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EDUCATION: The School to Prison Pipeline - One Parent's Response

Posted on February 14, 2012 at 2:50 PM

by Kiva A. Fisher-Green


 

Last Thursday, I attended the ACLU's "The School-to-Prison Pipeline: A Community Conversation" at the Carnegie Library of Homewood. Before the "conversation" started I was disappointed by the low attendance, particularly the lack of Black people in attendance. I was the only parent of Pittsburgh Public School students in attendance that evening (or at least that was willing to admit it) and I was extremely disappointed that more parents weren't there, knowing the challenges that Westinghouse High School has had this school year. The event was in Homewood and as the data that co-sponsor A+ Schools reported, the national trend of criminalizing rather than educating our children disproportionately affects Black children. A+ Schools went on to report that for every 2 White children suspended in Pittsburgh Public Schools there are 10 Black children suspended.


I jumped ahead, but before the A+ Schools presentation there was a musical performance by ARTS GREENHOUSE. ARTS GREENHOUSE consisted of 3 high school-aged Black men (although one was in his first year at CCAC). These young men put their experiences in public school to music. Each of them had a different prospective but a similar thought: namely, that public schools have a lot of work to do in order to truly educate our children.


Following the A+ report was Dr. Marilyn Barnett, the Chair of the NAACP Education Committee. Dr. Barnett had to attend another event and only spoke for a few minutes but I texted one thing that she said would change how business was done in Pittsburgh's public high schools: public high school students need to evaluate their teachers. Sounds simple, but it makes the student a "consumer."  At this desperate stage, it couldn't hurt.


There was a brief Q&A/Comment period and the evening concluded. People began to talk to me and I missed the next steps but for more info you can contact the ACLU: 412.681.7736

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