It was bound to happen sooner or later. It’s probably better that it was a POC’s idea.
Early this past spring just before the pandemic emptied classrooms, math teacher Shraddha Shirude floated a novel course offering to sophomores at Garfield High for the 2020–2021 school year: Ethnic Studies Math. The result was confounding; 90 students signed up … for an elective math class. How could this be?
Perhaps it was the fliers, perhaps students were already drawn to the poise of Ms. Shirude, perhaps it was the college credit or the options Ethnic Studies Math opened up, but the overwhelming majority of those who enrolled in this advanced math elective were students of color.
A classroom full of mostly white students taking a rigorous, conceptual, college-level course, designed by a white educator, that centers them would hardly be novel in Seattle Public Schools — and is often the norm at Seattle’s many private schools. The fact that a comparable situation never seems to happen for students of color has a name: systemic racism. While the measure often used to describe Seattle’s egregious failure to serve its BIPOC students is derived from standardized test scores — themselves highly problematic — the so-called ‘achievement gap’ can clearly be better defined as an opportunity gap. However, relabeling the problem and then setting it adrift is something Seattle Public Schools has done expertly for decades.
That’s why each of the three sections of Shraddha’s unique class represent historical dents in Seattle’s white-supremacist educational system — no matter what mix of online and in-person learning transpires.
I couldn’t agree more. It’s about time that we removed these oppressed students of color from the hegemonic perspective of racist Eurocentric arithmetic. It’s time that these tanned children of the sun expand their minds to new realities away from those nagging white (and East Asian) students.
You think I’m joking, but remember this is 2020.
#Seattle #SchoolSegregation #Woke #PublicSchools