much time is necessary for each child to learn each task, skill, or content.

12. It means rethinking about the space structures in schools and even where the most productive learning can take place. Some public school children might well spend only the time in class when the skill or content, like physical education or the exchange of ideas in science or literature, would be more productive in a small group or class. At other times they would be better off in a room alone at home or in a storefront or in a library.

13.Public s

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781462831630
  • Publisher: Xlibris Corporation
  • Publication date: 7/24/2001
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 177 KB

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