Inspired by Dominique Morisseau’s play Pipeline, today’s episode delves into issues tied to 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 and Matt Gonzales.
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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