Friday, July 05, 2013

@TCFKSM: More episodes of schooling in a not so "post-racial" America

First published on @TCFKSM on July 5, 2013

Imagine the impact if Obama spoke out emphatically against racism in other aspects of U.S. society. Unfortunately, all too often, Obama and others in the Black elite, along with liberals in the Democratic Party, avoid discussing race and racism, even when it is evident and obvious. — Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Neither of these items are breaking news, but I just got around to this because I've been so busy trying to finish my Villaraigosa piece for LA Progressive.

First there's this article in Black Girl With Long Hair about a charter school that banned "Afro-puffs and small twisted braids, with or without rubberbands." The news went viral, and the charter quickly reversed its course and issued a boilerplate apology.

Actually the original piece didn't mention that Horizon Science Academy Lorain was a privately managed charter school, I'm the one that looked that up before tweeting. Something about the name of the charter got me thinking, and on a lark I decided to dig little deeper. Horizon Science Academy Lorain is run by the Concept Schools Charter Management Organization (CMO). Concept Schools is part of the Gülenist Movement. Sharon Higgins' longer piece entitled Concept Schools, Illinois, and the Gulen Movement, has caused Concept Schools so much consternation that they created a page on their site to try and deflect criticism.

When I first started reading Schools Matter, I noticed Professor Horn often used the phrase "cultural sterilization," which struck me as the most germane way to describe how both corporate charters and the neoliberal education reform project treated children in general. Charter schools banning hairstyles popular in the African American community is no different than Dave Levin and Mike Feinberg's KIPP schools forcing children of color to learn culturally unresponsive pedagogy.

Next, there's this interesting tweet. Mr. Biondo transcribes the sign incorrectly, it says "CAN I KEEP MY SCHOOL NOW??" An important distinction. At first glance I saw the #CPSClosings hashtag indicating that the young woman was protesting Rahm Emanuel's racist school closures in Chicago, but then I also noticed the #phillyeducation hashtag meaning the tweet was also in reference to the equally racist leadership of Philadelphia closing their schools.

It's poignant social commentary when a child is astute enough to understand the irony of wearing "white face" in response to racist school closures. Scary part is, with that mask she'd probably be able to get into Mike McGalliard's exclusive Los Angeles based boutique Metro Charter. Being melanin deficient is pretty much a requirement for the exclusive upscale private school taking public money.

A reminder about racist school closures


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