It's Story Time: So What's Your Story?
Updated: Jul 31, 2021
Sharla Horton-Williams, Ed.D.
School Leadership for Social Justice | SLSJ.us | January 2021
“It’s storytime, friends!”
When I taught pre-kindergarten, my students would stop everything and squeal and dash to the carpet as soon as they heard those words. They sat there, criss-cross applesauce, bubbles in their mouths, on their assigned carpet square with anticipation. They knew they were about to hear a great story.
We may not all teach pre-kindergarten and read stories on the carpet, but we all have a story to tell. The story we are going to talk about today, though, isn't about magic snowmen or talking dogs or two curious and inquisitive friends taking a fun trip to the park and discovering - and entering, of course - a secret passageway into the future. The story we are going to talk about today is the story of oppression, inequity, racism, abuse, injustice, and inhumanity. Whew. When you string those words together, it sounds like a horror story.
It actually is a horror story, but it is not some fictional story constructed in the mind of an imaginative author. This is the real story of Black children in America’s education system constructed by an oppressive, inequitable, racist, abusive, unjust, inhumane system.
“Show me your data and I will show you your racism.”
I shared this quote by Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings in another blog. The data tells the story of Black students in our schools. And it is not a pretty story at all. Again, from my last blog, here are some national statistics that elucidate the rampant racism in our education system:
Black preschoolers are four times more likely to be suspended than white students in preschool (US Department of Education, 2014)
Black boys are three times more likely to be suspended than white boys (US Department of Education, 2012)
Black girls are six times more likely to be suspended than white girls (US Department of Education, 2012)
Black students performed 26 points below white students in 3rd-grade reading (National Association of Education Progress, 2019)
Black students performed 27 points below white students in 8th-grade reading (National Association of Education Progress, 2019)