Book Club

Pushout by Monique W Morris

This book is about Black girls and the educational system.  We are all familiar with dropout; pushout is a name for children forced out of the educational system, eg by suspension and expulsion.  "Actions that degrade and marginalize their learning and humanity" also cause them to abandon school.  This is a complicated subject.  These girls are affected by both gender and racial bias and by poverty.  And their culture teaches them to behave in ways that may be difficult for people from the dominant white culture to deal with.  This book is full of interviews with Black girls.  Many did not like or respect their teachers.  Yet the author says that she talked to the teachers and they care about the girls, but the teachers are often overwhelmed.  They do not know and have not been taught how to deal with the girls and their problems.  And many of these girls do have problems.  Poverty and abuse, both physical and sexual, are common.  Anyone interested in racial justice and education will find this book fascinating.

1. What is "permission to fail"?

2. Do these girls feel that education just isn't important?

3. Are the problems of Black girls the same as those of Black boys?

4. What does the author think of zero-tolerance policies?

5. Does a six year-old who throws a tantrum deserve to go to jail?

6. How does the mother's experience affect the daughter?

7. What is "the talk"?

8. Do you think that this is really a problem?