By now you’ve probably heard that a new law that was passed in the United States has been declared unconstitutional, and that the school board of New York City is now required to teach students decolonization as part of the curriculum.
That’s right: New York’s Board of Education is now requiring students to learn that law, as part a new syllabus.
It seems that the syllabus was created specifically to teach the lesson of “incorporating the realities of the colonial past,” according to an announcement by the New York Civil Liberties Union.
The syllabi is a set of five slides that are meant to help students understand how history can impact modern-day issues.
And although the syllabi itself is meant to be a refresher course for students, it also provides a glimpse into the school system’s history, and some of its own biases, according to a statement from the New School.
In the syllab, which is part of a broader syllabus for law classes, students are required to write an essay explaining why they think the law is discriminatory.
This essay is required to be written before the class begins, so that the class is “well prepared” for the next step of the class, according the NewSchool.
In the course of the essay, students will be asked to identify a number of specific instances in history that the law discriminated against.
Students are also required to identify other examples of racial discrimination that have occurred in the history of the United State, and to list a number that is “reasonable to consider in determining whether an action of a law enforcement agency or a government official constitutes a violation of the civil rights of any person.”
The New School has yet to officially respond to the announcement.
But this isn’t the first time that the New Schools syllabus has been criticized.
In February, a New York law student was suspended after an essay he wrote about the Black Lives Matter movement was rejected by the school.
In July, the New Student Movement, which was formed by students from the school, published an open letter that questioned the “exclusivity” of the syllabo and the “institutionalization of racism and white supremacy” in the school’s curriculum.
The letter also claimed that the “classroom experience is designed to reinforce an institutionalized bias against Black students,” as well as a “tendency to see and experience white privilege.”
New York’s New York Times has also highlighted the syllabs’ lack of racial diversity.
In its review of the New Students’ movement’s syllabus in December 2016, the paper wrote: “the New Schools curriculum is riddled with references to racism, including the assertion that white privilege is a “complex phenomenon.””
Jordan and others are hoping that the new syllabi will encourage more students to see the injustice and bias in the schools system. “
We have to work to dismantle this.”
Jordan and others are hoping that the new syllabi will encourage more students to see the injustice and bias in the schools system.
“It’s time to look at the bigger picture, not just at the big picture of who is the biggest problem,” Jordan told BuzzFeed News by phone.
“Because that is what we need to fix.
And this syllabus does nothing to fix that.”
Follow Alana Seme on Twitter: @alansemi