Ramon Griffin, whose article was the subject of the previous post, has written an open letter to teachers and other staff at no-excuses charter schools. He wants them to reflect on the psychological costs of certain practices and to seek to transform their schools.

 

 

Griffin writes:

 

 

“Two years ago, I wrote a blog post entitled *Colonizing the Black Natives: Reflections from a former New Orleans Charter School Dean of Students. I started the piece by asking if some charters’ practices were new forms of colonial hegemony. It is vital to add that while I was employed at the school, this thought never crossed my mind. My writings were taken by some charter management administrators and staff as an *attack* instead of an opportunity critically engage and refine, deconstruct and reconstruct practices that are doing more harm than good. This time around, I’m hoping to encourage teachers and staff at No Excuses charter schools to acknowledge what is transpiring in their schools so that we can begin to push back against these practices and transform our schools.

 

 

“I’ll start by offering a few examples of my own. When I chased young Black ladies to see if their nails were polished, or if they had added a different color streak to their hair, or when I followed young men to make sure that their hair wasn’t styled naturally, I could have been critically engaging my administrative peers on why these practices were the law at our school—and how exactly they contributed to getting students into and through college. When my school punished young people for not having items school leaders knew their families couldn’t afford, I could have been pushing back against policies that effectively punished students for being poor. When we pulled students out of their classrooms for countless hours for minor infractions even as we drilled them constantly on the importance of instruction time, we could have been taking our own advice. Or when we suspended students from school for numerous days, we could have been providing alternatives that disciplined them but kept them in school.”