Lift Us Up, Don’t Push Us Out: Breaking the school-to-prison pipeline

In 2008, Chelsea Fraser, 13, was doodling on her desk. The eighth grader was sent to the principal’s office along with three African American classmates. But instead of being reprimanded, the four students were marched out of their middle school by police and taken to the precinct. Chelsea spent three hours at the precinct handcuffed to a pipe  before her mother was finally allowed to see her. I told this story in an article in Mother Jones called “Hard Time Out.”

This is a symptom of a larger problem: When students of color enter school, it begins their fast track into the criminal justice system. In Texas, 75 percent of students of color are suspended by the end of high school, and statistics show that many of them land in jail as a result. This phenomenon is known as the school-to-prison pipeline. In response, a movement for educational justice is growing across the US. These stories are told in a new book, Lift Us Up, Don’t Push Out: Voices From the Front Lines of the Educational Justice Movement, a collection of essays by leading education activists, by Mark Warren and David Goodman. On this Vermont Conversation, these activists discuss the problems and solutions confronting students and parents in schools today. (October 3, 2018 broadcast)

Mark Warren, professor of public policy and public affairs, University of Massachusetts-Boston,  co-chair, Urban Research-Based Action Network

Roberta Udoh, pre-kindergarten teacher, Boston Public Schools and an activist in Boston Teachers Union 

Denyse Wornum, organizer and youth leader, Youth on Board, Boston

Carlos Rojas, director, special programs, Youth on Board

Part 1: Warren, Wornum, Udoh

Part 2: Warren, Udoh, Rojas

 

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