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Digital Equity and Social Justice Tramsformational Schools are needed everywhere and Broadening engagement is an issue for Minority Serving Organizations

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  • Bonnie Bracey
    Recently, I heard a speech by Condoleeza Rice. It reminded me of my anger about getting an inferior education. I don t make bones about it because I have spent
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 25 8:53 AM
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      Recently, I heard a speech by Condoleeza Rice. It reminded me of my anger about getting an inferior education. I don't make bones about it because I have spent a lot of money and a lot of time making up for what was designed with me as a minority in mind. I could have had a PhD instead, I have always been catching up .

      Here is what I wrote to a person who questioned my post. First , however, let me apologize for the spelling mistakes on the post. I was posting from Arizona and pushed the wrong draft. So diversity was mispelled. So sorry.

      I have been challenged by being involved in a conference in Arizona, the National Schoolboard conference, and by being on the National Mall.
      There are mistakes in my blog and I apologize. Perhaps I should not be so eager to post. Sometimes I cannot sleep because of what I hear. School board members are challenged by budgets and do not always have deep content knowledge. But they make the decisions that affect children.

      Here is a blog that states some of my feelings.. but it is not mine.

      I have been a bystander in the discussions about M. Rhee. In DC we have no real representation, no voice and congress oversees the DC school budget. Fenty gave permission to Ms. Rhee to make decisions for all of us. The school board also let her have sway. The story has been magnified and made magic. So much of it is not true. So many of the bad teachers were simply doing as they were told and were weighed in the balance and found wanting without any attempt to bring them into the fold of what she wanted next. She made fun of teachers and of the system. She mocked the knowledge of black teachers while bringing in a slew of people who had been to MIT, Brown and other universities.

      I went to an HBCU, and I have been working with Minority Serving Organizations and in Broadening Engagement. We who were raised in the crucible of separate but equal did NOT get the same education as others. There are perhaps some rural schools that serve everyone that also are not well funded. I have worked in Appalachia, in the Tribal schools and colleges and in places of need. I did this for eight years. There is a digital dark road .

      I worked with President Clinton on the NIIAC and I know what should be in all of the schools and is not. I work in DC and know that technofliency is not a hall mark of DC or lots of other schools. I know that most schools even the big ones are underserved in general education. Most people are bored with the talk and concern about digital equity. I am not. Read the PCAST report.

      Here is what I wrote about the National Expo on the Mall that took place two days ago. I stood in a booth to reach and share and help others to see how we are looking at technology , schools, and learning to transform education today. It is not an ISTE position, but my personal concern.


      There is a whole new world of supercomputing and computational thinking. Few of us as minorities get exposure to it, but there is a lack of sharing of the information within the majority population as well. See the discussion on the Convocation on the Gathering Storm.
      Taking full advantage of the opportunities that follow from fielding a petascale computing system requires a long-term coordinated effort to educate and train the next generation of scientists and engineers. This effort must excite, recruit, educate, and retain students as well as educational professionals.I can certify that less than one percent of minority serving institutions have the new technologies. I work with outreach in Supercomputing.

      I work in Broadening Engagement. We have in minority education very low numbers.
      I feel sad to think of the years that I spent trying to catch up with those who got a great education , in the first place.
      I used to teach reading to incoming freshmen at Virginia State University.
      I don't blame the institutions, I blame the unfairness of the situation and the funding.
      I am black.

      My sister finished in chemistry. My other sister was a biologist. My brother went to Georgetown
      Their schooling and the opportunities offered were very different.
      Now there are lots of schools on the digital dark road, though we pretend that they are up to date.
      I don't mean it as an attack but a wake up call.

      I promise not to post when I am too sleepy to spell check.

      I will add more on the SIG DE list. This is personal to you.

      From: McFaddenS@...
      To: bbracey@...
      Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2010 10:16:17 -0400
      Subject: RE: [sigde] The Call for Diviersity .. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the C

      Good Morning Bonnie,

      I've been receiving your emails as a member of ISTE, and I'll admit, most times I don't have time to read them. But this one struck a cord with me. I'm really having a hard time with this 'article.' First there are several typos, so you may want to use spell check before sending future emails, but that is minor. We all make mistakes.
      I study this on a research basis and work in broadening engagement to change the face of education to make it a level playing field for all.

      The respondent said.

      But your opening line "One of the problems in the bad teacher discussions is the legacy of those teachers who learned in the separate but equal era or at institutions for minorities which served.. but may not have been up to standards."

      I come from a family of educators (mom, aunts, grand aunts), who received wonderful educations from institutions that served minorities (or HBCUs - Historically Black Colleges and Universities). They come from an era where they didn't have a choice but attend institutions such as these. And they were definitely not deemed bad teachers. Most of them went on to acquire their masters degrees and received many accolades from their school districts and a lot of respect from their former students.

      It is really unfair to make such a generalizations, because as a current educator, who received my undergraduate from an HBCU and my graduate degree from Teachers College (Columbia University), I have seen bad teachers who have come from 'majority' universities, those that are more well known and have quite honorable reputations. I believe the bad teacher problems come from lack of accountability from many (government, administrators, parents, etc.) but also from 'bad' administrators and/or overworked administrators who already have too much on their plates.

      My response

      Education in the US has been a problem for many years.

      The government acknowledges that we only have one percent of minority educators in some fields because we don't do outreach. It is true that many
      don't want to talk about the digital divide, the content divide, the technology infrastructure divide, or the information divide. I am guilty of talking about all of these.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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