Mark A. Pierce, Inc.
MICROAGGRESSIONS ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE: High Stakes Written Assessments, The Threat of Stereotype, and Hidden Curriculum
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"Goes into the inequity that African-American students are subjected to in schools dominated by white culture. It is not uncommon for black students to be under the average ratings received by white students. It is a widespread occurence Pierce labeled as 'stereotype threat.' This threat may point to 'how class and race are interwined in the process of discrimnatory teaching,' and how black students become the victims of prejudice, robbing them of the privileges clearly given to the white students. Under the stereotypical threat is the hidden curriculum; its mission 'is to affect a continued White advantage.' This obvious case of racism is prevalent, and greatly affects the progression, or lack therof, of black students. Even the reading materials provided by white-dominated schools promote only the 'elite, white male perspective,' and evident disparity. Many African-American students experience the stereotypical threat and suffer from the hidden curriculum in schools where equality is nothing more than a mere word, unseen and not understood. As long as this unjust norm prevails, bigotry will remain a cruel reality." Martha Whitaker, Dorrance Publishing, 2010.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Due to some inexplicable mishap during the publishing process, Paula S. Rothenberg's work was not included in citations, so I would like to remedy that by including that here.
Rothenberg, Paula S. White Privilege: essential readings on the other side of racism. 3rd ed. New York: Worth Publishers. 2008.
From the Author
WHY WE SHOULD EDUCATE INSTEAD OF INCARCERATE
Having worked in both environments for a number of years, I believe our cities' fibers are reflected in the local schools and the state prison system. Both institutions are budgeted for in high proportions within a state's budget, and though neither appear being solvent at present, continue to take up a combined 40% of general funds. Yet, the children still matriculate. The opportunity that a supported education can give an individual is just as great as its opposite, a lifetime of incarceration. It may seem an understatement to say that, but the dissimilarities between the two expenditures are uncanny.
Inmate maintenance on a per person basis is upwards of $30,000 per year. Our children receive approximately $2367 a year for their education. This clearly illustrates a "guns and butter" dillemma, where the pragmatism of the spending seems questionable. We spend more money locking up a failure of the educational system, rather than fixing the precursory situation in education. And that system is one where a hidden curriculum in education leads by a vision that is unaltruistic, indeed.
The vision of the curriculum, over the centuries, instead, takes a naturalistic vane. Creating haves, and have nots. "Microaggressions Across the Great Divide" and the T.R.I.A.G.E. ideology are meant to illustrate how the power of an ideal can lift a student to great heights over the long term.
If not heeded though, and the most at-risk aren't supported effectively, education becomes disinteresting; the void left from a lack of mental nurturing is then filled with many questions, but then framed in an area of so little true understanding. An understanding that there is something more to the world than just the place they grew up in. The frustration of a lack of success in schools, enveloped in young bodies, makes for a volatile cocktail. And the tab is growing increasingly steeper for what we are paying as a society. There are limits put in place by the choice of allowing the "dummying out" of black students, and by black students telling one another that getting an education is "selling out".
Our minds must not continue to be de-railed by a pop culture that benefits from our children's continued digestion and regurgitation of stereotypes and expectations. Minds are still a terrible thing to waste. T.R.I.A.G.E. Group believes the direction it could give to educators, and indirectly the pupils, will make the way ready for all stakeholders in our society to sit at the same table.