Boston Youth Question the Value of the U.S. Educational System

TUE, APR 18, 2017 (1:18:45)

A group of community organizers and students met in a classroom in Harvard's Graduate School of Education to speak with aspiring educators. The question they raised: Are We Being Educated or Incarcerated?

"There's too much emphasis on behavioral class management and curriculum development. As a result of such, there's very little engagement and relationship development between teachers and students. Consequently, our urban youth of color are not being effectively educated; they are being mentally colonized, marginalized, and incarcerated." — Emdin (2016) and Quiceno (2017)

This discussion gave some youth an opportunity to share with Harvard students and education professionals their personal narratives about the disciplinary issues they have encountered within the public and charter school system. They also offered some recommendations to dismantle the "school-to-prison pipeline".

+ BIO: James Mackey

James Mackey is a national activist, social philanthropist, motivational speaker, and the founder of a grassroots organizing movement called #StuckOnReplay. Mackey is a graduate fellow of the Institute for Non-Profit Management and Leadership from Tufts University. In 2017, he was nominated twice and awarded for his work on criminal justice reform, striving to ensure that those affected by mass incarceration are heard and influencing policymakers throughout the state of Massachusetts.

Mackey is the recipient of numerous community recognition awards. He received the Ralph F. Browne Jr. award (2017) and the Community Partner Award (2017), for working with the I Have A Future movement to end youth criminalization and increase youth opportunity. He received the Aspiring the Youth Award (2016) for his significant contribution to the African American Community in the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Social Capitalist Award (2016) for personifying the spirit of strengthening communities through civic engagement and volunteering his time by impacting the lives of others, leveraging his personal and professional network to make a difference.

Mackey is extremely passionate about community organization and striving to make true social justice a reality. He is devoted to youth engagement, mentoring, and advocating the importance of allocating resources and opportunities to those who need it most. In the summer of 2016 his story was featured on NBC Nightly News because of his YouthBuild experience and his dedication toward positively empowering and impacting his family and the lives of others for the better.

+ BIO: Leidy V. Quiceno

Leidy V. Quiceno BA in Criminal Justice (magna cum laude); Member, National Criminal Justice Honor Society (Alpha Phi Sigma). Her LLOP project shed light on domestic violence among undocumented immigrant women in the U.S. Her presentation at the Summer Institute of Latino Public Policy in Washington, D.C. sought to communicate how the legal justice system can serve this vulnerable population. LLOP awakened her sense of and skills in social advocacy and she continues to share and sharpen those skills as a teacher, mentor, and future social worker.

Leidy is currently teaching science at UP Academy Leonard in Lawrence, MA.

+ BIO: Zahrea Cooper

Zahrea Cooper is a representative of "I have a future" and a freshman at UMASS Boston.

+ BIO: Keturah Brewster

Keturah Brewster is the lead organizer for "I Have A Future".

+ BIO: Fania Joseph

Fania Joseph is the President of Boston Student Advisor Committee.

+ BIO: Alonzo Jinwright

Alonzo Jinwright is a representative of Changing Tracks and a high school senior at University High.

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Harvard Graduate School of Education