In MLK's Footsteps: Education as a Civil Right

Monday, January 16, 2012

Listen to excerpts from Sunday's event hosted by Brian Lehrer and Jami Floyd, managing editor of The Global Game, as they discuss Dr. King's battle for equal education for all.

Panelists included:

  • Cami Anderson, superintendent of the Newark public schools
  • Fredrick C. Harris, professor of political science and director of Columbia University's Center on African-American Politics and Society
  • Rachel Moran, dean of the UCLA School of Law
  • Harvard Sitkoff, professor of history at the University of New Hampshire
  • John A. Stokes, an original plaintiff in the Brown v. Board of Education case 
  • Touré, journalist and cultural critic
  • Villy Wang, founder, president and CEO of BAYCAT 
  • With live performances by:         

  • Toshi Reagon
  • Manhattan Country School      
  • Manhattan Theatre Lab 
  • Guests:

    Jami Floyd

    Comments [18]

    fuva from Harlemworld

    In the beginning, Brother Stokes makes a critical, distinct point: The Brown v Board of Ed student group was originally advocating for equality not integration. The focus on integration was apparently imposed from without.

    Unfortunately, the parity they were pursuing has still not been achieved. This fact and its ripple effects are apparently lost on Toure and Jami Floyd and Cosby and McWhorter, etc. -- the kind of black folk (New Negroes?) WNYC and similar programs insist on referring to, as if they are really representative. The notion of Toure repping the hood and providing critical analysis from that perspective, is ludicrous. Stop fooling yourself, WNYC.

    Jan. 17 2012 12:51 PM
    Roberta from Brooklyn

    Brian, is there a way to post the whole performance of the Manhattan Theatre Lab High School? I missed the event yesterday because of a family thing and I enjoyed the wrapup today, but the song at the end knocked me off my feet. Amazing!

    Jan. 16 2012 10:07 PM
    bernie from bklyn

    RJ- right, you just proved my point. the expectations are different. poor chinese parents EXPECT their kids to do well in school and do everything they can to help make that happen. it's a different story in the black community, unfortunately.
    but it is simple, actually. just check yourself before relying on the same old blame game that no one wants to hear anymore.

    Jan. 16 2012 01:00 PM
    RJ from prospect hts

    A listener: I don't understand your point. Effort is one of many behaviors--part of ways of thinking--that are consequences of what I've referred to. When there are different social and economic histories and different relationships between peoples--between blacks and whites and Asians and whites in these instances--then there are different expectations. Many studies show (and Cosby has referred to this) that when expectations are different, results are different.

    Jan. 16 2012 12:16 PM
    RJ from prospect hts.

    jgarbuz, You're right--the specificity of a "higher" education (a fallacious concept--try fixing a car, the profoundly computerized current edition) is not necessary for everyone. What *is* necessary--at any level of education, including vocational etc.--is teaching critical thinking, analysis, and creativity. Those are the essential skills that must be paired with reading, math, history, etc., because the latter are simply details without the ability to think about them. The best plumbers look at a problem and analyze it, thinking about what's needed--the tools, parts, the best approach. The same skills are applicable to looking at the world.

    Jan. 16 2012 12:04 PM
    A listener

    [[RJ from prospect hts
    Bernie, I missed your question at first. It's a false dichotomy to pit immigrant cultures vs. long-term poverty, slave history (yes, it's still relevant), US cultural expectations (Chinese and Japanese students as smarter and more studious by nature, despite the high level of suicide from pressure), and long-term white vs. black (as compared to white vs. Asian) conflict and stereotypes. These are radically different dynamics and require different responses.]]

    That's nonsense.

    The pilot of the Cosby Show talks about effort...jump to 2:55.

    Jan. 16 2012 11:59 AM
    RJ from prospect hts

    Bernie--I did not say Chinese students are smarter than black students; I referred to "US cultural expectations." Perhaps I should have said "stereotypes," but I think my point was still clear, and to refer to a "dad in almost all poor chinese households" as being the answer is to, to put it mildly, oversimplify--if not mischaracterize--the situation. My point is: The relationships in our society between non-native peoples and immigrants are dramatically different and not comparable. To characterize it as purely the result of the absence of the father in the home is too too too easy and makes it even easier not to think more deeply and critically about the problem, which is the bumper-sticker method in our society.

    Jan. 16 2012 11:58 AM
    jgarbuz from Queens

    "Higher education" is a liberal scam I fell for like most people. Most people should NOT go to college, but rather get a vocational or technical or commercial education, and go to work. Apprenticeships, etc. Higher education makes most people UNFIT for real work. Turns most college graduates into smart alecks. We destroyed an effective K to 12 educational system back in the 1960s, and have been going downhill as a result.

    Jan. 16 2012 11:55 AM
    A listener

    Bernie from Brooklyn has it exactly right. I can muster compassion for individual students who are suffering, but we have to look at the larger culture and put responsibility where it belongs. Black kids and Hispanic kids (especially boys in those communities) are terrified of competing academically. There has been a general collapse in the past 30 or 40 years of self-motivation, pride and desire for an education.

    As a society, we have come to accept that a school that is predominantly or entirely black is and must be a failed, dangerous and undesirable school. The BLAME for that lies largely with the students, parents, teachers and administrators in those schools.

    On another point, every kid doesn't need a college degree. When my toilet is busted, I need a plumber not a chemical engineer.

    Jan. 16 2012 11:52 AM
    Linda from Jersey Shore

    thank you for a wonderful show today. I twittered it, facebooked it and emailed it. Hoping many more will listen.

    Jan. 16 2012 11:47 AM
    bernie from bklyn

    RJ-chinese students are smarter than black students? did you just write that? wow...
    asian kids endure alot more pressure,teasing etc. in the nyc public school system than other cultures so your white vs asian dynamic is not accurate.
    it's real simple, here's the difference- there's a dad in almost every poor chinese household.

    Jan. 16 2012 11:47 AM
    RJ from prospect hts

    Bernie, I missed your question at first. It's a false dichotomy to pit immigrant cultures vs. long-term poverty, slave history (yes, it's still relevant), US cultural expectations (Chinese and Japanese students as smarter and more studious by nature, despite the high level of suicide from pressure), and long-term white vs. black (as compared to white vs. Asian) conflict and stereotypes. These are radically different dynamics and require different responses.

    Jan. 16 2012 11:41 AM

    Please tell me that yesterday's event will be posted so that one can listen to the full program. Re the conversation: I am concerned that the young single mother is not giving adequate attention (possibly sacrifice is needed) to the youth; not giving credence to all the proof of how important the development at young age is. (I see this up close in a family member)I know children can overcome, but steadfast parenting helps too.

    Jan. 16 2012 11:38 AM
    RJ from prospect hts

    I don't want Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg deciding (through their "philanthropies") what the education system should encompass. They need widgets to serve them--not to think, critique, analyze, create--but to fulfill the so-called low-skilled jobs (have they lived without a clean toilet lately? define that as low skilled when they have) that make their operations and private lives run.

    Jan. 16 2012 11:37 AM
    bernie from bklyn

    RJ- what you just wrote is the reason why things will never change.
    why do poor chinese and indian children do well in school?

    Jan. 16 2012 11:35 AM
    RJ from Prospect hts

    I'm stunned that Toure even remotely gives credence to the "personal responsibility," to grace it with the phrase "debate." These are **children**. The only way to use the word "responsibility" is starting from who's responsible for the multigenerational socioeconomic and basic economic underpinnings of this child. What the word "responsibility" translates into "survival"--and in their world it doesn't translate in the same dictionary as well-off America uses.

    Jan. 16 2012 11:32 AM
    bernie from bklyn

    i think dr.king would agree that the single most important factor in the education of a child is their family life and parental involvement in their lives. black kids in this city have no chance if their parents continue to act like children. it's a vicious cycle that doesn't look like it'll change anytime soon. there is no one else to blame.

    Jan. 16 2012 11:24 AM
    Pete from Brooklyn

    Occupy movement creating new traditions...

    Jan. 16 2012 11:10 AM

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