This oral history interview is an intimate conversation between two people, both of whom have generously agreed to share this recording with Oral History Summer School, and with you. Please listen in the spirit with which this was shared.
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This interview with Lisa Arrastia, Phd, took place via zoom conference on June 27th, 2022, with the narrator calling in from Canaan, New York. Dr. Arrastia is a tenure-track associate professor of education at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLU) and a program supervising professor for student teachers in the field of pre-K through 12th grade. Dr. Arrastia works with student teachers as they seek state licensure. Dr. Arrastia begins the interview by sharing that she is exhausted and teachers are exhausted. She observes that towards the end of this school year, kids, teachers, and staff were getting sick with COVID-19, but the schools remained opened with minimal safety protocols. She also shares that COVID-19 in her school and community is normalized as an inevitability; safety protocols of ventilation or open windows are no longer widely observed. Masks are the only safety tool available to teachers, though it is not required at this point. Dr. Arrastia observes that student choices around safety and masking in the classroom model adult choices and behaviors. She speaks at length to her disappointment in the U.S. public school system. She believes that public schools are broken, and the COVID-19 pandemic exposed what was already broken by design. Dr. Arrastia notes that No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was a turning point where U.S. public education became untenable. Now twenty-one later, NCLB standardized testing and curricula are systemically integrated into all aspects public education approaches. After working in education for decades, Dr. Arrastia feels that she may leave the field and shares about hopelessness in public education. She closes the interview with a hope that this interview and archive will speak to people hundreds of years in the future, where listeners hear her descriptions about the educational system unrecognizable to their own.
Ciera Dudley (ENP Co-Director) is an educator, cartographer, and illustrator based in Santa Cruz, California. She has a background in urban planning and education, which inform her oral history interests in multi-generational housing justice movements and mutual aid networks. She currently coordinates the Education Narratives Project at OHSS and facilitates storytelling workshops with The Moth. Ciera is also a member of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, a collective of activists, critical cartographers, and oral historians documenting dispossession and resistance upon gentrifying landscapes.
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This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.