Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ask an intelligent question and get chased out of a public school

Reading Frederick Douglass in Rochester tell a sad story of a young black girl who questioned the value of public schools and was chased out of school.  Here is the start of the column:

Here is a sincere question: Why have the good people of Rochester, N.Y., failed to tar and feather school superintendent Bolgen Vargas as a prelude to running him out of town on a rail?

Mr. Vargas is fortunate enough to have in his charge one Jada Williams, a 13-year-old eighth grader who voluntarily took on some difficult extra work: reading Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life and writing an essay on the subject. Frederick Douglass is dangerous reading, truly radical stuff. Miss Williams, like most of the students in her dysfunctional school, is black. Most of the people being paid to go through the motions of teaching them are white. Coming across the famous passage in which Douglass quotes the slavemaster Auld, Miss Williams was startled by the words: “If you teach that nigger (speaking of myself) how to read, there will be no keeping him. It will forever unfit him to be a slave. He would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master.” The situation seemed to her familiar, and her essay was a blistering indictment of the failures of the largely white faculty of her school: “When I find myself sitting in a crowded classroom where no real instruction is taking place I can say history does repeat itself.”

Go read the rest of the coloum.

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