Invisible Children in the Society and Its Schools

Invisible Children in the Society and Its Schools

Invisible Children in the Society and Its Schools

Invisible Children in the Society and Its Schools

Synopsis

Invisible Children in the Society and Its Schools, Second Edition offers a series of reports by some of the most passionate and insightful scholars writing in the field of education today on groups of children and young people whose complexity, strengths, and vulnerabilities are largely unseen or unheard in the society and its schools. The metaphors of invisibility and visibility are used to explore the social and school lives of groups of children and young people in North America who are socially devalued in the sense that alleviating the often difficult conditions of their lives is not a priority. This includes children who are subjected to derogatory stereotypes; children who are educationally neglected in schools that respond inadequately, if at all, to their needs; and children who receive relatively little attention from scholars in the field of education or writers in the popular press. The chapters detail oversights and assaults-visible and invisible-but also affirm the capacity of many of these young people to survive, flourish, and often educate others, despite the painful and even desperate circumstances of their lives. By sharing the voices of the young, providing basic information about particular groups of children and young people, and offering thoughtful analysis of their social situation, this volume combines education and advocacy in an accessible volume responsive to the life-and-death issues of our time. New in the Second Edition: Most of the chapters are totally new or have been thoroughly updated and revised. In a new introduction, Sue Books reflects on the social context of children's lives and how this has changed since the first edition was published in 1998-before September 11th and before welfare "reform." Suggestions for further exploration-books, films, Web sites-have been added at the end of each chapter.

Excerpt

This book is at once disturbing and reassuring—disturbing in that it reveals the ugly face of hostility and cruelty, and reassuring in that it reminds us that we as a species can continue to recognize and be aware of this ugliness. Sue Books and her colleagues affirm a tradition that must be regarded as miraculous by virtue of its continuing capacity to engender sorrow and outrage over human suffering. The time when we cannot feel compassion for human suffering or accept responsibility for it is a time when we will know beyond any doubt that we are living in Hell.

Let me deal first with the disturbances. At the most basic level, the authors add further poignancy to the tragic history of unnecessary human suffering and to the human capacity to violate our own solemn commitments. That the weakest and most vulnerable among us bear so much of this suffering only adds to the heartbreak of these chapters, especially when one considers that caring for the weak and downtrodden is or ought to be at the core of our culture's moral vision. However, in many if not most cases, the suffering is magnified when we add to the insult of creating the vulnerability in the first place, the injury of punishing those we have stigmatized.

How is it that teenage mothers, AIDS orphans, immigrant children, and others come to be “invisible” when paradoxically their visibility marks them for stigmatization? Sadly, responsibility for this lies not with the unseen, for it takes a conscious effort by the beholder to render vibrant and palpable beings . . .

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