Friday Feedback: “LAUSD’s Apartheid Hall of Shame (Part One)”

Each Friday, LA Progressive presents a comment we editors find to be most profound, insightful, or just plain irritating.

This week, Sylvia Pardo comments on Sikivu Hutchinson’s article, “LAUSD’s Apartheid Hall of Shame (Part One)“.

Sylvia Pardo writes, “I have taught 18 years in LAUSD as a 1st grade teacher in 2 different schools. In both schools black students were about 10% of the population. Without fail each year the 1 or 2 black children placed in our classes were nearly always the ones who fought with other children, had severe classroom behavior issues, could not adjust to classroom rules, and did not respond to positive encouragement for appropriate behavior. Neither school wanted to suspend these students for their violent outbursts which often injured other students. The well-behaved students are forced to sit in classrooms with uncivilized children that are extremely disruptive. Why is that?”

After seeing and reading Ms. Prado’s comment, Sharon Kyle responded. Her response can be found below. In it, Ms. Kyle references the work of Jane Elliott. An excerpt of a documentary on the work of Jane Elliott is embedded just below this post.

Sharon Kyle’s response to Sylvia Prado

“Why is that? Is this is a rhetorical question? If so, disregard my response.

If your goal, in posting this question, is to get to the bottom of this issue, I suggest you go to Jane Elliott’s site. This world reknown, award winning teacher can help you to understand what you are witnessing. If you are serious go to: http://www.janeelliott.com

I will say that the behavior you say you’ve observed over 18 years is the product of a complex set of conditions. Many factors come into play to produce your observation not the least of which is the attitude of the teacher.”

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Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for the reference to Elliot’s work. I think that the paternalistic characterization of “disruptive” black students as “uncivilized” speaks volumes about the educator’s notions of the cultural orientation of African American youth. Why is it necessary to dismiss youth of any cultural background as uncivilized???

    These kinds of characterizations dovetail neatly with the dominant culture’s view of black students as criminal, dysfunctional and ineducable. As I noted in my research, disparate treatment of African American students cuts across class, income, and “ability” levels. There is no empirical national evidence that black students disproportionately act out; however there is myriad national evidence that adults in school communities persistently “type” black students as defiant and disruptive based upon a failure to employ culturally responsive classroom management and instructional strategies.

    Instead of demonizing the “one or two” black students who disrupt the class and impede the progress of the “good” non-black students in the school why not ask what needs to change in the school-community culture to academically support and culturally reinforce the 10% of African American students who may not see themselves represented in adult leadership, in the community, in the curriculum, etc.???

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