Thursday, February 11, 2016

Thinking about Knowledge Hierarchies and Social Divisions Across the United States. It is Something.

I was invited by Gateway Community College in New Haven to do a presentation on my work with relocated youth and what I learned from hearing their youth stories. Knowing these were two-year students working on a youth work certification, I expected a room of 19 year olds fresh out of high school.

Nope. The room was full of adult learners from all walks of life, all returning to community college after having children, struggling to find employment, and working through other obstacles along the way: prison, drug addictions, family problems. The collective wisdom in the room was enormous and although many of the returning students were older than me, their curiosity and interest in the world was amazing.

It made me think, "Why do I do what I do at an expensive school with young people who look nothing like the diverse landscape of America? What about other learners, capable learners, who don't have the financial resources to do the traditional fresh-out-of-high school, straight into college routine? How are any of our educational facilities equitable and just?"

I was captivated by the audience of adult learners: their wisdom, their experiences, and their alternative journeys to a place in time who wanted to hear what I had to say?"

I left the evening wondering, "Who do I miss out on by teaching where I do? Where might I make a better, more focused impact on the educational system."

I've done urban school teaching. I now teach in the tower. This is what I am thinking on a Thursday morning."

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