Transcription of the episode “Policing attendance boundaries: Education as private property”

Amy H-L: [00:00:15] I’m Amy Halpern-Laff.

Jon M: [00:00:16] And I’m Jon Moscow. Welcome to Ethical Schools. Our guest today is Dr. LaToya Baldwin Clark, assistant professor at UCLA School of Law, where she writes about race, parenting, and educational stratification. Dr. Baldwin Clark earned a BS in economics from the Wharton School,  an MA in criminology from the University of Pennsylvania, a PhD in sociology from Stanford, and her JD from Stanford Law School. This is the first of a two-part interview. Today we’ll look at equity in schools from an education law perspective. Next week we’ll continue the conversation with a particular focus on special education. Welcome, LaToya.

LaToya BC: [00:00:55] Thank you for having me.

Amy H-L: [00:00:57] Back in 1916, John Dewey stressed that education has to prepare students for an uncertain future and that therefore, a high priority should be given to developing the ability to adapt and to learn how to learn. Would you agree? And if so, are schools fulfilling that role of preparing students to be lifelong learners?

LaToya BC: [00:01:20] Well, I think some schools are. I think that there are schools that are very well-resourced, where many of the teachers perhaps have graduate degrees, where the children have parents who have college degrees and oftentimes advanced degrees. And I think those schools are likely preparing children to be lifelong learners. The reason I say that is in many of those schools, in comparison to other schools, which I’ll get to in a moment actually, are using curriculum that teach children to be lifelong learners, to teach them to be critical thinkers. In other schools, which are not as well resourced, meaning they don’t have the same property tax base for funding, their teachers are not likely to have as much experience teaching, and they come from families where perhaps no parent has gone to college, are from a particularly low income or working class background. Those schools are teaching those children something very different.  

And one way we see this is perhaps in the tracking systems that may happen in one school let’s say that has a diverse population, low-income versus high-income, black versus white. And there’ve been a number of studies that actually show that children, even if they’re learning the same curriculum, are being taught in very different ways. One can learn curriculum in such a way that is about rote memorization, really, you know, touching the surface of particular issues. But one could also learn those materials, the same exact materials, by teaching critical thinking skills. And so I think, to go back to your question, yes, some schools are doing that, but many schools are not.

Jon M: [00:03:12] You’ve written about education being treated as property. Would you tell us about that?

LaToya BC: [00:03:18] Sure. Education is inextricably linked to property. So in a very tangible way, most public schools receive a good amount of their funding from the property taxes on businesses and homes that are within the jurisdictional boundaries of the school district. And so when you pay for something, any of us would feel as though we deserve to have it. It is an entitlement that we are entitled, in other words, to actually have. And when you are entitled to something, let’s say that you’ve purchased your house, there’s a certain number of what we would call bundle of sticks in the law  area that come along with owning property, and one of those bundles of sticks is the ability to exclude. And that’s something that we can understand. Very simply, I own my home. Therefore, I have the right to tell you, you are not allowed to come in. And this is the way that some communities treat the public education in their jurisdiction. They say, well, I pay property taxes. As a result, I have the right to send my children and I have the right to allow other children to come to the schools. And those that I do not want here, therefore, do not have a right to be here. And law creates this. The laws in most states say that children are entitled to attend schools that are only corresponding to their bonafide residence, and they don’t have any inherent entitlement to attend schools that are not within their jurisdictional boundaries if they don’t live within those boundaries.

So that’s the reason I talk about education as property. One, it’s linked to property taxes literally. But then figuratively, because it’s linked to property taxes, because people feel as though that they have purchased it, especially when they purchase their home or they are renting in a particular area, because it’s theirs. They’re allowed to say who can come in and who cannot come in. And this has real great distributional consequences for children. Because if I’m a child and I live, let’s say, a block away from the jurisdictional boundary of a school district, even if there’s a school that’s closest to my home is in another school district, I’m not entitled to attend that school. And what I’m finding in my research, I talk about this idea of “stealing education,” which specifically talks about the fact that if we treat education as a personal entitlement, when others try to get into that jurisdiction without authorization, they are literally stealing education that belongs to me and trying to misappropriate it for themselves.

Jon M: [00:06:13] You know, it’s interesting as you’re talking about the connection with property taxes, and we should definitely get further into that, but, you know, in New York City, for example, where the schools are funded differently, they’re not, you know, directly from people’s property taxes, we’ve seen some of that same kind of thing. For example, we did an interview with Ujju Aggarwal about District 3 on the Upper West Side, which also includes parts of Harlem and where many of the parents in the Whiter and more affluent areas very much have been treating their schools as their property, even though there’s not the property tax element. And similarly, I don’t know if you’ve heard the podcast, “Nice White Parents,” about a school in Brooklyn, where there was a very similar kind of thing. So it’s just interesting that, you know, the property tax piece sort of fits very clearly in a lot of the country, but the problem doesn’t go away even when you don’t have those separate school districts.

LaToya BC: [00:07:22] Yes, absolutely. And so one of the things that I look at is not only is it about property taxes, but it’s also about community belonging. So there are schools in which they come to have a community meaning. Parents and school district officials in those areas, while they’re not being funded by property taxes directly, they still consider the resources in their schools to belong to them. And part of this is because, one of the things I look at is that schooling is not just about the funding that comes into a school. It’s also about the social capital that is created in those schools. And by social capital, I mean the ability to depend on resources by those who are in your network that you personally do not hold. So for example, a piece of social capital could be my children attends a school with parents who are lawyers. And if my child wants to be a lawyer, I might be able to call upon one of those parents and say, “Hey, could you talk to my child about being a lawyer?” That, in and of itself, is a piece of social capital that parents bring into a school district.

But you also bring what we call cultural capital. So cultural capital is– are resources that make it that you are a member of a high status group. You learn the ways of that group in ways that we think about, for example, this is a strong example of this. There is cultural capital involved in knowing how to speak “standard English.” And if you do not speak standard English and you speak some other dialect of English, that is just as valid as of a dialect but it’s not highly valued,  then being able to speak that standard English, it’s actually a benefit for you. It is a resource that you have as a result of being in a school, perhaps where most children, as well as most adults, speak “standard English.”

And so parents also seem to see those types of resources as belonging to them. And if someone from the outside comes in and wants to take advantage of those resources, they still feel that those things are as much personal property, even though it’s not naturally or directly related to school funding.

Jon M: [00:09:48] So it’s really, talking in terms of social and cultural capital, obviously, you know, Pierre Bourdieu talked a lot about capital in those kinds of senses, so it’s interesting because it’s so clear that those are forms of property. I mean, the very use of the word capital. And yet our conversations almost never mention that except in academic discussions. And it’s also true that schools are so much oriented towards middle or upper class capital, say cultural capital. Have you thought at all or have ideas on ways that some of that can get broken down, and some of the ways that some of the funds of knowledge that parents and communities have who have deep cultural capital, but not the cultural capital that consists of, you know, speaking BBC English?

LaToya BC: [00:10:56] Yeah. That’s a great question. It’s difficult to think about that because the issues of social and cultural capital are so ingrained in our society in ways that go beyond education. And it’s also the case that people don’t often recognize that they have cultural capital, right, or recognize that they have social capital until you explain it to them, until you break it down and say, “Hey, let me explain to you why you behaving in this way or why you having that access are actually forms of capital that not everyone has access to.”

So how do we break that down? Some people have suggested that we work towards having “middle class schools,” where we want to make sure that the median student is middle class, but that you have as many students who are as affluent on the, let’s say the right side, the median student as being middle class, and students who are working class and poor on the left side of the median, because in that way, you’re able to make it such that students who would not have otherwise learned this cultural capital or otherwise would not have access to the social capital are now in schools with the majority of students being middle-class.

And as a result, it’s hard to teach cultural capital, quite honestly. It’s one of those things that you need to be exposed to over and over and over again, because cultural capital sometimes tends to become embodied. It’s something that we carry along with ourselves, even if we don’t recognize that we’re doing so. And so the goal would be for all children to have access to that middle-class cultural capital by creating what we would call middle class schools. This is some of what was tried to happen when we had busing programs. It wasn’t just about busing children on the basis of race. It was also busing children on the basis of income, the idea of creating an integrated school. One of the reasons that that is important is because you also have middle class parents, and middle class parents are going to want the resources of the schools to  be used in ways that benefit their children. But in benefiting their children, they have no option but to also benefit other people’s children.

Amy H-L: [00:13:16] I think what we’re talking about is actually redefining or expanding the purpose of education. Is  It not?

LaToya BC: [00:13:23] Yes, it is. So one of the problems with thinking about education as personal property is that it stops us from thinking about education as integral to democracy, as integral to thinking about ourselves as a community, integral to people feeling as though they are worthy and necessary to be a part of the body politic.

One of the ways that I think that we’ve gotten away from thinking about schools is that we don’t think about them as community enterprises, such that every child receiving a great education is not just good for that child, but it’s good for everyone in the community. We’ve lost sight of that. And you can see it all over, right. You can see it with the higher education scandals, where a parent will go to all extents in order to get their child a great education. And they’re not thinking about what about other people who are not able to get that education, all the other people who are not able to have those opportunities.

What I want to do, and one of the things I do even personally, when it comes to my own children, is I want to advocate in ways that even if my child would not benefit that it’s better for the community as a whole to have a well-educated population. And that education is about awakening children.  Brown v Board and Justice Warren says this is about awakening children to our cultural values, awakening children  to make sure that they are part of the body politic. It is not only about making sure that child is, you know, successful in however we want to define that term, but it is very much about making that child a part of the democratic enterprise. And if we want to have a strong democracy, then we need all children to be engaged in being a part of the democratic enterprise.

Jon M: [00:15:28] So that also speaks to the focus over the last 30 or 40 years on seeing education primarily in terms of workforce development, which also has coincided with a lack of emphasis on things like social studies. I mean that the narrowing of the curriculum to be all about, you know, reading and math scores has this other effect of not being about a school as you were just talking about, as a democratic institution, or as Dewey talks about it ,in terms of the idea of democracy and education.

LaToya BC: [00:16:10] So for sure. There is a great book by Bowles and Gintis called “Schooling in Capitalist America.” And what that book shows is that it kind of goes to what I was talking about earlier, which talks about schooling as simply a way to slot people into different occupations and different things that have to be done in the workforce so that children who attend low income schools that are not well-resourced, they are being taught literally to sort themselves into lower rungs on the employment schemes, right. So that is something that sociologists have been looking at for a long time. And the sad thing is that it’s actually true. There is lots of evidence that talk about how children who attend schools that are lower income ended up getting jobs that place them on the lower rungs of the employment structure. So what you’re saying I think is absolutely true. And, you know, that’s a problem. It’s a problem that when children go to school, we can so easily make a direct line from what type of school they went to to what type of job they ended up having. And, and, you know, I think most people would say, “Oh, that’s awful.” Because we think about education, or we say we want education, to be what we call the great equalizer, that every child has an equal chance to fulfill all of their goals and to perform in the highest levels of society to get whatever job they want to. But the reality on the ground is it is very, very far from being a great equalizer. It’s actually a way to entrench socioeconomic stratification, not transcend it.

Amy H-L: [00:17:55] It reinforces the caste system, doesn’t it?

LaToya BC: [00:18:00] It does. It absolutely reinforces the caste system. And it’s it’s especially because in our society, things like race and class are very much intertwined. And so we find even these schools are not only the result of poor funding, but they’re also the result of legacies of slavery.

Jon M: [00:18:20] Speaking of all of the things that you’ve been saying, you’ve, I think, also written a lot about. And I don’t know if it’s an increased level or if it’s the maintenance of the same level of enforcement, of school district attendance barriers and boundaries. Can you talk a little bit about what you found?

Sure. So many school districts have been maintaining and enforcing the school district boundary lines starting in the 1960s and 1970s, when schools were required to desegregate. And there is a really important case called Milliken versus Bradley. And it originated in Michigan and it involved the Detroit public schools and the surrounding areas. And what the court had found: Lower courts had found that the State of Michigan had actually, it had, in and of itself, discriminated against students by making sure Black students were only in Detroit and then all of these suburban areas were predominantly white. And one of the things that the lower court wanted to happen was to allow students from Detroit to attend schools outside of their jurisdictional boundaries, to attend schools in these predominantly white areas. And the Supreme Court came down and said, no, you can not require suburban school districts to enroll or take in students that do not live in their geographic boundary. And since then, school district attendance boundaries have been a way, and perhaps one of the most important ways, of segregating children on the basis of race and class.

So one of the things that I write about, I call it “stealing education,” as I mentioned earlier. And this is when parents who are, have bonafide residents in one school district, illegally enroll their child in another school district. And the lengths to which school districts are allowed to investigate those parents and so even sometimes prosecute them or get other civil penalties against them for this particular behavior. And one of the things that I find is that these laws are often said to be justified by the issue of property taxes. So as we talked about before, if I paid for it, it’s mine, but they also rely heavily on racial stereotypes and racial dog whistles. So coded racial appeals that may not talk about race explicitly, but definitely talk about race in an implicit way, in order to justify keeping children that don’t belong in the school district outside. It’s very much in the same realm of what was happening in Detroit at that time which was to say, “We don’t want Black children in our school district; therefore allow us to enforce our jurisdictional boundaries.” And that’s exactly what’s happening right now as well.

You know, as you’re saying all that, and the fact that, as you said, it really intensified in the sixties, when schools had to think seriously about integrating, is the parallel with the increase in mass incarceration, that once you couldn’t have, you know, involuntary labor under slavery, they could develop involuntary labor under, you know, putting people in jail. And that, this is simply, I hadn’t thought about it in terms of, on a large scale, schools, basically figuring out, school districts, their administrations. I don’t mean school district administration necessarily, because frequently it was at municipal or state level, but also frequently at a school district level, how they could essentially achieve the same purposes by changing the rules.

LaToya BC: [00:22:26] Right. And this is, I think the very difficult issue in this country of not adequately dealing with the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow. What the court said was “OK, as long as it’s not being done against the law.” Well, you can change the law to make it so that it’s not explicitly about race. And I think you make an excellent point about this is how racial subordination continues in our country. It’s because when one thing is no longer illegal, another thing will pop up that is legal. And then maybe when we say that’s not legal, another thing will pop up. And that’s the nature of subordination. It’s the nature of, if you think about it from a sociological standpoint, this is how societies recreate themselves over and over and over again. Now, of course, I don’t think anyone would say, well, that’s not true. I think many people will say that these are basically the same thing; involuntary labor under slavery is very much like, I mean, we have firefighters who are fighting fires in California and they are inmates, right. So you’re having much of the same things happening. And I think that this is exactly the problem in schools.

And, you know, generally we talk about the different types of school segregation. On one hand, we call it de jure school segregation, which is that is required by law that children of different races cannot attend school together. And then de facto segregation, which is it’s not by law, but just by the facts of the world, this is what it looks like without taking into account that even the background considerations for why schools look the way that they do come straight from discriminatory practices, let’s say in housing, discriminatory practices in employment. So while we call it defacto school segregation, it’s actually very much facilitated by law, and the schools in turn facilitate housing segregation.

So one thing that people often say is, well, if we desegregate housing then we can desegregate schools. And actually, I think it’s more of the other way around. So if you think about, I know when I was looking for a home and I had my realtor. I have three children and, you know, I said I want to live in an area that has “good schools.” My main reason for wanting to move into an area was the schools. And realtors do this all the time, where they steer, though my realtor said to me, “Oh, you really want to be in this school district, you really want to be in the catchment area for that.” In a way, that the residential segregation is happening because people want to be segregated by race in schools rather than the other way around. Schools are driving residential segregation in a way that I think people do not often really consider or take stock of. 

Amy H-L: [00:25:28] You’ve said that closing the education gap means bringing down the top as well as bringing up the bottom. What do you mean by that?

LaToya BC: [00:25:39] So much of what is talked about is how do we close the gap. So people are very concerned about the relative difference between those at the top and those at the bottom. And often people say, well, what we need to do is to bring up the bottom. So those who are, schools that do not have as great a test scores, et cetera, we need to put money or resources into those schools so that they can close the gap. Well, the problem with social reproduction is that, that will never, I’m not going to say never, it’s very difficult to happen because when you bring up the bottom, you’re often going to then push up the top. And so while gaps definitely get smaller here and there, what ends up happening really is that there is an absolute level of increased successful schools for example, but the top has been pushed up, too. So the gap itself doesn’t ever really close. And it really highlights the idea that inequality and stratification, in and of themselves, are bad things. So just because a child, let’s say a child, when they get to third grade, they’re not able to read, we bring up the bottom so that when they get to the third grade, they are able to read. That’s great. And we want to see progress like that. We want to see absolute levels of progress. But much of the stratification is not about absolute levels of competence. It’s about relative levels of competence.

We can see this in higher education. Schools are getting more and more competitive. And the competition is because people want to be more and more elite. Even when you bring up the bottom, those at the top will always have incentives to stay at the top in a relative way, not just in an absolute way. And so what we do need to do, if we want equality, we do need to figure out how to we bring down the top. How do we stop allowing children to have unearned privilege while also bringing up the bottom, such that you get to a point where the gap has actually closed? There is no unearned, well, there is no additional benefit for those at the top when we bring up those at the bottom.

Amy H-L: [00:27:55] I think I’d add that in many cases, there is no substantive reason for that added layer of elitism. So for example, if kids now become reading proficient in second grade, like, so what?

LaToya BC: [00:28:13] Right, exactly.

Amy H-L: [00:28:15] So is there a way to close the gap? 

LaToya BC: [00:28:20] Um, so the sociologist in me says that one of the crazy things about social reproduction is that generation after generation after generation, we are reproducing the same stratifications that we had three, four generations ago. The stratification itself never changes. You know, even if Black people are no longer slaves, there is no longer Jim or Jane Crow, people are at a level that is absolutely better than where they were, the gaps still exist. And that is just the nature of social reproduction. That is just how things have always worked in this country.

So can we close the gap? I’m not sure that we can close the gap. What I do think that we could try and do is make the gap less consequential. So for example, one of the things that I know that the University of California system is doing is saying you don’t have to take the SAT in order to get into college. So if there’s a gap, there is a gap, but now we’ve taken away one of the main drivers of that gap, which is the SAT and the over-reliance on standardized testing to get into college. Now that we’ve taken that away, perhaps the gap will begin to close because the schools have to look at more than just a test score. They have to look at other things about a student that would make them valuable to be a part of the college community.

So will we close the gap? I don’t think so, but I think that we can make the gap smaller by making very important key decisions at different times when children are trying to move through the system of education in order to make those things that have been so much of a driver of that gap and that inequality, taking those things off the table. I think that other things will pop up because again, that’s the nature of this, that social stratification. But I do think that we can make these types of changes. So this generation, the gap is closed now. Okay. We don’t have to worry about that one anymore. Okay. Let’s tackle the next thing that comes up.

Jon M: [00:30:28] It’s interesting, your example with the SATs, because we recently interviewed Sam Abrams, who has studied both US schools and also Finnish schools. And Finland made, you know, some very conscious decisions in the 1970s to change their education system as part of sort of an overall move towards greater equity in the society. And when we asked Sam what were some of the immediate steps, given that we’re such a different society from Finland. And his thing was that one of the immediate things we could do would be to stop doing the standardized testing in every grade, testing all kids all the time. And he was recommending relying more on the NAEP, the National Assessment of Educational Progress and sort of selective testing and so forth. But I wanted to ask you, you mentioned your children and you said that they attend schools in Culver City, which is in the LA area. How is Culver City addressing inequality, or how is it trying to address inequality?

LaToya BC: [00:31:30] Yeah, that’s a really good question. One of the reasons I moved to Culver City is that I do believe Culver City is trying to do a lot to address inequality in a relative way. So for example, when I first started in my parenting journey in education, I was in Palo Alto. Culver City, I think, is miles ahead of Palo Alto when it comes to addressing inquality in their schools. I mean, part of the issue is that Culver City schools are actually quite diverse. You know, I was looking at my daughter’s friends the other day and she has White friends, she has Black friends, she has South Asian friends, she has Middle Eastern friends, she has East Asian friends, she has Indigenous friends. Like she has friends from all different types of groups.

One of the things that makes it hard though, with such a diverse student population, is that there are definitely groups that are falling behind. Black children are not doing as well in Culver City schools as are White and Asian children. The same thing with Latinx children. So what Culver City  has done recently is to create an equity plan, which is pretty detailed, that talks about all the different ways in which there are inequities in the school district and specifically how they’re going to address those. They’ve come up with three different populations that should be working together. So you have teachers, you have staff and administrators, and you have parents. And trying to engage all three of those areas together and thinking about how is it that we’re going to increase equity in our schools.

In my son’s elementary school, I have a child in high school, middle school and elementary school, I’m pretty involved in the one in elementary school. And I sit on what we call a school site council, which is a group that brings parents, teachers, and administrators together as a group to talk about how school funding is going to happen. How are we going to pay for the different things we want to happen in this or that school? And one of the things that I think our principal has been really good at, and we’ve been pushing a lot is that every single dollar should be spent with the idea of it being equitable. There should be no dollar spent at the school for which we have not thought about what the equitable consequences are spending money in this way. And I think we’ve been trying to do it. This is the first year that we’ve been doing this and I think we will get better and better at it. This is one of the reasons that I do a lot of work at the local school level. Not everything is going to change in that first year when you, kind of, you say these things and what are we going to do, but they will over time. The district PTA also, now every single school has an equity committee and we’re working together to figure out how do we fix some of the inequities in our schools.

I think a lot more could be done. I think right now we’re working on educating people about equity rather than doing the hard work of bringing equity forth and making sure our schools are equitable. But that is the first step. We do have to teach people what does it mean for something to be an equitable parent, even if you are a white middle-class parent of a child that is neuro-typical, that is doing all the right things in school. How do you look behind your child and also see that there are inequities that are happening in the school, even if they aren’t touching your kid? That’s the kind of work that we’re doing right now. It’s slow and painstaking work. It’s work that may in time outlive some of the children as they go through the process. You know, our seniors are not going to get the benefit of the work that we’re doing now, but I think over the long run, Culver City is trying in a way that I think many school districts are not.

Jon M: [00:35:10] Is there anything else that we haven’t talked about that you’d like to discuss today?

LaToya BC: [00:35:15] Well, one of the things that I’ve been doing a little bit of writing on Medium and kind of bringing in these things, and one of the things that concerns me, and [inaudible] is this idea about good schools. You know, Black parents want to find good schools for their kids, but often, when we think of good schools, we’re really thinking about White schools. There is a basic, it’s not all White schools, right, so I’m not talking about White schools in rural or areas that are mostly populated by White people, right. So we know that those schools share some of the very same issues that maybe inner city schools that are populated mostly by Black and Latino students. But if we think about a relatively affluent White middle-class school, people will say that that is a good school. But when good schools look like White schools, a lot of times that there are problems. And part of those problems are about the racial microaggressions or actual aggressions against Black children in these schools. And the question is to what extent are we sacrificing our children’s mental health, and to what extent are we sacrificing them in ways in which they are traumatized as a result of the symbolic violence that happens against them in schools, or getting them into these “good schools” that perhaps will make sure that they get a good job. And so that’s something that I’ve really been struggling with and really thinking about, even in my own school choices.

Nicole Hannah Jones wrote a great piece in The New York Times about her going through the same experience when she wanted to put her child in kindergarten in New York City. Does she stick with the public school that doesn’t have as great a test scores, that have more Black and Latino students  or does she try and go to one of the schools that are predominantly white where , you know, her child will probably get a good education? And again, when we understand what good means. And so I’ve been really just thinking a lot about what makes a school good. And how do we think about minoritized children being in those schools? Is it worth it from a social, psychological experience for them to go to schools where yes, they may get a education that teaches them to be lifelong learners, but at the expense of their own mental and social health as Black people?

Amy H-L: [00:37:44] Could you give us some examples of those microaggressions or not so micro aggressions that children are experiencing?

LaToya BC: [00:37:52] Sure. So there has been, just in the  recent years, so for example, I attended a school in Philadelphia called Masterman that was a magnet school. It was the top public school in the state of Pennsylvania at the time that I attended it, though. It very well reflected the demographics of the city. So Philadelphia is a city that is very white/Black, Black people, probably 40% white people, 40%. And then you have Latinx and Asian populations that make up smaller percentages of the city. But at the time that I went to this magnet school, it reflected the demographics of the city. It also reflected much of the socioeconomic demographic of the city. So many of us were working class, came from working class backgrounds. There were people who came from middle class backgrounds. We really looked like the city. Now that school looks very, very different. It is predominantly white and Asian. The Black population is very small, much smaller than what you would expect for a public school in the city of Philadelphia. And recently the children at the school basically put up a protest about how horrible it was to be Black at Masterman, which was not our experience 25 years ago, right.

And one thing I would really encourage people to do is some of these school districts, the students being technologically savvy, they have gone on to Instagram to write up different reports of what it’s like to be Black in the school. So ours is called Black at Masterman, where they talk about teachers who have derided them because they are Black, who don’t give them the same opportunities. And they’re very well aware of this, where their classmates have uttered racial epithets and have not been punished for them. There’s another school called Providence  Day, which is a private school in North Carolina that I wrote about. It was in The New York Times. And I wrote about it for a different reason than this, but one of the things, they also have a Black at Providence Day Instagram account, where they have students who are writing about their experiences as being Black or otherwise people of color, alumni have come on to write about their experiences, saying, ” I have blocked out much of what happened to me at this school. I’ve repressed it because it was so bad being a Black student.” So what’s good about this what’s bad of course, is that these children are being subjected to these racial microaggressions. And in some ways, if someone is saying the N-word toward you at school, that is a real aggression, not a microaggression. But now that at least they have the technology so that they can start to really gather all of this information and really push for change in their schools and in their school districts. And I I’m sad about what they are experiencing. I am hopeful though, because they have now taken it into their own hands, to say we’re not going to stand for this anymore.

Jon M: [00:40:50] Thank you,  Dr. Baldwin Clark of UCLA School of Law.

LaToya BC: [00:40:55] Thank you for having me.

Amy H-L: [00:40:56] And thank you, listeners. Be sure to listen to Part Two of this interview next week, when we’ll be continuing our conversation, with a particular focus on special education. If you enjoyed this podcast, please share it with a friend or colleague. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and give us a rating or review. This helps other people find the show. Check out our website,, for more episodes and articles and to subscribe to our monthly emails. We post annotated transcripts of our interviews to make them easy to use in workshops or plastics. We work with consultants to offer customized SEL programs with a focus on ethics for schools and youth programs in the New York City area. Contact us at We’re on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @ethicalschools. Our editor and social media manager is Amanda Dentoi. Until next week.

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