José Luis Vilson is an activist, writer, and award-winning math teacher for a middle school in the Inwood / Washington Heights neighborhood of New York, NY and an education blogger. You can read his articles at:
I recently wrote an article for the upstart mag The Enemy, expounding on my thoughts about the relationships between teachers and the police, pulling together Mobb Deep, Frank Serpico, and others for a piece that was / is absolutely necessary. Here’s a glimpse:
To the eyes of the American public, it might seem like none of these are connected, but, to many people of color, the school-to-prison pipeline has been lifted out of the underground and become part of the mainstream understanding of how this country works. When teachers continue to reinforce their allegiance with the darker elements of police brutality, we signal to disenfranchised communities that in fact, their lives don’t matter, from the time they step into the classroom to the time they’ve been pushed – not dropped – out.
As early as five years old, students of color start seeing a education of a different type than that of mainstream America. Suspensions of pre-K students of color get served at three times the rate of white pre-kindergarteners. These zero-tolerance policies are more prevalent in public and charter schools that are predominantly comprised of students of color, so a student getting arrested for wearing the wrong uniform or insubordination becomes commonplace for many of them. Police officers patrol schools in the name of keeping them safe, but, with metal detectors and cell-phone vans serving as the gatekeepers for these schools, does the heightened focus on safety keep students out of school as well?
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For more by Jose Vilson go to: http://thejosevilson.com/
Vilson’s new book, This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, is on sale now.