Tony nominee Dominique Morisseau (TV’s SHAMELESS, AIN’T TOO PROUD) discusses her groundbreaking play PIPELINE, named for the national crisis of the school-to-prison pipeline. The play follows, Omari, a Black high school student at a predominantly white prep school and his single mother, Nya, who teaches at the district public school. When Omari attacks his teacher in class, Nya’s fears for her son and his future push her to the edge and force audiences to question who is truly at fault.
How and why did the school-to-prison pipeline begin? What problems does education inequity and inequality cause? How do we make education more equitable—across public and private institutions? How do we train teachers of all races to relate to students of all races? What is “culturally responsive education” and how can it improve our education crisis? How does this connect to Black Lives Matter, George Floyd, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, and too many more? Listen to this fascinating and urgent discussion with playwright Morisseau and education experts Tyree Booker of Camelot Education and Matt Gonzales of NYU’s Metro Center.
Referred to in this episode
- Watch PIPELINE now on BroadwayHD. (Option for free trial for new users.)
- Michael Brown’s murder in Ferguson, MO (Read up until “The Law” section, which sources speculative opinions)
- THE NEW JIM CROW by Michelle Alexander
- ACLU: “School-to-Prison Pipeline”
- Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity & the Transformation of Schools, where Gonzales works on education research and policy
- Camelot Education, where Booker serves as an Executive Director
- Morisseau’s op-ed “Why I Almost Slapped a Fellow Theatre Patron, and What That Says About Our Theatres”
- What is “Culturally Responsive Education”?
- NATIVE SON by Richard Wright – Buy it from your local Black-owned independent bookstore; find stores here or here.
- Hear poet Gwendolyn Brooks read her “We Real Cool”
- Key and Peele’s “If We Treated Teachers Like Pro Athletes”
- U.S. Department of Education School Discipline Snapshot
- 2017-2018 School Survey on Crime and Safey
- “Racial Disparity in School Discipline” Infographic
Create the change
- Stand up for Black lives
- Find one-page education reform resources at the EJ-ROC Policy Hub
- Read JUST MERCY by Bryan Stevenson; FIERCE CONVERSATIONS by Susan Scott; WHO MOVED MY CHEESE? By Spencer Johnson; THE MISEDUCATION OF THE NEGRO by Carter G. Woodson (Buy from a Black-owned independent bookstore; find stores here or here.)
- Follow @integratenyc @CEJNYC @TeensTakeCharge @AQE_NY @CACF
- Read i3’s (Integration and Innovation Initiative) plan to integrate NYC schools, take their cues to adapt the policies for your school district
- Learn what “defund the police” means
- Elect Board of Education reps who:
- Support universal early childhood education
- Advocate for culturally responsive-sustaining education
- Will divest from school policing
- Will decriminalize student behavior
- Will develop “sanctuary school” models to make school a space safe from police and ICE agents
- Provide a model for family engagement in education
- Opt for counseling and progressive discipline
- Reach out to and collaborate with the Anti-Racist Initiatve at NYU’s Metro Center
Why We Theater is a product of part of the Broadway Podcast Network, edited by Derek Gunther, and produced by Alan Seales.
Our theme music is by Benjamin Velez. Hear more at BenjaminVelez.com.
Our logo is by Christina Minopoli. See more at MinopoliDesign.com.
Special thanks to Dori Berinstein, Leigh Silverman, Patrick Taylor, Tony Montenieri, Elena Mayer, Wesley Birdsall, and Suzanne Chipkin.
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ABOUT OUR GUESTS
Dominique Morisseau, playwright
Dominique is the author of Pipeline. She also wrote The Detroit Project (A 3-Play Cycle) which includes the following plays: SKELETON CREW (Atlantic Theater Company), PARADISE BLUE (Signature Theatre), and DETROIT ’67 (Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem and NBT). Additional plays include: SUNSET BABY (LAByrinth Theatre); BLOOD AT THE ROOT (National Black Theatre) and FOLLOW ME TO NELLIE’S (Premiere Stages). She is also the Tony-nominated book writer of the Broadway musical AIN’T TOO PROUD — THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS. Dominique is an alumna of The Public Theater Emerging Writer’s Group, Women’s Project Lab, and Lark Playwrights Workshop and has developed work at Sundance Lab, Williamstown Theatre Festival and Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference. She most recently served as co-producer on the Showtime series SHAMELESS (three seasons). Additional awards include: Spirit of Detroit Award, PoNY Fellowship, Sky-Cooper Prize, TEER Trailblazer Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, Audelco Awards, NBFT August Wilson Playwriting Award, Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, OBIE Award (2), Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellowship, Variety’s Women of Impact for 2017–2018, and a recent MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow. Twitter: @dmorisseau Instagram: @dmorisseau
Tyree Booker, Executive Director Excel Academy, Camelot Education
Tyree is an executive director with Camelot Education, working specifically in Chicago school districts. Camelot Education opened in 2012, having been selected by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to provide an alternative education to some of the 60,000 students in the city who are identified as being overage and under-credited. To help serve that population, Chicago Excel Academy, under Tyree’s direction, educates 375 students between the ages of 16-21 in need of credits to earn their high school diplomas. Tyree began his career in Philadelphia as a high school math teacher at Daniel Boone. A native Philadelphian from one of the toughest neighborhoods in North Philly, Tyree is a first-generation college student, having graduated from Westchester University of Pennsylvania. He earned his Masters in School Counseling from Gwynedd-Mercy College and a Masters in Educational Leadership and Administration from Concordia University Chicago. Connect with Tyree.
Matt Gonzales, NYU Metro Center for Research and Equity on the Transformation of Schools
Matt is an educator, an advocate, and a policy analyst. He is founder, and director of the Integration and Innovation Initiative (i3) at NYU Metro Center, a project designed to support policy development and design, implementation, and advocacy for school integration. He is co-founder of the NYC Alliance for School Integration and Desegregation (nycASID), and serves as the Policy Coach for the youth-led advocacy group IntegrateNYC. As a member of Mayor de Bill Blasio’s School Diversity Advisory Group, Matt has helped to craft New York City policy on school integration, and was integral in helping draft a common definition for Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Education (CRSE) recently adopted by the DOE. He has worked closely with state education leaders to design the New York State Integration Project (NYSIP) grant program and has supported districts all across New York in developing integration plans. Nationally, Matt serves on the Policy Working Group and Steering Committee for the National Coalition on School Diversity and is an Advisory Board member for Integrated Schools, a grassroots parent network committed to integrated schools.He is a former special education teacher at Bancroft Middle School in Los Angeles, and earned his Masters in Education Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2016. He earned his Bachelor’s in Urban Education and a Special Education Teaching Credential from California State University, Los Angeles. Twitter: @MattTheG Instagram: @i3nyumetro