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It's. Good evening and welcome to say Brother My name is Barbara Berrow. And this evening we hope to bring you the second part of the educational series and say brother. Tonight we're going to discuss the lack of communication between educators and students. With us this evening we have a panel to hold them to help me do that. First we have Attorney Gregory Spence who is an attorney for the city of Boston. Then we have Kenya Clements who was a youth activities commission. Then we have Janet Bolt who is a playwright of a play that you will see later on this evening called a minority child's day. And last but not least the noted psychiatrist Dr. Alvin Poussaint Welcome to say brother. Now the first thing I'd like to throw out to
you are some questions that I have dealing with what the real problems are. With regards to the lack of communication between educators and students in my research I found that there seemed to be two groups or two areas that we can deal with. And you can tell me as the experts whether or not I'm correct. The first is the extreme difference between the social backgrounds and social settings that you that the educators usually come from and the backgrounds that the children or minority children speak with black dialect and bilingual children come from. And then the decision on the part of the educator to decide well the writing assignments are just not as important as they were the reading assignments are just not as important as they were. However we find down the line that excuse me minority children tend to sometimes this isn't always but sometimes
I'll be the victim of some decisions that are made on him or her that seem to be unjust simply because of those two reasons that I've just stated. Let me throw out the first question just what are your professional opinions. First of all with regards to those two groupings or areas that I've just stated it's up for grabs. Well I I think you're you're right there's a problem between in communication between children from a certain background and the teachers if they're from a different background. And this is particularly true with black children who use a certain kind of what they call quote street or above certain kind of sort of in-group slang and different things and frequently I think there's miscommunications where the teachers misunderstand what the students are talking about or they don't understand sometimes the games they play and misinterpret kind of remarks or kidding types of things that the black students do and this kind of
confuses communication. And one of the problems is that teachers don't get any kind of education about how different people talk when they're teachers call. Exactly. And there have been a few recent books where they tried to look at the styles of speech among the black kids so the teachers will misinterpret what's going on there. On the other side you have teachers because they don't understand try to imitate the black kids and then get into trouble that a teacher comes in and tries to reach the black kid by talking black when they don't know what talking black is and that kids think that the teacher is foolish and then the communication breaks down even further. But what happens when you can't communicate is that teachers may withdraw and then nothing happens in terms of learning and teaching in the classroom just based on that. Would you suggest that teachers who have not really had an opportunity and I would guess I would imagine that opportunity would come from the child
or the children as a group but the teachers that who have not really grown up in that background trying to do that trying to communicate on a black dialect level and they're not really sure about how to do that would you suggest they not do that at all. I would suggest in nearly all instances that they not try to do that because it is very difficult to do. And I think children particularly teenagers are too quick to see the inadequacy in trying to do that. And will will make will make fun and it looks it looks foolish and I you know very few people can do it well occasionally rarely you run across someone who does it with the kind of easiness. But in general I would say no you you can't you can't believe that this there's a whole nother area and this and that is along with the communication problem there's an attitude problem between teacher. And pupil. If a child a black child happens to come into a classroom. As in the play and speak his native
dialect the teacher gets very defensive. She doesn't know how to deal with that. It is not proper English and therefore it is wrong and we will not even deal with that at all you will call me Mrs. Brown you will speak proper English. I can't accept. What you say because I have no knowledge about your culture your lifestyle. Your whole experience. Furthermore I don't want to you know I don't want to deal with it to find that that is the case more often than not. Or what do you think. I think so because in 68 when we were having our so-called quote unquote revolution a lot of folks were saying what can I do. It caught a lot of folks off guard and they ran around talking about well how can I help the problem. They were right they have a lot of empathy but not sympathy. Mm hmm. And it's the same thing for a lot of children. Day to day in
1965 when you walk into a classroom they have to deal with attitude. I think she has a good point because what happens is frequently the teachers because the kids talk a certain way protect you if they use quote profane words the teachers sometimes label them as bad kids that are understanding that they're talking a different way and they think they're bad and then this. Well you know forget about them and then again they don't try to teach or become they become moralistic and rejecting of the children because of their styles. That's an area that I want excuse me that I wanted to bring up since we're touching upon it now I think this is an opportune time to do that. And that is dealing with the special class situation. I'm sorry I missed the song so that your child seems to have a problem or sometimes it's not given with an apology sometimes it's just a statement. Your child seems to be a bit slow. Maybe we should suggest that he be put within a special class that he be put in to at least have some extra training on
speed reading courses. There are all kinds of programs or classroom situations that have been created for the said child that speaks of another dialect or black slang black dialect bilingual child. And I feel that just based on the research that I've done so far and on experiences that I have witnessed that tends to really retard any kind of education that's happening. Have you ever had any kind of referrals to you or your other colleagues dealing with that. I see that a lot of referrals about you know for reading problems and other kind of problems or things that they think children need help and I think the you get into difficulty when you don't try to build on what the child already has is if you if you reject the child's own speech and styles and then completely move into another area that is you don't listen to a bill on like fences may be better to take a
child's slang word and teach that child than maybe what the standard word is and so on and so forth. Bill Roquette vocabulary rather than to reject the child slang word completely is kind of wrong and dismiss it and make the child feel you know. I think it's almost as if they were dealing with standard English as a secondary language China kind of build on it and without rejecting the other person's speech. I think sometimes I don't want to do a good job but sometimes that that black children have to learn the standard form versus slang form for survival purposes because they have to know frequently how people may be reacting exactly for instance. Unfortunately a lot of people will react to certain styles of speech as if the person stupid has nothing to do with being bright or smart. It has to do with the style of speech. For instance take a common thing like Black say from the south or something like he say's instead of he says. And people will hear. He say's and sick
and tired of Riak that person is not too smart. And it's really just a dialect diversity in which I speak. You going to say that there are a lot of complex issues in this whole area. I thought you were correct when you asserted that decisions early on in the class not to allow students or to force students to write and to learn how to write within the context of the general society pay off negatively in the future. Read the New York Times this week where there has now been clear evidence that major Ivy League universities aren't going to ask the college entrance board examination to put a writing test on their examination because they are unsatisfied with the general tenor of students that they're getting and how well the test is doing them now. The whole issue of who is going to decide what is the appropriate writing style whether they're going to use samples of people's writings or whether there's going to be some general test and so forth clearly comes to fore
for college entrance. OK. That's a very good point. I'd like to break now and we'll be back with a moment to finish what Attorney Spence you feel that white teachers can. Relate to the black experience. No. I don't think white teachers can relate to the black experience because they're not willing to go beyond themselves and not willing to get into the students they're not willing to find out what the student is about. I went to an all black high school in North Carolina and we had the same problem of integration that they have here in Boston. But the system was just about the same and it was survived survive because somebody had a little intelligence. They made one move and one move was education does not come from the students. The teachers have to teach the students. They have to inform students of what they might meet in the world. That's not given today here in Boston. They want the teachers to stay where they
want which is not happening to students at all students or students. They go to learn. Teachers ought to teach it. They made one move which would be to move the teachers from school to school whether they want to go or not. That would bring a quality education to the schools. I think they don't understand black children behaviourism. I think that on the other hand black children wouldn't understand the focal point where white teachers are coming from. And I think that may be a problem. Attorney Spence I'd like to pick up on what we were discussing just earlier and dealing with the tests that are being set up again for a new kind of student that's coming in. I've been doing some reading myself about that and I'm beginning to think that the just in dealing with aptitude tests that were given to a grouping of people from ages 9 through to 35 it's found that all of them were below what would
be considered average the 9 9 9 year old people could hardly communicate at all could not write. Eighteen year old people in a box that wouldn't even take the test and if they did take it it did very poorly. I'd like to pick up on that and go right back to what you are saying about new college exams. Yes I think the we are in for a new wave of the of the test syndrome is the key and central criteria for entering college. I think most people are familiar now with the Phoenix case out of Washington in the state of Washington. It was a case involving law school entrance examination where a student argued that because his law school aptitude test score was higher than certain members of the class typically minority that he should have gotten in before them. That in fact he had a right to his position and that it was reverse discrimination to allow anyone particularly of another race into that class outside of him with a with a lower
score. And though the Supreme Court did not decide the case they decided that it was moved at the time and he had been ordered into class by a lower court judge and had in fact graduated by the time he got to the Supreme Court. The issue is still alive in educational circles and there's a real sense in which we're coming on an age of the return of the test as the major criteria. And I see this be adding on the writing test again as an attempt to know what the falling scores across the nation to bolster again this as the determining factor in this say that this student may in fact make 780 or 900 on the math part but they cannot. Right. And that is the key criteria we want here. And of course the writing test itself will fall heir to the same errors in culture and judgment and so forth that the other parts of the test have been attacked for. Yeah probably. I think that part of adding the test as
I see it is partly a political move in a sense. I think that they're trying to force the high schools and the elementary schools to teach the students that right because they are getting into college and they are right. So I think they feel that they set up pace as part of the aptitude test the college aptitude test that they have to know how to write that it's going to force and it's probably going to have this effect right down the line. It's going to force the schools to put more emphasis on writing skills which they apparently for some some reason deep de-emphasize I think for other cultural reasons too like television and the fact that children don't read as much as they used to. Exactly. And I'm thinking about. I want to go back for a second I want to belabor the point but I would like to go back to it. I don't think it's quite clear yet based on all the information that we've just put out here. Now we're finding that one of the main problems is in fact. The educators deciding upon themselves that.
Standard English is not necessarily a priority and would be taught only if they felt it would help them in their creative writing or what have you now to take that point and just hold it for a minute and to go back. To the elementary school you find that. It really seems to be unfair and unjust to insist that. The children go into any kind of special kind of situation. I mean it just really seems to be very unfair and I'm I would like to deal with the law the law the legal aspects of that for a second. There is a disciplinary code. That one has to deal under. Correct. And there also is chapter 766 that we were talking about earlier that one has to deal under which deals with parent and or teacher suggesting or insisting upon testing being made on the child. That seems to be especially slow.
I'd like to deal with what. Really are the ramifications of that if you could deal with that. Well Chapter 766 which is listed as seven day one be of the general laws is a relatively new development in identifying and amplifying the use of special of resources for what are called children with special needs could be handicapped children could be children with emotional or psychological or even social problems that are determined by a panel of psychologists and and and educators. At the insistence of just about anyone can be a parent can be a teacher can be a family physician can be a guardian just about anyone can suggest that the child be reviewed for 766 purposes and that review will happen. And supposedly the evaluation
is to provide the student with a special kind of instruction and as they say that the student special plan of instruction will be developed to the needs of that child. And the statute is pretty broad in terms of what that can be. It can be special classes it can be special training for the teacher to be able to deal with the child that can be the child can have special classes within the regular course and so forth. Do they actually have the resources to really do that. That's that's one of the problems and when I did evaluations for lunch in school children you would find problems and make recommendations and in fact the schools actually didn't have any materials or resources for helping the children anyway and it became kind of a way of getting the kid kind of removed from a regular classroom. Well I would like to say that for sure. I have been working with kids with learning disabilities. Who are supposed to have done it just to build it. In reading writing.
I have found most of these children really do have some you know some of the village problems. But. It's really between the real problem is between the teacher and the child. If she can't deal with him the first thing she says is that something is wrong with this child. Let's run from Texas and get some true valuation done right away. You were inside last year as well as outside. So you see the child on both sides so to speak. OK. And have you ever witnessed a child and I guess based upon what you're saying you have children seem to be two different types of children in the classroom Are they intimidated in the classroom and seem to be a very outward going child outside or. Yes. You've seen that they could be almost two different people they approach their approach
differently in the way. Children can tell. When people can. And they can tell where you're coming from just like that. You know you want to play and play a game. And most of the black children who I who I have deal with are very intelligent. But the first thing they say Kenya they don't dig where I'm coming from. Me first of all no one really ever Tobey's told the children why. They supposed to go to school until they reach the age of 11 12 good because you can good job you know you can to continue your lifestyle. But you want the lifestyle that this child has to get. And this and we're kind of like So they're talking about the only thing I know about is the street. So what would you suggest than just being in the environment or the children
in both areas. Or can you think of have you ever thought of any kind of solution or program which is what I'm sure you are hired as a counselor to do. But were you were you were have you ever thought about some kind of program to deal with that what might help the educator which is one of the things that comes up in genetics play. Barbara I feel that we need more black teachers who understand black children who deal with them. Who know where they come from. I also feel that. If if a white teacher is going to deal with a black child she should first find out how to deal. Because if you don't know where they come from there's nothing to be in that class. I mean I have walked into a situation where. A girl and boy rapping and you know they're really laying down and the teacher is up and this is a substitute teacher for the deaf.
And. I walked over to him and my name is can claim from you that I would be active in youth and. I would if you need my help you I would like to assist you and answer the first thing he would say. Well the first thing he said to me. What is going on what did he talk. OK. That's that's a very high point. And I want to stop for a second and I'll come back very sharply. What are your feelings about black schools and black teachers as opposed to. Black schools with both black and white teachers. Definitely. I mean that kind of relation between blacks is actually going to help blacks. They only want to have that as know background white can no black man's background. So what do you I think should be black teachers should be lectured because they can relate better.
Mrs. Clements I'd like you to continue what you were saying with regards to first of all the need for more black educators which is another show I know and take up an entire hour or more but also that and the last point that you were discussing about children. Well like I said black children. Are finding it harder and harder. In the school system today. They they do want to be. To become a part of what's going on. But they feel that everything that comes from you know they feel that. No one understands. You know everybody's trying to come down on me and you know what am I what am I supposed to do. What I try to do I mean we can't say the more you know when. I try to. Sit down and talk to them and find out
what's on their mind what's going on in my head. Mm hmm. And. It also has to start from home too Barbara. You know and a lot of it does was a point I was going to bring from home here. OK. Like kids come from a hot spot lifestyle cool lifestyle don't they you if you expect a child who's who comes into a classroom to learn and a proper man who's home with all his father propping trunks. Is probably dope would been going on him or just the lifestyle they're going to move on and move on. It's very tough. And you expect that child to come in and learn you know you've got to have some kind of tools to deal with this child. You begin to understand the child. Or just stop crying. All those kind of children who come from hard backgrounds. They might need a different kind
of curriculum than the standard curricula it always troubles me is that these things seem to take the way you teach school. Like saying they do it in supper and they go to do the same thing. The black community and it would seem that if you have different kind of people with different cultural styles different social economic background that you should get a kind of curriculum a program that fits your needs. And one of the problems they're trying to force a pattern that's been different kind of setting on the children and they can't fit into it. You know in terms of how you reach them how you teach them like to make certain kids you know sit like this and self-controlled all the time. It may not and they don't have that self-control. They don't know can I tell them it's going to work without some sensitivity without people being a little more caring a little more concerned a little more human. OK. Because in essence I believe that's all it takes. I mean we're not talking about anything that is new or astronomical. All these people all the children are saying look we are people too we
have rights respect our rights as little people as growing people give us that motivation that impetus to continue on to go beyond the communications problem we've been talking about communication so often Chilvers shoved aside and said we don't have time to deal with you now or be good here and I'll get back to you and that's not the way we can't expect. White folks or any other kind of folks to have the understanding the sympathy and the concern that we should be having as parents guardians as teachers need it has to begin at home. A lot has gone down in the educational system just in the past two years that have said to children
especially black children you're out there alone. And I see no need for that. OK. Just dealing with that point I'd like to reiterate a couple of points and that is let's not forget. As I stated initially that the other problem the other problem is the fact that over the past 10 years or more educators have really decided among themselves a council towards the latter part of 1974 voted that. Standard English is not important. And we do not have the teacher that is a point that I would like to have dealt with. Not now necessarily but that is a point I would like to put out to the parents to think about and work within the school committee that. Of which. We have. With state wraps and anybody else that might be able to assist us with
that. That is I think step one step one step two I think is to deal with yourself at home. To deal with your family at home. We can help ourselves and we'll probably be better off if we start off thinking about it in that manner. And then the third step is to go back to the special class situation and the disciplinary action that happens and how one deals with all of that and what happens. How does Dr. Poussaint deal with a referral of a child that's said to have a problem emotional retardation slow hyperactive whatever. I think those are questions that we have to examine. And look for an answer for. If you have a last comment I'd like it to like it. I think one one thing that's that's happening that's very crucial all over the country is that we
have to have the resources that is the school buildings and the money per child and so on to be able to have the kind of schools we need. And that part of the deterioration that's happening in in inner city schools is a physical one and one that has to do with resources and materials and all the other things you need to teach with the fact that classes are too big you that you need more teachers. And I think smaller classes that that's very important like a lot of kind of political and social economic things that have to be tended to. Otherwise a lot of these other things will work. You know the kind of decay system. I like I'm afraid we've run out of time. That's an issue that we can discuss for a long time and I hope to have all of you back you've been very helpful. I'd like to thank Attorney Gregory Spence Jeannette bolt. Dr. Alvin Poussaint and this can be Clemens very much and I'd like to thank you for watching Say brothers.
In a predominantly black school system what goes on in the classroom. Well the same thing that goes on in classrooms all over America. It's what we call the age graded lock step school system our child comes to school at five years of age in most school systems have cut off dates. Like if you're fired before or after December whatever you come to school the following September and you march into the school and because you are five years old they put you in a room with other five year olds and you have a 10 month school year generally and you are expected to grow one month every month for 10 months. Now no human being in the world grows that way. Brother John no human being in the world. That's right. And we completely lose sight of the most productive kind of teaching learning environment for answers. Where does a child learn the most most rapidly in the shortest period of time at home between the ages of zero and five that
say his child learns to want to walk to talk to dress himself to feed himself to go to the toilet. All of these things are very difficult things to learn because every human being most most every human being learns them. We have come to accept them as things that are just going to happen like you're going to breed. Yes but they don't. People have to learn to talk and learn to walk. And all these things and it happens at home before children even come to school. And what are some of the major outstanding characteristics of that teaching learning environment one it's open space. We don't take our children and lock them up in one room and say You stay here till 3:15. The child has the run of the whole house from zero to five. And we go to great. We go to great pains to make that environment safe for that child like we put we put poisons up on high shelves and we put little stoppers in the plugs so they won't electrocute themselves and we put our little trinkets and things that we don't want broken up on high shelves and we make the plays of vailable as a child so that the child can explore it to satisfy his or her curiosity
and learn in a kind of environment that is permissive for learning not for bad conduct but for learning. Right. What other characteristic does it have a family has is a multimodal group for instance you've never seen a family with everybody and it is five years old. The people are different ages and they have and they have different kinds of expressions and the different sizes different colors even even different religions you have different religions you have parents who speak different language than English. So that the family unit is multi-modal many times multicultural and many times multilingual. Right. And the children have no trouble learning to languages with their parents. One of this is what you have in one grandmother is the parents speak English and grandmother speaks Italian. They have no trouble learning how to converse with grandmother who speaks Italian. And the parents who speak English Little Children learn all those difficult things from zero to five. In that kind of environment. And then what do we do
when they get five years old. We take them out of that kind of environment that's the most productive kind of environment for learning. And we put them in a integrated structure stay in this room all day in 1915 with one teacher and everybody in there five years old and it's in and we have to say you learn at the same way at the same time with the same material and our children at home don't do that. When a child learn to talk. There are many people who are models and who tell the child how to say things is very interesting to watch. Mothers and fathers and older sisters and brothers help children learn to talk. In the end the standard example is the one where the child is trying to say I and me they may want a cookie and someone said no I want a cookie jar. It's very confused because it means I want the cookie but he thinks I do need. He always gets it all wrong. Everybody's trying to provide him with the proper model so that he or she can learn to differentiate between I and me. And when you use which And we go to great
pains helping our children learn to talk the way that we talk. And same thing with learning to walk all the brothers and sisters help younger brothers and sisters learn to to talk. My own grandchildren are just a wonderful example I have a grandchild who is five mounted grand grandson who's five grand daughter who's three and he helps her learn things and in and in this kind of a range in the home range with the family arrangement you got more than one model who can help another person human being to learn. But in the school room you have only the one model as the teacher and she or he has to provide everybody with a way to do things and is most unproductive. So I'm saying that schools should be open space multi-modal multilingual and multicultural. Yes ma'am. Talk about black folks desire to learn. Check this out. In 1870 3 percent of the black
population of the Southern States attended schools by 1898 the number had increased to 18 percent. The number of blacks who could read and write Rose were 30 percent in 1880 to 42 percent in 1890 to. 16. And. My gosh. What. Can. You. Beat me. Up or. You. Like. To. Get that. Job. Check it. Out.
Somebody. Tell me. Why. Stop. Speaking stop. Stop. It. Oh. Ah ah ah ah. Ah. My mother and my brother. Jeannette you are regarding my wife. What happened. And what were your kids doing playing in the street anyway. Talking about
the. Way in jail. I need a rest. He's in my bed. What happens if it's not the traffic lights not working. It's the cars used in the streets for their own private expressway now. I can't take any more pokey. I've got to back to school was discussed. No one was lying in the street poking Jimmy even after the car. We know it was a drone but he didn't stop crying and tell me where it hurts my leg. So can you move your toes move your toes. Jeannette. Go get my things and ask Mrs. Kaufman to call me care. Yes ma'am. OK. Because it's going to be all right. Don't cry. All right. Things are going to be fine.
Thank you. Well. I want what you'd find. In this house to get back. Do you understand. Yes ma'am. Come on back. Take it easy on her foot OK. Not too much weight. One step at a time. Did you see who's driving that right. Yes. Do you know what the number was by this day 91 and when that is so I'm going to read to him about it. Well looks like we're going to lay down until mom gets back. She wants us to stay in. Power I'm good. Good. Easy money Easy.
We'll let him have his seat. No ma'am they did. I mean I feel a certain way. Manny the baby here. You my goodness. They don't fit you anyway. Yes right. Grudges. Nobody gets on my feet. OK I guess is your leg broken anyway. No I said that the doctor said it's just a bad dream. I want you to put my things away for me. OK. And I want both your boys to stay in here while I get supper ready hear me. You got the license number the comma. I say daddy show poking. Are you sure this is the right number. I'm sure Stevie I'm gonna tell you the same thing. No no. What's wrong. All right. I want you
to finish your supper. Help me tomorrow. It's really bad. I want you to take the time. Off to go Coleman for. Everything. So while you ma ma ma can I command. He's gone. Pokey wanna get up. Get up now. Mom's gone. Last night it was long. Let me read. Was mom. She's in the hospital and I'm in the hospital for some time. I hope she's known for a long time either. She didn't
look too live last night. I know. You might as well get dressed. That. I. Got to know I left and got it. That is. The first. One. So. Your mother is very sick. Judy. Give us. A call your grandmother Two-Shoes. All of these are. Only after you eat your breakfast. I want you to stay in the house since you're not going to school. OK. I don't want you answering the door for anyone.
Jeannette you watch out for your brothers. OK Ronnie you just find a spot today and stay out of the way. OK. I want you to make both beds and clean your room. Also you can help us take in the clothes. And I was with the force and no fighting. You me OK. All right. Go get out of here. We're back as soon as I can. In fact I'll be back about Newtown. All right. So don't forget stay in this house any questions later. I. Do. How's everybody doing. Daddy have you had a chance to see my. No but I called.
Well how. Well she's OK. So she's resting comfortably. Well we will see you. Well you can't see. OK. The reason is all of you are too young and the hospital just moments away. So listen when I see you mother I'll tell you that all of you want her to come home person. I. Was writing. He Sleep. Well. How about some beans and franks for supper. That's OK with me. Good. I'll get ready to see your brother. OK. It's like. You do when sugar. Granny. You need to get in. Well he
does want to pick you up. Oh I took a cab from the airport. Why was there on the bus. OK. You do your homework. Fine. That's good. I go. Do it. Granny granny probably didn't clean up the bathroom today like he was supposed to. No. All right pokey. Have you done your share of the housework. Is it your time to clean up that bathroom. Yes ma'am. But what is this your time to do one thing you just get in there and you do what. Sister OK. If anything ever happened to my mother or father what would happen to us. What do you mean. I mean if my mother father died when my brothers and I went to an orphanage. System.
What. Gave you that idea. When something bad happens like a mother or father died. Don't listen the children way too often. No one is ever going to send you and your brothers anywhere as long as I'm alive. Really really. Going. Outside. OK. You're misreading just we just had. One of. The. Test scores being tested by some scientists. I think I have to say it was the National Center of Health Statistics something like that. Anyway my class was being tested today. I didn't have to take that stupid test. What I was checking the school for a couple of days. Do you think you'll be at school. Maybe you can take that test. Maybe.
Who's that girl. I want you all to wash your hands. You can sit out any just. Oh ok. No school closing. You. Come in and sit down and you know. Ronald what happened to your like I got hit by a coffee of the day. Oh I'm sorry to hear that. James. James work you missed a very important grading test.
I met my brother got jammed up jammed up. What do you mean jammed up and where's your note. My brother got messed about my car and I don't even know why. James you know that when you miss school you are to bring in a to up and fly don't have a note. James take your seat and you can bring you a note from your father tomorrow.
Mr. Jones I don't know what I'm going to do with these two. I leave my room for one minute. And when I return I find them fighting like two young thugs. James has been absent for a number of days. And when I return he doesn't bring me a note. It seems to me that if he spent half as much energy on his homework as he does physical contact with others he would improve greatly in his schoolwork. Is anybody going to tell me what this is all about. I can't get either of you boys to cooperate with me. I'm afraid I'm going to suspend you both from school for a couple of days. I chose that. I just wanted that. James please don't call my mother. I didn't mean any harm. You might go now but if I hear of you causing any more trouble you'll be suspended. I'll return to your room. What's wrong.
Teacher says you didn't bring in a note for your absences. I try to Miss Bella I didn't have a note but she didn't believe me. I told my mother say she'll laid up in a hospital. Bed. I don't know if Big Dig me every time I try she tells me to sit down. You know get my case. Right. All right let's calm down. Just tell me what happened. After my mother died. I know she didn't believe me but she told my sister my grandmother for that matter. For my child. I don't think it's it. Ms Brown doesn't like you that she has to follow rules. I have to follow rules everybody has to follow rules and rules whenever somebody is absent from school. They have to bring in a note. OK Mr. Jones I can deal with that come from I never talked to her. She looked like I'm just I tried to get over on James you know what I think is a problem. Ms. Brown doesn't understand the way you talk to her. She doesn't speak your
language and she doesn't understand what you may be trying to say to her. It seems to me to be a communication problem. Oh just saying just no I don't have any problem. They know what we're talking about. They are somebody breaking down who messed around. With all that but what am I going to come down to understand people. James Miss Brown can only learn about you and the street language you speak if you break it down for you must try and explain what you mean when you talk with them. Ms. Brown has a lot of them as well. She's not nearly so lame as you think she is. You give her a chance. You must be patient. OK. OK. I look good. But that says more. As a former superintendent of schools in Washington D.C. over time with the black city with a predominantly black school system what type of
problems did you incur. Well one of the big problems I had was a revolving school board. I was selected to begin my term October 1 1973 and one month later there was a school board election and five of the members were up for election. Some of them had supported me and two of them did not run one of them became ill had to go. So I began losing my support one month after I was selected. Now the school board which selected me had agreed to some restructuring of the school system so that it would educate all of the children of all of the people and therefore I the plan that we agreed upon was not the plan that the second school board had in mind and then later in July because the Congress gave the district a modified home rule on January 2nd 1975 and July of 74. Three of the school board members left the board
to run for the city council and one of them left because her agency was put in the D.C. government because of the Home Rule less legislation and the law said that she could not serve on the board and work for the government. So a lot for board members there. That was my third board. And then in November of that year there was an election and I got a fourth board. So one of my problems was that I kept having different school boards. Another problem was that in the changing school board the leadership changed. Now in the first school board the president of the board who left the board to be on the city council also was a compromiser and an accommodationist. In other words he felt like by arrested that you should form coalitions with the white America in order to make make political gains. So we had some disagreement about what kind of accommodation we should have. And basically I believe that you should compromise but not when you're the only person who's given
up anything. But here's the thing. So you had all of these groups private organizations mostly white lined up at the Treasury of the D.C. school system mostly black asking the school system to bail them out of their bankruptcy. And the former president who is now on the City Council felt that we should bail out these white organizations. I disagree with that because I felt that all of the money we had should be used to educate the children who were in the D.C. schools. So we had a big struggle over what is now called the Hawthorne school controversy which was a private White school. And the D.C. Youth Orchestra which was mostly white at that time and that's when we had this disagreement I lost. And of course the school board went ahead and gave the money to this wide organization these white organizations. So we had this big struggle. Now when this president left the board and went to the city council we had a long conversation where he told me that if I was going to stay in the school system such compromise was necessary
and that if I didn't you know that there were a lot of things wrong with the school system and that he was certain that I could be crushed. So that was a big problem because the school system the D.C. school system has a bifurcated management services so that the school system does the paperwork and the D.C. government really does the work. Let me tell you what I mean. Yes. The nurses who work in the schools in D.C. do not work for the Board of Education. They work for the Department of Human Resources which is an agency of the D.C. government the D.C. public schools do not build their own school buildings or at least their own contracts. This is done by the Department of General Services of the D.C. government the D.C. public schools do not process their own payrolls. This is done by the finance department of the D.C. government. So the D.C. Board of Education does not have control over its own management
services. Consequently it is always difficult to find out information because the D.C. government has most of the information about the D.C. public schools and it is a hassle for the citizens to get things done in the school system because you've got two departments responsible for the whole arrangement. Now the D.C. Board of Education has no power at all in this area. It's all under the mayor and the D.C. government and it makes for a very difficult situation. And that was always a problem during the administration of the previous superintendent and during my administration. Now when my fourth school board became upset about the changes in the instructional program decentralization packs which was a process for parents administrators citizens teachers and students to plan and set goals for their schools when they saw this as a threat to their own power and
Education, Part Two
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WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
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Host Barbara Barrow discusses the lack of communication between educators and students in the Boston School District with community members Gregory Spence (an attorney for the City of Boston), Kenya Clemens (of the Youth Activities Commission), Jeannette Bolt (playwright, and author of "A Minority Child's Day"), and Dr. Alvin Pouissant (noted psychiatrist and Harvard professor). Issues addressed include the different social backgrounds of educators and students, Black English in the classroom, the role of standardized achievement tests in student evaluations, the need for more humanity in the classroom. Also included in the program are "man on the street" interviews conducted by Associate Producer Vickie Jones (in which she asks people their opinion of black schools with white educators and whether or not black children should be taught by black teachers); an interview with Barbara Sizemore conducted by Jon Brim (on the problems of the Washington, D.C. school system and Sizemore's experiences as a former Superintendent of Schools there); an excerpt from a filmed performance of Bolt's play "A Minority Child's Day;" and the Community Calendar (in which local community and cultural events are listed).
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Chicago: “605; Education, Part Two,” 1976-02-15, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 30, 2022,
MLA: “605; Education, Part Two.” 1976-02-15. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 30, 2022. <>.
APA: 605; Education, Part Two. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from