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The Wheel of Education


These are my thoughts, yo.

The Wheel of Education

jasmine banks


I was on the phone with one of my best friends the other day. Kelly has been chronicling her emancipation from the school system she works for. I was calling to check in. I know her well enough to know that her presence on Facebook isn't the full measure of how she is really doing, so I always force her to let me hear her voice. She sounded lighter. The usual undertow of pain was absent. She wasn't as weary as usual. We Black women working in institutions know that undertow of weary. Beneath our hardened layers are waves of molten pain stirring and churning and waiting for a fault line to break through. She told me what she was feeling  after, having less than an hour before our call, quitting her job. She laughed. "Do you watch Game of Thrones? Because I really do feel like Daenerys. I'm going to break that fucking wheel. I suppose prophets don't always know when they are prophesying. Historically "the wheel"  or "the breaking wheel" was a device/tool used in public execution. People were strapped to it and it was used to break a criminal's bones  through bludgeoning or stretching resulting in their death. The wheel Kelly is talking about is the torture device of public and private education that continues to break the bones of Black, Brown, and LGBTQ kids. I'll be damned if the system hasn't criminalized being Black and used public education as another means of public execution. We've been strapped to the wheel for nothing other than being Black and poor. Students of color are punished and not given resources for their success at a much higher rate than their white peers. Institutionalized racism. Educational systems have publicly harmed Black and Brown kids for as long as we can remember, while using the numbers they create through biased educational practices to justify why Black kids and kids of color are the problem. Kelly's experience and the experiences of so many other educators bear out the proof. The increased popularity of charter schools in the United States also provide proof of a trend that is favored toward segregation. Kelly has stood in the town square of public education and watched as the wheel has broken the bones of child after child. She refuses to be a spectator any longer. She will break the wheel.

Read more about Kelly's story here and subscribe to her site for ways to help her with her work.