Last week, 13-year-old Jada Williams made a startling revelation in her essay on Frederick Douglass when she paralleled the current education system to slavery. In doing so, she ignited a controversial uproar in her upstate New York community.
Williams, an African-American 8th grade student participated in an essay writing contest where she made a very poignant analysis:
Packing 30-40 students into a crowded classroom, and having mostly white teachers give them packets and pamphlets to complete that they don’t fully comprehend, impedes the learning process; and that this produces results similar to those hoped for by a slave master that forbids his slaves from learning how to read at all.
Jada’s observation is that nothing has really changed since the days of Frederick Douglass and that “the same old discrimination still resides in the hearts of the white man.”
Check out the rest of the story after the break – and the coverage on the local news station:
Not surprisingly, Jada’s clever essay infuriated the school’s teachers and administrators who voiced their disapproving opinions towards the young lady.
The Good.com followed the story and explains:
“Williams called for her fellow students to ‘start making these white teachers accountable for instructing you’ and challenged teachers to do their jobs. ‘What merit is there,’ she asked, if teachers have knowledge and are ‘not willing to share because of the color of my skin?’
According to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Williams’ parents transferred her to another school, then withdrew her altogether. The conservative Frederick Douglass Foundation gave Williams a special award, saying that her essay ‘actually demonstrates that she understood the autobiography.’ They have also reached out to the school for an explanation of the 13-year-old’s treatment.
While the issues Williams raises are controversial, even Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has acknowledged that closing the achievement gap requires more black educators in the classroom. But because the large majority of current teachers are white, they have a responsibility to figure out how to be effective with children of color.”
Check out the video below: