Sunday, July 11, 2010
More on Privilege and Busing
And today I read about the current conditions in Haiti. It reminds me of the use of the continuum that we would use over and over again to describe situations in my last job at a college. Privilege is a continuum, with the displaced people in Haiti towards one end, and me towards the other end. Someone with little privilege has such a little chance to be thinking of much more than whether or not a car or truck will smash into their tent situated between two lanes of a road. For me, I had support all along, laced with both love and intelligence. I always had what I needed, and was only limited by my diligence.
Kate suggested in her comment to my last post "busing" (can be one "s" or two, in case you are interested). I remember that a number of kids were bused to my daughter's nearby (and then thriving) school. The school created special classes for the under prepared students, and in the mornings and afternoons these students always hung out together. Were they better off? Now they were in an environment where they were not as good as the others.
There are no simple solutions, but there are entire school districts who are able to close the achievement gap. Supposedly it takes three years of excellent teaching to make a difference for a kid. It is a slow process, and unfortunately, the success of "best practices" are sometimes hard to replicate. Years ago, one education professor told me about one study where both successful and unsuccessful teachers were told to employ a variety of strategies in their teaching. Guess what? The successful teachers continued to succeed, and the unsuccessful teachers did not.
I tried (and failed) to convince my students that it was better to be able to appreciate a sidewalk than to own a yacht. With the sidewalk t...