David Kirkland on Urban Education

David Kirkland: I think
the conversation around urban education has to
change and it has to change in this way. It has to be less
about, you know, a set of crisis narratives and more about the things
that people are doing. Let's call them
best practices or master practices,
whatever you want to call them. The things that people
are doing, the agency that people bring into
their situations to make those situations better. We need to begin to study that, tell those stories, interrupt the deficit narratives. Urban education is
almost always cast as this crisis narrative and what that does it
does at least three things. One thing that it does
it suggests that you know the schools that these
people go to and I say these people because it's very much
an othering of people who go to urban schools. The schools that they go to
should be pity or distrain that that has become national policy. Let's close those
failing schools and when we close those failing schools we leave those
communities without schools and we leave this the kids within those communities,
We leave them as refugees, refugees who go into other places and they get othered
again, within those other places and the research suggests that they don't do
better in these other places in fact they become the underclass within these
othered schools they become the stigmatized groups within these other,
othered schools. So instead of you know fixing schools and fixing our
communities we abandon them and the people who live in them. The other issue
you know, um, with that
crisis narrative is that you know it promotes a sense of
internalized you know, um oppression.
People begin to feel badly about themselves and their
situations and the irony is they're feeling badly about
themselves in their situations while they're constantly
working in other ways to improve those
situations like most people do, yet that
story never gets told. So that internalized
oppression usually, um becomes a self-fulfilling
prophecy. And, and the third thing is
when we you know settle on that crisis narrative the
crisis narrative itself reinforces itself
because all we see and all we can do is pity you know, um,
urban schools and this too becomes like a deficit
perspective. The idea then, you know, of interrupting the
crisis narrative what I would
consider more profit narratives or profit perspectives
of urban schools, become you know even more important
because in every community that we
go into where we think that there are
problems there are people who are working on those problems. We need to
know their stories. And not only within
those communities are people working on those problems they found
solutions that we need to get behind that we need to
understand, that we need to resource. A lot of things
can happen if we don't
write off urban schools in urban communities and if we look deeply within
urban schools and urban
communities for you know the types of rich, valuable you
know practices that are taking
place you know from the sheer effect of people's

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