Schools are microcosms of American society, thus the education system in the United States reinforces the same systemic inequities found in society. From segregated schools after the abolition of slavery to state-sanctioned boarding schools for Native American children, schooling in the United States has a history of inequitable and destructive practices. The 1954 Brown v. Board decision mandated school desegregation, but many contested integrating Black, Brown, and White students. Additionally, housing policies such as redlining and school choice initiatives have resulted in schools becoming more segregated and with greater disparities in resources between schools.
In United States public schools, 80% of teachers are White. In contrast, more than half of the student body is comprised of people of color. Particularly if teachers have not considered their own racial identities, they risk further perpetuating inequities in their classrooms and in their teaching. Curricula also reinforces White culture and norms and historical accounts often whitewash the past.
This is a very brief history of racist practices in schooling in the United States. We must take a moment for self-reflection. How do we perpetuate systemic inequities in our own contexts? How might we do better?
Knowledge and understanding only becomes impactful when we use it by taking actionable steps. I would love to connect with like-minded music educators, build community together, and work toward creating tangible antiracist, decolonizing action plans we can use in our own contexts in our upcoming fall semesters and beyond. (link to Google Form)
Check Out These Resources:
This American Life: The Problem We All Live With
Education Talk Radio PreK-20: The Systemic Challenges in K12 Education During These Times of Social Unrest
Podcast Episodes Related to Education Complied by Dr. Molade Osibodu
The Score: White Fragility in Music Education
On the Web:
Education and Criminalization Do #BlackLivesMatter in Schools? - Subini Ancy Annamma, Ph. D.
Dear White Teachers: You Can't Love Your Black Students If You Don't Know Them - Bettina Love
10 Ways Well-Meaning White Teachers Bring Racism Into Our Schools
What White Colleagues Need to Understand - Clarice Brazas & Charlie McGeehan
Questions Academics Can Ask to Decolonize Their Classrooms – Shannon Morreira & Kathy Luckett
Education for Liberation Network: Repurposing Our Pedagogies June 2, 2020
Dinah, Put Down Your Horn: Blackface Minstrel Songs Don't Belong in Music Class - Dr. Katya Ermolaeva
Music Theory's White Racial Frame - Phil Ewell
Music Theory Examples by Women
Institute for Composer Diversity
Decolonizing the Music Room
Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom - Lisa Delpit
Educating Teachers for Diversity: Seeing with a Cultural Eye - Jacqueline Jordan Irvine
The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African-American Children - Gloria Ladson-Billings
We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom - Bettina Love
Feeling White: Whiteness, Emotionality, and Education - Cheryl Matias
Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies: Teaching and Learning for Justice in a Changing World - Django Paris and H. Samy Alim
What's Race Got to Do With It? How Current School Reform Policy Maintains Racial and Economic Inequality - edited by Bree Picower & Edwin Mayorga
White Women's Work: Examining the Intersectionality of Teaching, Identity, and Race - edited by Stephen D. Hancock & Chezare Warren
References to Statistics:
National Center for Education Statistics. (2013). Characteristics of public and private elementary and secondary school teachers in the United States. Retrieved from http://www.nces.ed.gov/pubs2013/2013314.pdf
National Center for Education Statistics. (2016). Racial/Ethnic Enrollment in public schools. Retrieved from http://www.nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cge.asp