By Corinne Bridgewater
January 11, 2017
Due to zoning, New York City is experiencing one of the highest segregated divide in schools since pre-integration. Many view this as an issue because schools with the highest concentration of African American and Latinos generally have the most outdated resources, untrained/inexperienced teachers, and as a esult low test scores. There is also some research that argues students of color benefit from diverse classes. So the solution to this problem should be simple – ensure that schools are integrated. Rev up busses and start mixing neighborhoods, socioeconomic levels, etc.
But this was done before. It was called integration. Is the result of today evident of its success? I’m going to leave that for others to answer. I went to a workshop a few weeks ago led by Dr. Christopher Emdin. Emdin mentions that prior to integration black students performed at or above the level of their white peers. He argues that the issue today in education is not just the achievement gap, it’s the fact that during integration schools and kids were integrated, but the curriculum never was.
But it leaves a big question: What did African American learning look like prior to integration? Emdin’s answer: Project based and Interdisciplinary. In other words, students worked toward a goal using multiple subjects at one time. In a classroom this could look like creating and proposing a new subway line. At home, this could look like baking chocolate chip cookies, but cutting the recipe in half. Kids have to read the recipe (reading), divide fractions to determine how to cut ingredients by half (math), and bake the cookies (science). All the tasks led to an immediate project, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.
Project based and interdisciplinary learnings satisfies natural curiosity and deepens your little reader’s understanding of the world.
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