Op-eds and Articles

Langhorne for The 74, “When Pursuing Education Becomes a Crime, It’s the System That Should Be Scrutinized, Not the Students”

By / 8.22.2017

In a recent article, Derrell Bradford mentioned New Jersey and the state’s practice of having off-duty police officers follow students home to make sure the students are attending school in their assigned district.

“When we’ve criminalized the pursuit of a good school, we must ask whether the mission and intent we ascribe to public education are really being served,” Bradford writes.

It is a thought-provoking sentence. I assume that Bradford would have liked for me to think about how children’s ZIP codes are the largest predictor of the type of education they’ll receive (the subject of his excellent article); instead, I thought about Emilio.

Emilio (not his real name) was a student in my 9th grade ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) English class. While I couldn’t claim he was one of my better students or that he possessed a particularly strong work ethic, he was prompt and polite, engaged while in class, and gifted with a wonderful sense of humor.

Prior to reading Shakespeare, the class studied literary devices — pun, oxymoron, simile, etc. I have never seen a student laugh so hard at the sign for “Dry Creek Water Park.”

Around the beginning of February, Emilio told me he would miss next class because his family was moving.


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