Monday, October 31, 2011

School to Prison Pipeline

Next Spring 2012 I'll offer an introductory level course on the "school to prison pipeline." That term describes the funnel that makes many children in the United States lose faith in their own abilities to do well in school, and to make decisions that lead them down the path to juvenile, and later adult, corrections.

There are so many things wrong with that picture. The big questions have to do with 1) education: Are schools really for learning? and 2) justice: How should we punish people when they do something wrong?

And the very obvious problem has to do with structural racism. Why are so many of the kids who are channeled into prisons brown, black, and poor?

Free your mind, while there's time

This Detroit mural captures many feelings of our epoch. How can our minds be free, while we are so busy working, reading emails, texting, surfing the web, or shopping on-line? What kind of work occupies our minds? When we are not working, what kind of noise fills the gap in our minds?

What kinds of work would we choose to do, if we were truly free to decide where to apply our minds, bodies, and spirit?

Detroit is a special place, where questions like this are necessary and significant.