Prisons and Education

May 8, 2010

I don’t always agree with the New York Times coverage of education, but they have the immigration and prison beats down. Both rank high on my list of “issues,” and as I start to consider my post-Fulbright options the idea of working for “school in prison” programs is particularly appealing. So I very much enjoyed reading this snapshot piece published today. It subtly illustrates the necessity of challenging many of our assumptions about such students.  These particular men are persuasively articulate: the women we work with in the literacy groups here in Guatemala easily manipulate basic numeracy in their daily lives without necessarily knowing the names of numbers or how to add and subtract. Freire assumed that the oppressed are always afraid of freedom, that they need to be taught how to think and speak. But everyone has their own voice: the challenge is finding the space in which they can be heard.

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