"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Why "a Blind Eye" about KIPP?

Former Rutger's basketball coach Mike Rice is the outrage of the moment, but his firing took months and a viral video:

Video shows Mike Rice's ire

Maybe a moral response to Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) requires a viral video.

Apparently that is what it takes for organizations and the public to respond to inexcusable but prevalent behavior—especially when that behavior is mostly by white men in authority at the expense of mostly African American young men who are essentially powerless.

Charles Blow confronts and names the culture surrounding Rice's behavior as a coach:
From my experience, his behavior seems an a extreme version of what is generally accepted practice among some coaches, players and parents who turn a blind eye and even give a grudging nod of approval.... It is almost universally accepted that many coaches have wild mood swings. They’re quick to cry and quick to laugh, but also quick to pull or push athletes into place, yell at and berate players, and throw anything they can get their hands on. The logic is that these coaches give athletes the worst in order to get the best out of them. But at what cost? People excuse — or even celebrate — such behavior as a passion. But, let’s call it by its real name: abuse.
Yes, this is abusive, but why is such abuse tolerated?

This "blind eye" about coaches and players (again, mostly white men with power over mostly young men and women of color without power) isn't just about sports, but a "blind eye" about race, class, and how both converge in those things a culture tolerates for, as Lisa Delpit confronts, "other people's children."

Why is there no outrage about this?: "African American youth account for 16 percent of all youth, 28 percent of all juvenile arrests, 35 percent of the youth waived to adult criminal court, and 58 percent of youth admitted to state adult prison," as detailed by Michelle Alexander's unmasking of The New Jim Crow.

Why is there no outrage about the school-to-prison pipeline turning into schools-as-prisons, as Kathleen Nolan details in Police in the Hallways?

Why is there no outrage about the authoritarian and demeaning "no excuses" tactics that characterize KIPP charter schools, which Sarah Carr humanizes in Hope Against Hope?

I suppose words aren't enough for moral outrage as long as the consequences impact "other people's children."

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