Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
KPBS Midday Edition

Black Lives Matter Movement Inspires SDSU Class On Black Minds In Education

Black Minds Matter class introduction
Black Lives Matter Movement Inspires SDSU Class On Black Minds In Education
Black Lives Matter Movement Inspires SDSU Class On Black Minds In Education GUEST: J. Luke Wood, Ph.D., professor of community college leadership, San Diego State University

The achievement gap in education is a multifaceted problem that keeps many students from reaching the full potential. It is something that affects the number of black and brown students who move on to higher education and get their degrees. This wall, the causes and effects of the gap will be explored in a new course at San Diego State called Black Minds Matter . It focuses on black boys and men in education. It will draw parallels between the Black Lives Matter movement and the ways black minds are engaged in the classroom. Joining me is Doctor Wood at San Diego State University. Professor, welcome to the program.How do you make the link between the movement for justice and law enforcement that is the focus of Black Lives Matter's to this course,?-- Black Minds Matter ?There is been Michael Brown and Eric Garner and many others. We know that as a result, there is anger and resentment that has risen up from the community. What we have seen is that there is a focus on two critical facts. First, we know that black boys and men are criminalized in society deem to be up to no good. Second, we know that their lives are undervalued by those who are responsible for protecting them, which is police officers. In educational settings, we see the same patterns play out where we see they are criminalized in the classroom, which results in the overrepresentation in exclusionary discipline. Also, the mines are undervalued by the teachers who are responsible for educating them. We see there are clear parallels between black lives and black minds.You have done research into the challenges that young black men basin education. Tell us more about the concept of black boys and men being criminalized in the classroom.There is researcher that has shown that black boys and men are criminalized. It begins early on, as early as preschool where you have two boys who were playing on the playground. Let's say one boy is white and one boy is black. They are engaged in aggressive play which is what we socialize boys to do. We buy toys that are focused on sports. They are active and oftentimes they play aggressively. What you see sometimes when the children are playing on the playground, you have an educator who engages them differently. One tells the black boy that they have to slow down and they are doing too much and they are being overly aggressive and the white child might do the same thing and the applauded for the behavior. This pattern continues because we see in terms of overrepresentation in suspensions and expulsions, as early as preschool, the pattern begins and continues throughout their educational careers.Black Minds Matter is a graduate course. An hour-long lecture from different speakers will be streamed for free on the Internet. Why did you decide to open up the lectures?As an educator, we focus on educating those who are mostly among us, which is the students. That is our responsibility. I think as an educator, we have a responsibility to inform the public when we know there are certain strategies and practices that can improve the lives of individuals we serve. The goal with the course in terms of bringing in speakers who are excellent researchers in the field and in terms of making a public was to draw in people who might normally not be able to participate in an activity such as this to learn strategy and practices for the success of men and boys of colors. We have been excited to see that we have had announced the offering two days ago. We have over 700 people who are registered to participate.You have an impressive list of speakers. Can you tell us about some of the people who we will hear from in the course?The first speaker is going to be Patrice who is the cofounder of the Black Lives Matter's movement. We will have her talk about her work with Black Lives Matter and use that as an opportunity to make the connection between issues that the movement has fought for and also the issues that we see that are parallel issues in education. We also have too many of the greatest researchers in the field including Sean Harper who is a professor at USC and Tyrone Howard at UCLA and Ebony who is at the University of Illinois. We brought in people who can land varying perspectives and expertise. We have them talk about their research in this area and focus on different areas to paint a larger picture of the issues that are facing these boys and men.Do you expect the students taking this upper level course will be educators who can do something to change the environment that you are discussing?Yes. We are hoping we will have educators who are primarily in the audience. From the registration that we have so far, or the public version of the course, we see that is who is registering, writer students who are interested in learning more and teachers and principals. We see university professors we're having a pipeline view meaning that we are focusing from preschool to doctoral level education and looking at issues that cut across different levels of education.As I mentioned in the introduction, the course begins this fall at San Diego State University. I've been speaking with Dr. Wood at San Diego State University. Thank you.Thank you. I appreciate it.

Black Minds Matter class information
A flyer for the San Diego State University course, Black Minds Matter.

Beginning this fall, San Diego State University professor Luke Wood will teach a free online public course titled "Black Minds Matter: A Focus on Black Boys and Men in Education." Wood said the Black Lives Matter movement inspired him to develop the course curriculum.

"The Black Lives Matter movement has shed light on two invariable facts. First, that black boys and men are criminalized in society and second that their lives are undervalued by those who are sworn to protect them," Wood said in a video introducing the class.

Wood said that criminalization spills over to the classroom where black boys and men are undervalued.

RELATED: San Diego State Professors Work To Improve Education For Men Of Color

The class will be held weekly each Monday, beginning Oct. 23 through Dec 11. The free portion of each class will be available via a live webstream from 4:30 to 5:30 pm Pacific Time. The hour will include discussions with experts in the field including educators and activists like Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullers.

Wood joins Midday Edition Thursday to discuss what he hopes students will take away from the class.