Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Psycho Academic Holocaust

     In September I went to a seminar that talked about the continuing  misdiagnose of  African Americans and Latino students in public schools. It was hosted by Umar Johnson  who is a School Psychologist and advocate  for African American and Latino students and their parents who are often negatively targeted in school systems. It was held at Dr. Jorge Alarez   High School in Providence. Before Dr.Johnson spoke, there were a few people who told poems, sang songs, and spoke about issues in the African and Latino communities. When Dr. Johnson spoke; he discussed how African American and Latinos  students are disproportionately put in special education because of cultural differences between the students and the teachers. He said most teachers who are middle age white women who give cultural bias standardize testings set the students up to be put in restricted environments and are given mediocre education. Poor standardize testing is blame on students inability to pay attention which causes the poor testing.  the school system make parents believe that their children need to be on dangerous medications that they don't really need to treat ADHD or other disorders. He said that teachers who have students that they find difficult  including African American boys who are stereotyped to act out in class more than others, are  funneled unnecessarily into special education because schools take in more federal money for each special ed student  that they identify.  in addition to that the money should go to their budget but Unfortunately at times the money is not used to provide the student with the resources he/she needs to perform. He discuss how he is a school psychologist for many  schools in Philadelphia and  attends other schools across the countries and sees this practiced more and more.
     Dr. Johnson gave advise to parents about how to protect their children from unnecessary being put in specials educations and given dangerous  medication by school psychologist  that could affect a student's educations and life.   He recommended reading every piece of paper in school meetings and parents knowing their  children's educational rights. He said if something is unclear, have someone else look over papers before signing papers about providing special educations service. This is especially true before parents sign to have their children  medicated. He talked about having a support hotline and a committee for African American and Latino parents to have advocates in cities across the country to make sure the proper legal process is being done.  He is also opening up a school that he is trying to raise money for.

     This event  relates to what we discuss about single stories. I believe that so many teachers and people in the school system have presumptions of what African Americans and  Latinos are like before getting to know them which leads to them  giving up on them easily. If some teachers were able to see pass some of the preconceived notions about students of colors and recognize that there is more to them, then maybe there wouldn't be so many students in special ed.  There is a system of injustice  for students of  color and the single stories that perpetuates images of students of color as worthless. The ones  who suffer the long term affect of being on meds that they really don't need and miseducation are the African American students and Latinos/ 


1 comment:

  1. I never really thought about how English as a second language could play out to make the child seem to have other "problems". After reading this I can see how unfair this must be to those affected by it. I think this is extremely important for parents who were not born in the US to read and attend- to understand their children's educational rights. I also like how you related this back to the single story piece we did, which is so true. These children are given the same test as another student who was born here and speak English as their first language. These students may need extra help understanding the language to then perform at a better level rather than being told they need medications and special education. This could be very discouraging for a young child.