Samina

  • Revised Draft
    Samina Shahidi
    Drs. Barabino and Kirschner/ FA17 MALS 70300
    Lightening Round, B

    The New Education by C. N. Davidson

    “The Department of Justice is Overseeing the Resegregation of American Schools” by E. Felton, with additional reporting from Nic…[Read more]

  • Samina Shahidi                                                                                  Drs. Barabino and Kirschner/ FA17 MALS 70300
    Lightening Round, B
    The New Education by C. Davidson
    “The Departme […]

    • Revised Draft
      Samina Shahidi
      Drs. Barabino and Kirschner/ FA17 MALS 70300
      Lightening Round, B

      The New Education by C. N. Davidson

      “The Department of Justice is Overseeing the Resegregation of American Schools” by E. Felton, with additional reporting from Nicole Lewis

      Organizing toward a higher education system that ensures that the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling to desegregate school systems in the United States requires the consensus of city, state, country and federal institutions. That commitment and consensus must also include the communities disempowered and empowered by segregation policy, and active governmental oversight of desegregating schools and school systems. Emmanuel Felton, in an investigative piece in The Nation magazine entitled “The Department of Justice is Overseeing the Resegregation of American Schools” tells us that we are losing this crucial fight.

      Much research points to advantages of desegregation. In example, better resources directly impact the quality of education received by working class white and of color communities, especially when they are enrolled in programs with students coming from higher income communities. Middle and upper income communities also benefit from integrated institutions in “softer” ways. What happens in schools that are not racially diverse and class stratified? In high income areas, better resources continue to support students. For working class communities, funding and resources fall short. Felton’s analysis asks us to think about the relationship between segregation and educational systems to college, particularly in rural Americans[1]. His piece, “The DOJ…” foregrounds two parents, Leslie Williams and David Salters who represent working class communities whose children will be attending the same high school they had attended, Gardendale High School in Alabama. Williams is an African American mother who is fighting to keep Gardendale integrated, whereas Salters spearheaded a parents group that is campaigning to start a school that will serve a primarily white community. The spaces that these families and communities reflect and reinforce racial stratification. Williams’s own experience of attending a segregated African American faith based school did not limit her college career in an Alabama state university. However, Williams wants her children to have the experience of a better resourced Gardendale, which is more possible if the school retains a white student body. Salter’s educational experience demonstrates his estrangement from his learning process and is marked by his struggle through work and college to get his BA. His motives are aspirational; he wants his children to join a higher income bracket and professionalization. Williams also wants this for her children.

      Williams’s perspective on Gardendale resonates with DuBois’s lens of double consciousness. Desegregation means better lives for the African American students of Gardendale. The opposite of under-resourced and segregated schools for African America, Latino and children of varying citizenry has disproportionate impact on underserved communities, argue advocates for our current abolition and prison reform movement. Segregated residences and schools run disturbingly parallel to the growing and lucrative industry of private prisons and detention centers.[2] While Felton’s piece does not explicate these serious developments, the carceral system is now connected to our educational systems. According to the anthology Beyond Walls and Cages: Prisons, Borders, and Global Crisis, one in every ten people will serve a prison sentence.

      Felton’s investigation reveals a profound lack of judicial oversight in monitoring several schools mandated to segregate. This is occuring in tandem with white majority districts ceding from integrated schools to start “racially identifiable” schools. The communities establishing segregated spaces are supported variously by political representatives such as former Senator Scott Beason, who has made racist and violent comments about African Americans and Latino-Americans and undocumented communities. The resegregation movement arguably wins campaigns to resegregate based on judicial interpretation, lack of human resources, and the crumbling abilities of other legal and community representatives to actively and effectively support desegregation. Additionally, the interpretation of desegregation law may not always work out to the advantages of integrated educational spaces; witness former President Obama appointee Judge Haikala’s grappling with the Gardendale case. Finally, presidential administrations also play a determining role in how the Department of Justice upholds Supreme Court rulings and interpretations. Felton warns us that our current administration is expected to undo any gains made by the DOJ.

      How then might higher education play an interventionary role in meeting the needs of working class, African American and of color students? Warranted fear about how our country’s children echoes down a corridor that starts with kindergarden and ends with college . Williams and Salter attend the same state university, and graduate with the fear that their children will not be able to flourish or surpass their respective achievements. As most Americans and global citizens, they are aware of what doors a prestige degree might open for their children. Felton describes a career and technical education (CTE) center that becomes a magnet school for many parents and students in their county. While desegregation and resegregation are forefront, the curriculum and action of a CTE is not lost on residents. Cathy N. Davidson writes in The New Education, that there are many advantages to integrated educations. They include continuing the democratic project of the United States which the rights of citizenship, voice and social action. Community colleges serve as CTES on a college level, offering students pathways to develop working experience, training, and pathways to meaningful careers.[3] Within the City University of New York system, community colleges and a growing number of programs are collaborating with city agencies, research, civic, labor and grassroots organizations and CUNY communities to create these learning spaces.

      How might CUNY continue to explore spaces of integration in all the boroughs that our system serves? How might city universities explore these questions with rural working class communities?

      Davidson, C. N. (2017). The New Education. New York: Basic Books; Hachette Book Group.

      Felton, E. (2017, September 6). The Department of Justice is Overseeing the Resegregation of American Schools. The Nation Magazine.

      Legal Information Institute. (2017, September 13). Retrieved from Cornell Law School: https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/347/483

      Loyd, J., Michaelson, M., & Burridge, A. (Eds.). (2012). Beyond Walls and Cages: Prisons, Borders, and Global Crisis. Athens, Georgia: University of Goergia Press.

      [1] (Felton, 2017)

      [2] (Loyd, Michaelson, & Burridge, 2012)

      [3] (Davidson, 2017)

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