25137, great post|
Posted by akon, Tue Mar-15-05 01:52 AM
my two cents..
education should definitely be relevant to the community or society. it seems that most curricula is based on someone's idea of what children should learn in school. so you could be growing up in some remote corner of africa, your community is, say.. pastoralists, but at the school you go to, they're trying to teach you chemistry. its clearly not relevant to your lifestyle. instead it produces kids that *have to go out of their communities in order to *reap the benefits of their education. i think this is wrong. we need to center schools in the community (as you said). because instead of maintaining the diversity that this earth depends on, we are all learning to lead one lifestyle. i think that's why its so difficult for us to even try and fight western "civilisation". you start learning it at age 6.
that said... here's an article from the economist that i thought was .. interesting to say the least. it talks about the problem of underachievement of afro-caribbean kids in britain. and argues against the idea of teaching black kids separately from whites because some study, showed that white kids were doing worse than blacks... so, "whites need help just as badly."
When i was in london and talking to some sudanese kids about their experiences in school, it sounded like they were facing many instances of racism. (and granted, it mighta just been this particular school, who im i to say?). but to whitewash the problem by stating that "whites need help just as badly", i feel underscores the race problem because in another article in the same edition, it states; "Black children are treated more harshly when they misbehave (in 2002-03, Afro-Caribbean children were three times as likely to be expelled as white Britons). Teachers are too white, as is the curriculum"
its interesting that curriculum is mentioned here, but in irony and does not account for the fact that afro-caribbean kids probably should have a curriculum specifically designed to address their cultural viewpoint.
i hope im not spinning off the post. i didn't want to be guilty of creating another post on a much similar topic. and once i think of some other curricula ideas i'll come back and post.. but after i read all the replies, dont want to seem redundant.
but great post, uta.
here's the article
Mar 10th 2005
From The Economist print edition
It's the natives, not the immigrants, that are the problem
WHITE people tend to be nervous of raising the subject of race and education, but are often voluble on the issue if a black person brings it up. So when Trevor Phillips, chairman of Britain's Commission for Racial Equality, said that there was a particular problem with black boys' performance at school, and that it might be a good idea to educate them apart from other pupils, there was a torrent of comment. Some of it commended his proposal, and some criticised it, but none of it questioned its premise. Everybody accepts that black boys are a problem.
On the face of it, it looks as though Mr Phillips is right. Only 27% of Afro-Caribbean boys get five A-C grades at GCSE, the exams taken by 16-year-olds, compared with 47% of boys as a whole and 44% of Afro-Caribbean girls. Since, in some subjects, candidates who score less than 50% get Cs, those who don't reach this threshold have picked up pretty little at school.
Mr Phillips's suggestion that black boys should be taught separately implies that ethnicity and gender explain their underachievement. Certainly, maleness seems to be a disadvantage at school. That's true for all ethnic groups: 57% of girls as a whole get five A-Cs, compared with 47% of boys. But it's not so clear that blackness is at the root of the problem.
Among children as a whole, Afro-Caribbeans do indeed perform badly. But Afro-Caribbeans tend to be poor. So to get a better idea of whether race, rather than poverty, is the problem, one must control for economic status. The only way to do that, given the limits of British educational statistics, is to separate out the exam results of children who get free school meals: only the poor get free grub.
Poor children's results tell a rather different story (see article). Afro-Caribbeans still do remarkably badly, but whites are at the bottom of the pile. All ethnic minority groups do better than them. Even Bangladeshis, a pretty deprived lot, do twice as well as the natives in their exams; Indians and Chinese do better still. And absolute numbers of underperforming whites dwarf those of underperforming Afro-Caribbeans: last year, 131,393 of white boys failed to hit the government's benchmark, compared with 3,151 Afro-Caribbean boys.
These figures suggest that, at school at least, black people's problem is not so much race as poverty. And they undermine the idea of teaching black boys separately, for if poor whites are doing worse than poor blacks, there's not much argument for singling out blacks for special measures: whites need help just as badly.
It's a nice thought
This isn't, however, a message that anybody much wants to hear. Many white people find the idea that there's something fundamentally wrong with black people comforting: it confirms deeply held prejudices and reassures them that a whole complex of social problems—starting with underachievement in schools, but leading on to unemployment, drug addiction and crime—is nothing to do with them.
The race-relations industry also has an interest in explaining educational underachievement in terms of ethnicity. A whole raft of committees, commissions and task forces has been set up on the assumption that racial differences are a fundamental cause of social problems. If that's wrong, then all those worthies might as well pack up and go home.
Trying to explain educational underachievement away as a racial issue may be comforting and convenient, but it is also dangerous, for it distracts attention from the real problem—that the school system fails the poor. That's not a black problem or a white problem: it's a British problem.