National Writing Project

Writing in the 21st Century: The Genteel Unteaching of America's Poor

Date: April 23, 2009

Summary: As part of a series of reports from NCTE calling for support for 21st century writing instruction, Kylene Beers, NCTE president, discusses an urban school where the staff maintain that students benefit from school time sitting still and memorizing facts—a perspective she labels "segregation by intellectual rigor."

 

Excerpt

And there it was—that declaration that those kids, those kids whose lives are limited not by their potential and not by their poverty but by the interpretation of what that poverty means they can achieve, those kids require an education that does not look like the education of children whose lives are lived in the security of abundance, or if not abundance, then at least the security of enough. That as¬sertion was accompanied by the genteel smile of someone assured that I, too, would see the value of this diminished educational experience once I had spent time with those kids.



Copyright © 2009 by the National Council of Teachers of English. Posted with permission.
Beers, Kylene. 2009, March. The Genteel Unteaching of America's Poor. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

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