You know how there’s the ideology that “if you want a truly honest answer, ask a child”? Well, 13 year old Jada Williams of Rochester, NY held up a squeaky clean mirror to the powers that be regarding the state of our education system.
Having written an essay for a contest submission, Williams made the critical juxtaposition of how our current educational system rivals the similarities of slavery. In it, she referenced, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass; specifically the experience of Douglass overhearing his master say “If you teach that nigger (speaking of myself) how to read, there will be no keeping him.” Her basic thesis was that the hierarchy of education is set up to allow the lower classes to remain the lower classes due to classroom overcrowding, insufficient resources, and inept teachers. No surprise there!
These are all facts that the general public is well aware of and politicians are in constant filibustering to improve upon. But to see them and understand the conditions through a child’s eyes add a sense of realism that no legislator could. I was actually impressed and proud to see that this 8th grader wasn’t going to be 1 that fell through the cracks. Her critical thinking skills and ability to extrapolate on an ancient conversation to make it culturally relevant proved that the socioracial assumptions people make about certain children are simply not true.
Aside from sub-standard classroom conditions, the educational system lacks teachers who can adapt to the real-time classroom experience. Not every child learns the same way at the same speed. Teachers, in general, have a strict curriculum that they need to fit in on a certain time schedule. They have mandated goals to reach due to the district regulations. But is that what’s best for the children that have to sit there day in and day out? From Jada Williams’ experience, obviously it’s not the answer.
Because of Jada Williams’ brutal honesty, she was met with harrassment and angst from grown adults who can’t accept the truth. Her parents had to actually take her out of that school, which is probably a great thing for her. But it’s sad really. Time and time again those who know our children best kill their dreams. So it’s us as parents that have to always remain their biggest supporters, despite what we think. My mom did it and look how I turned out…