"So we're not talking about the Normandy School District losing their accreditation because of their buildings, or their structures, or their teachers. We are talking about violent behavior that is coming in with my first grader, my third grader, and my middle schooler that I'm very worried about. And I want to know-- you have no choice, like me-- I want to know where the metal detectors are going to be. And I want to know where your drug-sniffing dogs are going to be."
Part 1 of "The Problem We All Live With", told a story about Nedra Martin and her daughter Mah-Ria Martin. While Mah-Ria was in the process of transferring to Francis Howell a primarily white school, it was heart breaking to hear all of the negative opinions from the Francis Howell parents. The parents were so eager to assume that their children would be in danger. They worried that welcoming the Normandy students would disrupt their children's learning. The quote above really upset me because the issue of the schools un-accreditation was not a result of violent behaviors. This parent clearly holds a negative stereotype about the students of the Normandy school district. That stereotype is encouraged because of the high percentage of latino and black students, and the fact that the school lost their accreditation. The parents of the white students showed barely any open mindedness about integration. Which is exactly the problem, integration needs to be given a chance. Little do those parents know, integration is also beneficial to their children.
One teacher testified, "I think that children can overcome the stigma of poverty. I think children can overcome the stigma of their ethnicity. But what they cannot overcome is the stigma of separation. That is like a damned spot in their being, in their self image. And that's what segregation does to children. They see themselves as apart and separate because of the language they speak, because of the color of their skin, the origin of their parents."
Part 2 of "The Problem We All Live With", told a story about a different approach to integration. A less hesitant one and a more aggressive approach towards it. John Brittain, a civil rights lawyer was in favor of integration. He knew exactly he needed to do to be as successful as possible in his attempt to make it happen. He got the entire board of education to not only support him but actually testify. Now that's saying something. The board of education knows what is best for their students. They are the ones who are most aware of the negative impact that segregation has on their children.
"Breaking up these toxic concentrations of poverty would seem to be a logical and worthy goal. Long years of evidence show that poor kids of all ethnic backgrounds do better academically when they go to school with their more affluent — that is, middle class — peers. "
Bob Herbert's article in the New York Times also discussed the need for integration, and the fact that the need is being ignored and pushed aside. His quote relates very closely to part 1 of TAL that we read. Part 1 also brought up the point that these schools made up of latino and black students, are also primarily living in poverty. Research as shown that clumping these students together is harmful. They do not have the opportunity to learn from peers and are not likely to be encouraged by their teachers and peers. Those students are more likely to benefit in a motivational environment where they will have the opportunity to learn from their peers and achieve.