Damped and Driven

October 30, 2008, 9:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

There’s an after school tutoring program at the high school. I usually stay after as i live right in town and I can; i help students with science and math. It’s a good place to build relationships with students, whether i have them for class or not, and they can get some homework done.

Anyway, the program is funded by some sort of federal grant, as many of the programs on the rez. This year we got a new format for sign-in sheets. Theres a column that asks students to write down ‘race’. This wasn’t on the old sign-in sheet, but apparently the grant is exclusively for native students. It’s awkward. The students think it’s awkward and i agree.

The most devastating part of it is that many of the students write down NA or N/A. I can’t help but think ‘not applicable.’ It makes me think of the marginalization my students and their people have faced. I think It’s an insult to them that in order to stay after school, in order for them to stay after and put in some extra effort and try and compensate for some of the inequity of our educational system, my students have to bow to the federal government and identify themselves as in need of some special assistance or something. Why doesn’t every kid in this country have the same opportunities irrespective of ‘race’? I think i understand why its there, but that ‘race’ column unsettles me.


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