“Many people assume (incorrectly) that saying the word ‘racism’ creates racism, rather than creating conditions that enable us to understand and confront it.”
In my 14 years of teaching in a New York City public middle school, I’ve taught kids with incarcerated parents, abusive parents, neglectful parents; kids who are parents themselves; kids who are homeless or who live in crowded apartments in violent neighborhoods; kids who grew up in developing countries. They understand, more than I ever will, the novel’s terrible logic — the giving way of dreams to fate.
Of course no teacher disputes the necessity of being able to read for information. But if literature has no place in these tests, and if preparation for the tests becomes the sole goal of education, then the reading of literature will go out of fashion in our schools.
When it comes to education, there should be no borders – only rights. Organizations like the Red Cross and Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) do not recognize borders in the provision of health care. Yet when it comes to education, the international community’s commitment to the rights of children is weakest in precisely those conflict-affected states where support is most urgently needed.