I was at a special event in this weekend listening to people pitch ideas for school innovation. I pitched the idea of more all boys schools. Most people looked at me like I had two heads. I find this ironic because I was in a room full of teachers and parents. One lady called me an isolationist. One person said to me that it was illegal because Massachusetts would not allow for it. An African-American woman who teachers at an all girls school told me that girls need the separation of the sexes more than males do, because Black woman are under attack. I did not want to engage this conversation because it could quickly de-evolve into a black girl vs black boys debate.
What was clear to me was that though we work with boys of color, we have not embraced the research on what happens to boys of color in the early grades, and throughout their school careers. We do not embrace that school in the early grades is designed to fit the learning profile of a specific child, most notably white females who are able to sit, sit for long periods of time, follow directions on the first prompt, act relatively docile, pick up information verbally and show verbal and linguistic dexterity because that is how content is delivered in most school settings.
That I just noted is just an issue of gender, but add race into the mix: low expectations, prejudice, bias, non-traditional family structures, broken homes and it leads to a recipe of educational ineptitude the current disfunction that we have for black boys. One caucasian lady told me that she has a passion for helping boys of color, and she did not understand how we have not a done a better job securing their futures educationally. I wonder if most of the apprehension is that because most of the participants were female and their is a natural apprehension in separation because they are acutely aware that separation in this country does not guarantee equality. That in fact, it is potentially a recipe for further chaos and inequality.
In my view, all boys schools are not an opportunity to deprive someone else, but an opportunity to stop the deprivation Black Boys. Separate is not always equal, but neither is congregation, if schools are going to teach and discipline in ways that alienate, frustrate, emasculate and ultimately disenfranchise Black males.
What are your thoughts?