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Why the Fight for Dyett High School Is a Fight for Democracy


Why the Fight for Dyett High School Is a Fight for Democracy

Jeff Bryant

Jitu Brown is a mountain of a man, tall and broad shouldered – the kind of person whose presence you notice when he walks into a room and whose deep, resonate voice commands your attention. When you shake his hand, you can’t help notice your palm completely disappears in his all-encompassing grip.


Years ago the philosopher Mortimer J. Adler wrote a book on education called "The Paideia Proposal." Although it might be a stretch idealistic and impractical ( I still think it is the way in an ever increasing leisure time society) Adler was strongly opposed to segregating students into groups according to "ability." He thought this damaged both those with "ability" and the rest, that all students learn by being with each other. Testing into "elite" schools is beneficial to no one. What a moster we're making of American education.

And where does Mayor Rahm send his kids, to one of the most expensive and exclusive schools in the nation, The University of Chicago Lab School.


These are warrior midwives in the best sense. Their revitalization proposal would empower students bringing studies into direct engagement with problem solving and reintegration with lived realities. Do away with 'bubble' teach-to-the-test, a completely different meaning not to mention a set of contextual reference points that intrinsically tickles the invaluable genius of youngsters. May the precedent of the Washington SC decision provide a spectrum of nutrient for the project to flourish.


Correct. I am a big Adler fan and have used his work extensively as I developed my own pedagogical style. In addition to the fact that the human family is complex and includes all levels of ability, there is no real way to measure this ephemeral state, so placing children into predetermined tracks based on someone's little numbers is nonsensical and extremely damaging to all the children--those who now feel incapable, and those who get the message that their abilities are somehow more worthy.


Thank you, my sentiments exactly.