I was invited to the play by a friend, Arlene; her daughter Asia was a member of the cast
I found this play on institutional racism so powerful and timely because in this so-called Age of Obama, many people believe with the election of the nation’s first black President, that racism is no longer a problem. Some people even go as far as to suggest that America is a post-racial society.
Without a doubt, teachers cannot teach and students cannot learn in a chaotic educational setting. However, kicking kids out of school rather than providing them with the counseling, mentoring, or perhaps family intervention they need does more harm than good. Research shows that students that are suspended or expelled from school tend to either be held back a grade, drop out, or find their way into the juvenile or criminal justice system.
Part of the reason schools turn so frequently toward such harsh disciplinary tactics, as the play aptly demonstrates, is because of the seemingly insurmountable challenges and pressures many teachers face in racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically isolated urban public school systems: inadequate resources, growing pressure to have students perform well on high stakes tests, unmanageably large class sizes, students with serious behavioral problems, a lack of proper training in classroom management, a lack of good mentoring, and administrators, staff, and school board members who function more like adversaries than colleagues.