A 8th grader’s incendiary essay comparing today’s education system to slavery is causing a firestorm of controversy in her upstate New York community.
13 year-old Jada Williams,writing an essay on Frederick Douglass for a contest, made the very astute analysis that packing 30-40 students into a crowded classroom, and having mostly white teachers give them packets and pamphlets to complete that they don’t fully comprehend, impedes the learning process; and that this produces results similar to those hoped for by a slave master that forbids his slaves from learning how to read at all.
Jada’s point is that nothing has really changed since the days of Frederick Douglass; “the same old discrimination still resides in the hearts of the white man.”
Jada’s essay infuriated teachers and administrators at her school, who launched a campaign of harassment against the young lady.
“Williams called for her fellow students to ‘start making these white teachers accountable for instructing you’ and challenged teachers to do their jobs. ‘What merit is there,’ she asked, if teachers have knowledge and are ‘not willing to share because of the color of my skin?’
According to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Williams’ parents transferred her to another school, then withdrew her altogether. The conservative Frederick Douglass Foundation gave Williams a special award, saying that her essay ‘actually demonstrates that she understood the autobiography.’ They have also reached out to the school for an explanation of the 13-year-old’s treatment.
While the issues Williams raises are controversial, even Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has acknowledged that closing the achievement gap requires more black educators in the classroom. But because the large majority of current teachers are white, they have a responsibility to figure out how to be effective with children of color.”
Check out a news report on Jada’s controversial essay below:
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