Recent writings: jumping into the RCT debate, and on reopening schools

Abolition will not be randomized co-written with Casey Buchholz, over on the Developing Economics blog, where we dig into why certain empirical approaches miss the point when it comes to changing the ideology, social relations, and power structures of racial capitalism. “Thus, empirical methods and data collection can be powerful tools for guiding democratic, transformative, and liberationist struggles so long as they do the work of undermining the forms of organized power and authority the movement is interested in dismantling.”

Reopening and rethinking schools: care vs the carceral continuum on the Solidarity US webzine, discussing and interrogating what a “safe” reopening even means when schools are disproportionately staffed with police instead of nurses, counselors, and teachers (written before the protests). Here I give a shoutout to the Chicago Teachers Union for their demands about nurses in every school and to make a point about working conditions for reopening, but one thing I wish I had included is that the movement for police-free schools, restorative and transformative justice practices, and more care instead of cops has truly been led by students and student organizations across the country for many, many years. The VOYCE Project, Philly Student Union, Alliance for Educational Justice, and so many more across cities and districts have been leading the way. I’m mentioning this because there’s some evidence that this point is getting lost as the #PoliceFreeSchools movement is gaining support, which erases the work of Black students and students of color who have been on the ground organizing. I’d love to see a world where students, as well as workers, have a real say in their schools, their learning experience, and so on, and there’s also a lot reckoning to do with the fact that teachers and staff are also responsible for “bias” that ultimately hurts students- an abolitionist approach to rethinking schools (and organizing for police free schools) necessarily has to grapple with this reality.

Beyond the Pipeline: Abolitionist Readings on Schooling in the Carceral State

As the movement on the ground gains momentum and many cities and districts demand #PoliceFreeSchools, I’m seeing a lot interest in trying to understanding the so-called School-to-Prison Pipeline (STPP)- the mainstream term for how schools through the use of discipline, policing, and security practices “pushout” students towards incarceration.

STPP is a concise term for capturing this sort of dynamic, but precisely because it is so concise, it is also too narrow and fails to capture the scope and context of the issue. A better conception is to consider schools as an integral part of the broader carceral state. 

Here’s a list of readings by scholars who helped to show me this:

 

Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice by Carla Shedd

Additional Work by Carla Shedd:

Countering the Carceral Continuum: The Legal of Mass Incarceration

 

First Strike: Educational Enclosures in Black Los Angeles by Damien M. Sojoyner (currently available online through August!)

Additional work by Damien M. Sojoyner:

Black Radicals Make for Bad Citizens: Undoing the Myth of the School to Prison Pipeline

CHAPTER THREE: Changing the Lens: Moving Away from the School to Prison Pipeline

 

Transformative Justice Journal has published essays about schooling through an abolitionist lens

Restorative Justice as a Doubled-Edged Sword: Conflating Restoration of Black Youth with Transformation of Schools by Arash Daneshzadeh and George Sirrakos

 

For the Children? Protecting Innocence in a Carceral State by Erica R. Meiners

Review of Right to Be Hostile: Schools, Prisons, and the Making of Public Enemies by Erica R. Meiners