4 Teens on Race & Education in Schools
Today’s show is a continuation of our Education Project series focused on racial and economic equity in education. It is so vital to hear stories from people directly affected by the issue we are discussing. So, when it comes to education, it is crucial that we hear from students about their own experiences and insights... and these four have some great insights!!
Mia, Benny, Sebastian, and Briyana are New Haven Connecticut Public High School Students who help lead a group called PREST - People for Race and Ethnicity Studies Today. These teens have done a lot of learning and thinking on racism in our society, in their identities, and race and culture in schools, so I was excited to sit down and hear all that they had to say on the topic.
New Haven, CT is a small east coast city. There are 22,000 students in the school district, which is approximately 40% Black, 40% Latinx, 14% White, 2% Asian, and is a district with very high levels of poverty. New Haven is a vibrant city with an extensive public magnet school program that attempts to address racial and economic segregation by allowing students from surrounding towns to attend many of the city’s schools.
Mia, Benny, Sebastian, and Briyana speak on a variety of perspectives they hold about being students of color who have experienced schools both in New Haven, and in other towns. We intentionally used only their first names, and did not mention what schools they attend, as the objective of this interview is not to call out any one school, but to hear the student's insights on race and equity in schools, and how these experiences are connected to the larger systems of power that make up our society.
This interview covers a range of topics from the importance of curriculum that centers people of color, overcoming internalized racism, and why having teachers of color is important for black and brown students. These four share on the challenge that was middle school and the more progressive mindset of many in their generation now that they are in High School. They also touch on how going through metal detectors each day affects them, and the role and relationships with armed security guards in school. Listen in to hear more from this insightful crew and leave your comments below.
Thank you to Hillary Bridges of PREST for supporting the work of these teens, and for helping to make this interview possible...and to Briyannah for her leadership in organizing the group! Thank you as well to the Graustein Memorial Fund for their support of our Equity in Education story series, and to WNHH and the New Haven Independent for getting them out on the public airwaves.