The Truth about Our Education

Last week’s presentations made me think a lot about the educational system in the United States and how we are doing such a disservice to our country’s students by not teaching them the truth. As Charity pointed out in her presentation, education takes place within the confines of a society that strives to uphold the values and status quo of that society. What a child learns in school cannot be separated from what she learns outside of the classroom, and the classroom can either reinforce or challenge what a student learns in her everyday life. Usually, because of the way that schools are structured and regulated, a child learns a very cut-and-dry version of the material that she is meant to comprehend. We see this with how schools teach students about slavery and civil rights in that children only learn about the same preapproved topics of discussion without any context of Black history. For example, students do not often know the truth about how horrible the conditions of slavery were, the lynchings that took place, and the gross injustices that were put into practice in order to try to control Black individuals. They do not learn about slavery from the Black perspective and about how Black people fought back against these injustices, thereby sending a message to students that it must not have been all that bad. This invalidates the Black experience and the intergenerational trauma that has taken place because of this horrific past. Our educational system is designed to keep the divide between Black and white students, to control Black students, and to establish “inferiority” and “superiority” among the different students. It is my hope that as our society becomes more aware of the problems with perpetuating these practices, our teachers and our schools will be more willing to teach this material with the integrity and empathy that it necessitates.