Documentary to show segregation in schools

Kennedy Nolen, Multicultural Reporter

“Stolen Education,” a documentary revealing present-day segregation in the American public school system, will be shown at 2 p.m. Thursday in room 1501 of  Buzzard Hall.

Education professor John Bickford said the documentary will outline the re-segregation of Texas public schools even after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954.

“What lots of states and regions within the states have tried to do is to re-segregate the public schools to benefit the richest kids, generally the whitest kids too,” Bickford said.

As a social studies education scholar, he studies how different events are represented in textbooks and documentaries. 

“I think (students) will be suprised how America in many ways, has been re-segregated in many different regions and areas,” He said. “It is not as overt and obvious as the ‘left drinking fountain for negroes’ and ‘the right drinking fountains for whites,’ or ‘that this is the colored bathroom and that is the whites only bathroom.’”

A specific example is how the amount of people who died during the Holocaust is portrayed in books, Bickford said.

“Most people would say 6 million Jews, but it is actually 11 million people who were killed,” he said.

Bickford said the era of re-segregation is an era in American history that is largely misrepresented in textbooks.

“This is, in a way, an era of history that is misrepresented or a lot of people are unaware of it,” Bickford said.

Illinois has some of the most disparate funding for public schools in the country, he said.

“Rich Chicago-land schools may spend 25 grand per kid, per year. Mt. Zion or Monticello: 20 grand per kid, per year,” Bickford said.

He said Mt. Zion has an indoor training facility for their winter sports, and schools like Pana may only spend $4,000 per kid, per year.

“The disparity between $25,ooo and $5,000 is tremendous. When you look at the poorest schools in Illinois, you see an awful lot of rural poverty,” Bickford said. “In Texas and other places, you see more urban poverty.”

Juanita Cross, Latin Heritage Month chair, said in an email the more she learned about the film, the more she felt it was important to share its screening with the campus because stories like the one in the documentary are not normally introduced or discussed in the K-12 educational system.

“I encourage students to not only come and learn this specific story, but also consider why stories like this one are missing from our curriculum,” she said.

Kennedy Nolen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].