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Philosophical Meanderings, Student Voices

Horrid Truths and Beautiful Lies: American Dis-Education

The American education system has become complacent with its failures, its atrocities, and its inadequacies. It’s become complacent with the system of hindrance and destruction that murders the potential that so many children who are hungry for equitable education posses. These atrocities and failures of gross amplitude are so habitually seen as acceptable and are often deemed as successes on the systems part but failures on the children’s part.” These atrocities often have their effects attenuated and their causes overvalued because the truth behind why American minority children receive substandard education is meant to be overlooked. The sculptors of this imbalanced system designed it to survive on the blindness and arrogance of American society that has let it get this close to its breaking point.

The American education system has never been a system of equality and universality; it’s never been the pretty picture that unions, government officials, and “experts” work so steadily to paint for the blind eyes of the naïve and ignorant American population. The education system has always worked to strengthen the first class and bring down the second class with a few exceptions of success in the undefined and unexplained gray area. Minority children have always been seen as trifles that should never have been granted the right to receive equitable and appropriate education and the system has been designed with that in mind. People like to forget or even pretend that they have forgotten that the system just recently started educating racial and ethnic minorities, that the system just only started allowing homeless children to be imperceptibly educated, that the system still holds assertive attitudes against pregnant teenage girls that effectively encourages them to dropout, and that the system still fails to educate children who find themselves in extenuating consequences that render them wards of state governments. People like to pretend that American education is a system built on universal inclusion that looks beyond uncontrollable variables and directly at the child and the abilities he or she harnesses but in reality the system is built upon exclusivity and selectivity.

These atrocities, these inadequacies, and these horrid truths are just the base of what the American education system has in its arsenal for its war against the nation’s minority children. These atrocities and inadequacies are not meant to be halted, they are not meant to be mended and their effects aren’t meant to be reversed. These atrocities are meant to do exactly what they are and have been doing and that’s why any movement or actions that come along to reverse its acts of social injustice are antagonized and undermined. That’s why all throughout America’s history any and every move to universally educate children who are not a part of the first class has been discredited, defunded and depreciated.

Throughout America’s history we have been made to look like we are progressing when we are actually regressing, that we are actually succeeding when we are actually impeding, we have been made to look like we have been affording minority children endless opportunities when we in fact have been affording them access to a prison cell.

These atrocities and acts of social injustice will not cease in their existence anytime soon and they will not cease in their existence on their own. These acts must be dealt with and we mustn’t regress any longer and we mustn’t allow for controlled progression. The system of education in America has for too long failed to do its job, its duty, it said statement and the systems workers have equally failed to do theirs. For too long have we let our education system to be filled with incompetence and unsound judgment that has literally dictated the pathway we have taken to our destination as academic failures. The system of education has become so weak, so trifling, so atrocious that its quality is meandered and worthless to America’s minority youth but then we turn around and denounce these youth because of their rejection toward Americas fourth world like education.

In order to redirect America’s educational meandering, regression, acts of social injustice and academic atrocities we must stop trying to salvage a system that has had centuries to prove its validity and we must work toward a universally inclusive system that posses strong morale and values. No longer can we say that public education in its current structure is the pathway to America’s success as an academic strong house because that system is structured upon convenient lies and inconvenient truths. America must move toward a system of universality, equality, competence, and independence that’s cemented by clear leadership and sound judgment. It’s time that America develops a system that admits to its faults, broadcasts inabilities, and boasts its abilities with respect to its inabilities. Until this is done, America’s children will suffer, the system will continue on its path to destructive regression, and entire generations of bright and able minority children will be withheld and academically neglected.



15 thoughts on “Horrid Truths and Beautiful Lies: American Dis-Education

  1. Your thoughts and reflections about the American educational system leave no doubt in the reader’s mind of your beliefs. I applaud your willingness to step forward and espouse those views. In the post, your choice of words–atrocities, inadequacies, incompetence, regression, injustice–are a blistering indictment of our educational system. This post is guaranteed to prompt introspection among all stakeholders in our educational system.

    I am curious as to whether the Ohio Virtual Academy is providing you the kind of first class, universal education you desire. My curiosity also leads me to ask: Do you have any recommendations for how we can begin remedying the “atrocities” of our educational system?

    Thanks again for your insight.

    Posted by bellce0 | December 3, 2011, 9:17 am
    • Dont get me wrong here, Ohio Virtual is a good school that provides a good curriculum and boasts a good teacher and support staff. But no, I know there are better virtual schools in Ohio that can do what OHVA does better. The school allows for independence and allows you to be creative on your own terms but at times you feel like your rushed and penalized for moving “too slow.”

      On your second question, I tend to sit around and daydream of an effective education system that I am almost certain can do a better job than what the current system is doing. The system needs to look toward locality that goes beyond the cities name, and a system that isn’t afraid to call out ineffective teachers but thats not based on politically motivated attitudes but still gives them respect for trying at a difficult profession. I also say that teachers be mandated to start off with masters degrees and should be encouraged to earn doctorates and PH.d’s, my assumption here is that if you have to work harder for something than you will become more dedicated to it.

      Posted by Jabreel Chisley | December 4, 2011, 9:56 pm
  2. Jabreel,

    Do not take what follows the wrong way, for I am proud to be an educated but failed result of America’s various assimilation projects and fully realize that obtaining an “education” (at least by way of obtaining certificates, diplomas and degrees) is necessary to “get ahead”.

    It is true that educating minority group members in America is a relatively new process. At best, as an element of the War on Poverty kicked off in 1964 it has been a thin whitewash covering what lies beneath. It is also true that education has been a path taken by minority (and majority) group members to obtain what passes for success in America. Set on pedestals as role models for youthful group members go follow, the successful minority members prove They Can be successful (if They just work hard enough).

    The American education system is but one element of culture, and I do not see the system to be a failure. It has and does fulfill its primary function – it keeps everyone in line with the desires of those holding power over multi-generational timeframes. Who holds one or more college degrees these days? They are most likely the children of parents who had found a high school diploma adequate for their bid for success – and so social and class stratification remains firmly entrenched.

    An irritating thought niggles in the recesses of my mind – it is not so much the poor minority folk that need an education. Those whose relative class status by way of phenotype, income, occupation, education, etc., leads them to believe they are (stealing liberally from George Orwell’s Animal Farm), “more equal than others” are the ones who need a true education. I would hope the current economic situation will fully awaken them, but frankly, if/when the economy improves, I think they will go back to sleep and have nice “American Dreams” – perhaps they will dream of a new car, a larger TV, or an extended vacation.

    Having said that, I return to contemplate whether I should purse a doctorate…

    Best wishes,

    P.S. I largely agree with your thoughts 🙂

    Posted by Brent Snavely | December 3, 2011, 10:45 am
    • In other words the system has successfully and constructively failed minority children in society because they have no legacies to uphold, they dont have access to politicians who can make things happen for them. In america a black woman and a white woman can fight for access to better education for her children. The white woman would become hallmark, an idol, a trailblazer that fought for her children even if the way she choose was illegal on levels higher than imaginable. Now, lets use Bollar-Williams here, she fought for her child to have better access to education, sure she lied, cheated, and “stole” but she did it for noble reasons…she was hung on a fence and was forced to live in fear of pending jail time.

      So yes, we can fight for better education, we can demand it and make outcries saying we didnt get access to it but at the end of the day the difference is there. Minority children who gained access to better education had parents that had to make choices that are so far out of the norm that its insane. Those parents had to sacrifice a lot of things to afford their children a better education and not many other parents can do that, but yet we wont see anyone talking about this anytime soon.

      Posted by Jabreel Chisley | December 4, 2011, 10:15 pm
      • Jabreel,

        You squarely pegged the matter by citing the plight of the minority mother. While a police officer for a Detroit suburb, a predominantly “white” area, I ran into a number of African-American/Black youths who “stayed with their auntie” in the city. Their living arrangements made it possible for them to attend a better school than where their parents lived, and by extension offered them better opportunities later in life.

        Given your ability to analyze situations and verbalize your insights, I am sure you will pursue a higher education and I wish you the very best.

        I was able to attend college only because student loans were available. I also worked to get by, but when work was not available, in some not-so-proud moments of my life, I ate out of a dumpster to survive. From one male “other” to another, I pray your experience will be less trying.

        Guess what, Jabreel. You and I ARE talking about it, and we have a number of teachers and others “listening in” on our conversation – perhaps further discussions with more participants will ensue.

        Keep working and hope for the best!


        Posted by Brent Snavely | December 4, 2011, 11:47 pm
  3. Your words ring very true. I think you have a brilliant way of peeling away the facade of the overall education system. I found the last paragraph to be the most powerful, it is when you offer your own vision of education that I get excited. I hope you are able to move towards more writing about your vision for a better learning culture, but also hope you don’t stop calling out the culture and society that keeps the current system working.

    As Brent said the system has not failed it is working quite nicely. It is not the system failure but it’s success that has created the oppression of so many people. I do believe the solution do not or will not ever come from the system or any large scale system, but instead from the community.

    What do you think your role personally is in transforming education?

    I think you have the power to be a builder of bridges between lots of youth leaders and communities which have the human power to start changing the system. I recommend googling Grace Lee Boggs and getting a hold of her writing. I think it can help you bridge your disgust and anger of the current system to something more powerful, which for me will be your power to help create positive solutions and experiences for youth all over the world.

    Keep writing and keep reflecting!

    David Loitz

    Posted by dloitz | December 3, 2011, 6:45 pm
  4. Jabreel —

    Do you see the virtual school idea (K12 or not) as part of the solution?

    We are unschoolers in Florida and I come across families transitioning from regular public school to virtual school to completely independent homeschooling. Of course, I see the people who were not happy with the virtual school system, who opt for straight homeschooling/unschooling. I do not hear good things about their time with the virtual school. But I have no idea if this is just the tip of the iceberg. I would guess it is and most people using the virtual school option are getting what they want out of it.

    What do you think? Is there enough freedom allowed by the virtual school route? Freedom to study what you want and express yourself. And to have the free time to learn outside of the structure of the virtual school.

    Or is it just public school at home? All time-consuming worksheets and test prep and no big improvement over being in the local school building doing the same thing.

    All the students you see struggling — is the virtual school idea part of the solution and/or are their problems bigger than whatever mechanism is being tried this year?


    Posted by NanceConfer | December 4, 2011, 11:50 am
    • Nance: People tend to get virtual schooling and homeschooling confused all the time, they dont take the time to make sure its right for them and dive right in to it and are met with unexpected results. I commend K12 for trying to make sure that the virtual route is right for children all throughout its enrollment system that it has set up for schools and even on each schools website it has the same system to ensure its right for them. People however dont factor all this in when they enroll and therefor causes confusion later on.

      But, I love virtual schooling, its awesome and it gives me a chance to explore what I want at my own pace. When I first started out I wanted to go to medical college for nenoatology and ob/gyn so the school worked out a system where I could volunteer at a community hospital and add the hours into my attendance. Since, I’ve volunteered for 2 different health systems and have learned so much. So, the virtual concept does give a lot of freedom to explore yourself.

      Nevertheless, virtual schools are still public schools (Connections and K12 do offer private schooling options though) and we still have to take NCLB mandated tests so there is the test prep culture but the thing I love about Ohio Virtual is that test prep is optional. The school does heavily encourage us to use study island and to attend practice sessions but if you dont want to then theres no punishment and most of the sessions are recorded so you can get to it on your own time.

      Virtual schools though, maybe the answer for some kids in the system but its not for everyone but its a small solution to a huge issue.But there are bigger problems that need to be dealt with that virtual schooling wont resolve. Something tells me some of these issues will become virtual schools problems like they became charter schools problems but I have confidence most of these issues will be dealt with accordingly.

      Posted by Jabreel Chisley | December 4, 2011, 6:27 pm
  5. I’m happy to hear you have so much flexibility in your virtual school. It seems to have been custom-fit for you. I’m sure that has a lot to do with you not settling for less.

    Yes, people do confuse all the options and here, in FL, we have so many and they change as we go along so it does get difficult to keep track of all the choices.

    But the “bigger problems” you write about — poverty, racism, etc. — they aren’t really changing. Not for the better anyway. I haven’t seen any suggestions for a new school system that can address these problems. Individuals make it and there are good ideas once in a while but, at least for the 12+ years I have been paying attention, things just seem to stay the same. More tests or a new curriculum or some other distraction but, basically, the system just continues as is.

    Here’s hoping your generation helps push the system to be new and better than it is. For your children.


    Posted by NanceConfer | December 4, 2011, 7:46 pm
  6. ” The system of education has become so weak, so trifling, so atrocious that its quality is meandered and worthless to America’s minority youth”

    The next time that you sit down to write something you obviously feel passionate about leave the thesaurus alone and grab a dictionary instead.

    You’ve meandered so far from your topic that your meaning is lost. You backed up your points with nothing but more emotion which so dilutes your worthy cause that it became just another skippable Internet rant.

    Posted by Thomas | December 10, 2011, 9:57 am
    • Thomas, I’ll leave it to Jabreel to address the content of your comment. I will, however, at this point, invite you to read around the site more to get a feel for our norms and conversations. While we invite push-back and constructive criticism, we insist on civility. I’m not sure that your comment rises above a rant as it is written, and we do not brook trolls here.

      If you are interested in helping any of us refine our writing, perhaps ask questions like, “What do you mean by [insert offending word here]?” That approach might open a conversation between yourself and an author. The harsh judgement in your comment – created by your word choice – closes off conversation.

      I hope you’ll consider becoming a part of the community; we ask ourselves for civility and engagement on the issues at hand. Scolding one another doesn’t do a damn thing to help kids learn in ways that matter to them and our shared future.

      All the best,

      Posted by Chad Sansing | December 10, 2011, 10:42 am
    • Thank you for respectively criticizing my content, but when I joined the community I was encouraged to write with emotion and passion instead of coldly stating facts. However, when I write I don’t use a thesaurus because when I write at the end of the paragraph I re read what I wrote to make sure it makes sense and words that I don’t recognize at first distract me from what I’m writing.

      However, thank you for sharing your opinion and next time when I write I will take your suggestions into consideration so that my content will not be mistaken as another “skippable Internet rant.”

      Posted by Jabreel Chisley | December 10, 2011, 11:57 pm
      • I wish more writing on the internet had as much wisdom and honesty as your post Jabreel. You voice in not only important to this site, but education transformation and learning communities every where. I don’t agree with the commentators assessment of your writing, but either way I would encourage to write from the heart no matter the process you use. This is not a rant nor is it skippable (is Skippable even a word :))

        Honestly have heard enough from Adults, or so called experts. I would much rather listen to “Kids these days” than 90% of the so called knowledge coming from the voices that cover the internet and education reform sites.

        Keep up the passionate, articulate posts and continue to fill them with passion, honesty and frank assessment of the horrid truths and beautiful lies of American Dis-education. Your voice is helping the Coop evolve for the better!

        a critical friend and learning partner,


        Posted by dloitz | December 11, 2011, 12:06 am
  7. Jabreel,

    I have filed many a document in state and federal courts to discover, days, weeks and sometimes years later, that they contain misspellings, grammatical errors and words poorly (sometimes astoundingly so) chosen. It takes a great deal of practice to become skilled at handling the authority and power of language, and I, for one, think you are doing well for one still in their teens.

    Perhaps the language experts would care to join us as we play in our neighborhoods – it would be interesting to see whether their language skills are transferable, and whether any “authority” remains 🙂

    Best wishes,

    Posted by Brent Snavely | December 10, 2011, 11:34 am

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