Up until now, this blog has mostly consisted of my observations that the current leadership at the Salt Lake City School district has over the years, created an environment that is adult-centered as opposed to child-centered. That focus is contributing to the intolerable disparities that occurs, based on which side of town a student comes from.
The intolerable gaps between children of color and white children exist and is often referred to as the “Achievement Gap”, which in my opinion, is a bit misleading.
I submit, the gap that exists is not one of “achievement” or capability of children of color to learn, the gap has to do with access to equal opportunity and equity within the Salt Lake City school district. This gap also has to do with the structural and institutional racism that is deeply embedded within our district.
Whether this is intentional or unintentional does not matter. In this instance, what matters most are the outcomes that are produced when a school system seeks to police itself without critical reflection and meaningful input from key stakeholders who care deeply about the future of their communities.
My intent in this blog series: “Speaking My Truth”, is to underscore the social dominance that plays out in school board meetings and decisions, based on the color of a board member’s skin. Recognizing that the attitudes of a white dominant board are perpetuated throughout a school district that boast a majority-[ethnic] minority student population.
“My intent here is to encourage meaningful discourse about Whiteness and social dominance in our district’s educational settings without becoming lost in the cycles of blame, guilt, anger, and denial that have so often in the past prevented honest engagement of these issues” (Chavez-Chavez & O’Donnell, 1998)
“If our examination and understanding of the root causes of social inequity are too shallow, then our approach to corrective action will necessarily be superficial and ineffective.” (Sleeter, 1996)
“Even though we sometimes may be tempted to close the discussion about White Dominance, we have a responsibility to our students to assure that we and our colleges remain open to ever deeper levels of awareness. It is the unexamined nature of White dominance that is often our problem” (Fine et al, 1997)
If we do not face dominance, we may be predisposed to perpetuate it…once again, it must be emphasized that the exploration of White Dominance presented above is not intended to incite blame, shame, or guilt on the part of White educators…we must seek to transform both ourselves and the social conditions of injustice that continue to stifle the potential of too many of students from all racial and cultural groups. (Howard, G.R. 1999. We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know: White Teachers, Multiracial Schools)