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Hands Behind Your Back

Dear readers,

I couldn’t resist this excerpt from an article in Teachers College Record, entitled Hands Behind Your Back by Samina Hadi-Tabassum  in the January 27th on-line edition. This commentary addresses turn around schools in Chicago.

“Throughout the day, an immense amount of time and energy is spent making sure young African American children are taught to obey. In one particular school, my graduate student had to go to the restroom so I walked her students down to the cafeteria. Even in the cafeteria, children are not allowed to talk to each other. I made the foolish mistake of having a conversation with a table of first-grade girls when another teacher came over to me and yelled out “you do not talk during lunch.” At first, I was going to laugh aloud thinking the teacher was being sarcastic. It was quite disheartening to realize after a few minutes that this young Caucasian teacher had been indoctrinated by her school to think African American and Latina/o American children should not be allowed to talk at the lunch table. Whenever the students are given any time to actually act like children on the playground, they are often admonished for “acting like animals” when they return back to their prison-like classrooms.”

She describes, in contrast, the public schools her own children attend and the reactions her students who are assigned to this particular school.  They are horrified but afraid to say anything.

Where did this ideology come from?  It’s old and I thought long since discredited.  It’s hardly consistent with the idea of students who have grit, independence, self-initiative, can handle uncertainties, engage in critical thinking, and collaborate with their peers, etc.

Why not try it out for a week in Winnetka, or Scarsdale, or on Obama’s or Duncan’s children before imposing it on mostly poor Black children.

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One Response

  1. No the way to educate students for active, constructive citizenship

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