These are quotes from students who participated in class discussions about the film.
Everyone in my class seemed to really value what the documentary had to say and thought it was very well made. Many people in my class had not known much about the history of bussing in Seattle or even redlining, and thus the film was a great learning experience for them and put a lot of the Seattle education system into perspective for them. We had a chance to turn and talk with someone sitting next to us about the documentary and after that everyone was invited to share out their thoughts. Musical 6th period is quite a big class, so not everyone was able to share or speak out, but all those that wanted to definitely did. Many people were left wondering how integration will really ever happen, given that integrating Seattle’s actual neighborhoods seems pretty difficult. Most were left with food for thought and wondering how they can make an impact.
The documentary had a good reception in my class too. We ended up discussing social justice issues through all of 6th period, well beyond the time allotted for BLM week discussions. My 6th period class has only around 15 students, which made discussion a lot easier.
Many kids were grappling with whether they would have participated in the voluntary bussing program. We discussed some possible solutions to the disparity in resources among Seattle’s public schools, such as equitably distributing PTSA funds, bussing students, and changing zoning policy to counteract redlining and segregation. We talked a lot about how student government could do more to fight racism at our school.
We discussed issues like the absence of a required ethnic studies course. A few kids brought up the dilemma of choosing between AP classes (which presumably help with college applications) and social-justice oriented classes like Margins and Centers, Women’s Studies, or Asian American Literature. Since classes like ethnic studies aren’t required, many kids instead opt for the AP classes.
I was really happy with the discussion and I hope it continues into next week. Thanks so much for incorporating me in this project!
My teacher, Mr. K., said he thought the film did well bringing attention to racial segregation in Seattle today and in the past. Right now my class is practicing argument, so after the film Mr. K. decided to put forth a few questions that he thought would further the discussion.
One question he asked us was what we thought about bussing. Personally, I was surprised how many people thought bussing was a success, with little exception. However we did bring up many points such as the need to support disadvantaged families in tandem with institutional policies like bussing.
Overall, the response was completely positive, and many people were impressed by Fox Willmar’s excellent production quality.
Thank you for sharing. My children are discussing racism at school as part of their classrooms’ Black history month curriculum, and I watched this with them at bedtime. When I asked my son what he learned, he said he never knew about red-lining and that it was illegal for people of color to live in certain neighborhoods.
I hope Professor Vaughn and her colleagues know their efforts are reaching a generation of students, like my children, that are deeply concerned with achieving racial equity. — Miki Browne