We all know that 45 is trying to build a wall. He wants to build this wall to control immigration and those entering the country. He believes this wall will reduce the violence that happens when illegal immigrants enter our country. The wall is significant to so much more. The wall represents keeping out. The wall represents keeping away. The wall represents blocking. The wall has become a metaphor for what he believes will make our country great again. To me, the wall is a metaphor for holding back. So, we have 45 building a wall to protect the border of our country, but what about our schools that are building walls to keep many children especially those of color from succeeding?
The Wall: Quality Teachers– There are countless reports and statistical data that suggest black children compared to white children are taught by less qualified teachers through their K-12 experience. Children of color attend schools where “warm bodies” are used in classrooms. Instead of hiring and training qualified teachers, these schools find someone to cover the class. This wall of quality teachers is one of the most critical factors for the success of children. All children deserve to have a qualified teacher in front of them daily. How dare schools deny a child that basic educational right. We have an achievement gap because white students typically have having better quality teachers than children of color.
The Wall: College– Schools are not providing children with the necessary skills to attend college or to be successful in college. This wall is being built to get children through the K-12 system, but that is it. Children of color need to attend schools that will prepare them to attend and succeed in college by providing a rigorous curriculum throughout K-12. These walls in schools are blocking their path to college. There are some that believe not every child is college material and that is fine; however, a school’s responsibility is to prepare that child for college and put the choice in their hands whether they attend or not.
The Wall: Career Opportunities– Schools are building walls that stop children from receiving career training. Schools that do not provide the option for children to learn a skill that will help them find a career is doing them a disservice. There are already walls being built in schools that block children from the path to college, but now there is also a wall being built that keeps them from finding a career.
The Wall: Culturally Relevant Curriculum– Many of the schools today were not designed for children of color to begin with. The structure of the school does not support children of color. The curriculum was designed based on a Euro-centric design. Knowing all this upfront, when schools (especially those attended mostly by minority children) do not find curriculum relevant, they are building walls. When the school does not make an effort to engage them with material that is appealing and relevant to their upbringing, they are building walls. Culturally relevant curriculum for these children teaches them not to be ashamed of their past, but to embrace their past to get to their future. Many schools try to cover up the past by not teaching it.
Wall are built to block people from their freedom. It is intended to prevent those from the dream of a better life. The same walls are being built in our school daily. Schools, when they do not provide children with the best teachers, are building a wall. When schools do not offer a rigorous curriculum that prepares children to go to and through college, a wall is built in the school. When they do not provide children with the necessary skills or options to obtain skills for a career, they are building a wall. When did our schools become full of walls? The school is the pathway to a better life. The school is a pathway to a future of hope. Right now, our schools are becoming walls that will continue to hold us all back. We are confining our children by the walls being built in our school.
Let’s tear down these walls in our schools and build bridges in our schools for children to continue on their path.