Y’all know what, had education been done right in the first place then maybe we could’ve avoided this shit show called “Duck Dynasty: Civil War Edition”.
Since the celebration of one of the greatest Civil Rights leaders in history is next week, it’s a must that I share a few quotes fitting for this moment in time and supporting my aforementioned claim.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said:
“To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief claims of education.”
“Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.”
“Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”
Now last Wednesday, President-elect Joe Biden said, “The scenes of chaos at the capitol do not reflect the true America.” He was commenting on the Donald Trump-incited, violent siege of the capitol building in Washington D.C. that was orchestrated by maniacal misfits who refuse to see his reign of tyranny end.
Tuh! I don’t know what country you’ve been living in, Joe, but that insurrection led by domestic terrorists—whose concept of freedom is enforced by anarchy and racism to sustain the fallacious racial construct that is white supremacy—does indeed reflect the true America and its failed public education system.
It was a mob of weak-minded half-wits who either chose to ignore what they learned about civics and government—or maybe didn’t learn at all—allowing them to be possessed and activated by Trump’s erroneous and schismatic rhetoric. They literally ran with the stupid assertion that the presidential election results were fraudulent, and if the courts wouldn’t make him president again, Mike Pence could by blocking Biden’s certification. Education definitely failed to save them from the morass of propaganda.
Had education been designed to actually foster intelligence and character as mentioned in Dr. King’s third quote, maybe we’d have a republic that actually honored and valued democracy over hate and separatism.
But here we are at what was the inevitable and yep, our roosters have certainly come home to roost, again. And at this point, I have very little faith or interest in changing the minds and hearts of the savages that ravaged the nation’s capitol or elected officials who want to act like these riots were somehow justified or a baby hiccup in the story of “America, The Beautiful”.
Instead, I’m focused on our kids because as Frederick Douglass said, “It’s easier to build strong children than repair broken men.” But we have to change what they’re learning and the way they’re learning right now—and that’s through revolutionary systems and teaching.
Going forward, the purpose of education has to be to create free thinkers. It’s impossible to do that in this framework that was built in old school white supremacy and racism. Future liberated minds cannot be cultivated in this one size fits all system that suppresses truth, individuality and creativity, frowns upon the celebration of culture and diversity and is absent of true equity. All of it gotta go.
I’ll give y’all the perfect example of the emergence of revolutionized learning systems—distance learning.
For the most part, the execution of distance learning has been trash. But what I have noticed and appreciated is the innovation that’s blossomed in these times where we have to make the best of the worst—a rise in homeschooling, learning pods, recognition of the necessity and value in technology and internet, greater collaboration and use of community-based resources, and families (although stressed out) empowered in their ability to also be educators.
Imagine what could happen if we did an assessment of the kinds of learning environments and styles that work for each student and actually invest in those models?
Major key right here—public education has to start telling and teaching the truth. I cannot stress how important this is.
The reason why these nutty ass people thought it was OK to run through the capitol the way they did—the reason why they’ve been thinking it’s OK to torture, brutalize and view Black people and other marginalized groups as inferior is because this country and the history they’ve been taught in schools have continuously given them the green light!
I don’t know about y’all, but I’ll be damned if I look up 20 years from now and texts are calling the capitol animals heroes. We have to write and “right” the history.
But listen, the dismantling of this system isn’t going to happen overnight and that’s where us committed educators, parents and advocates come in. We have to be brave, engaged and invested enough to challenge the norms and status quo. We have to be authentic and unapologetic in our history and truth, teach love, unity and respect along with the ABCs and continue to learn and unlearn some things ourselves.
I’ll leave you with one more gem from Dr. King. He said, “At this point, I often wonder whether or not education is fulfilling its purpose.” We all know the answer to that. But if we honor him as the great hero he was and continues to be in spirit, we'll truly condemn the hate we saw last week. And if we actually believe the children are our future, then we have to—finally and for real—get the stories and public education right.
Tanesha Peeples is driven by one question in her work—“If not me, then who?” As the former Deputy Director of Activist Development for brightbeam, Tanesha merges the worlds of communications and grassroots activism to push for change in the public education system. Her passion for community and relentless mission for justice and liberation drive her in uplifting and amplifying the voices and ...