[act-ma] TONIGHT: Circle Up! (An Investigation of the Academic Achievement Gap)

Cole Harrison cole at masspeaceaction.org
Thu Mar 23 11:00:18 PDT 2017

Dear friends, a reminder of tonight's production of *Circle Up!, *7pm at
Hibernian Hall (details below)

We just received this great review of the play from Larry Aaronson, a
former CRLS teacher and an activist:

Went to see Youth Underground Theatre's powerfully, moving performance of
"Circle Up!" This was the 3rd or 4th reiteration of this play in progress
that I have seen, written by Betsy Bard, dealing with the multiple
controversaries surrounding student performance, largely an indictment of
21st education. This version I saw last night was without a doubt the very
best performed, best directed, and best scripted EVER!!!
I have to admit, I had been somewhat dubious about a play addressing the
so-called "achievement gap." I feared that this play would fall into these
same trap: namely, the concept of "The achievement gap" is a confounding
metaphor that obfuscates where the blame, shame and judgement "game" should
be directed. Circle up was brilliantly nuanced, the text is so richly
intersectional. The dialogue was so rich that I believe I need to go see
this yet again, and then again to gain the full impact. GO SEE THIS!!!!

"Circle Up" uses the liberating power of the dramatic arts and wonderfully
dodges and avoids all the liberal claptrap regarding "The Achievement Gap."
Most critiques that question The Achievement Gap are reductive. "Circle Up"
is NOT! The script of "Circle Up" refuses to romantize, fetishize,
racialize students and their struggling teachers. Typically these political
and/or pedagogical critiques pathologize "minority/majority" cultures,
blaming "The Black family" and the "Brown family" for students of color's
alleged poor performance. They wrongly conflate causes and effects,
pointing to all the social inequities that have horribly impacted the most
impoverished school districts. The worst of these critiques that are so
heavily class based, and so fully of denial and avoidance of white class
privileges emanating everywhere, so much so that they are incapable of
recognizing the immense human capacities of these students of color and
their struggling teachers as they navigate their way through these daunting
educational institutions.

"Circle Up" uses the Ana Devere Smith's theatrical techniques and
performance protocols to bring us the authentic voices of the students and
teachers, in this case of Cambridge Rindge and Latin school. They have
literally captured the voices from dozens of taped interviews which they in
turn act out, literally.

I submit that the so called "Achievement Gap" is precisely the
Institutional Gap caused by the gapping inequities between rich schools and
poor schools. These inequities are deliberate, intentional and systematic
to 21st century capitalism.

The bitter reality, indeed the 800 pound gorilla in the room is this
reality: The vast majority of the students attending these so-called
"failing schools" belong in fact to America's surplus labor forces. Black
and Brown youth are redundant in this economy. There are deliberately being
"tracked out" of educational opportunities. They are too often falling into
the School to Prison Pipeline. Indeed these so called "failed SOC" are
further exploited  to incentivize the more "privilege" students to work
harder, lest they be tracked into the lowest tracks, and allowed to fall
into the prison pipelines.

"Circle Up" is appropriately named, Challenging us to do just that: We are
called to Circle Up and commit to restoring genuine social and economic
justice to our failing schools. These schools are failing not because their
students and teachers are failing. They are failing because they live in
communities where housing justice is not served, where health justice is
not being served, where criminal justice is not being served, where
economic justice is not being served. This is, I submit, deliberate and
intentional. The reasons are obfuscated.

The time for by-standing is over. It was over a very long time ago. Seize
the Time! Seize it Now.


Circle Up! (An Investigation of the Academic Achievement Gap)
Thursday, March 23 @ 7:00 pm
*Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley St, Roxbury*
$5 - $10
[image: Circle Up!]

*Circle Up!* gives us a chance to see and hear what is going on in urban
high schools by listening to the voices of real students sharing
reflections about the effects of opportunity gaps on their everyday
lives.   It investigates the issues of equity and injustice that have
created the “achievement gap” and the barriers that maintain it*.* The
achievement gap is a discrepancy in the academic outcomes between white
students and students of color, caused by structural inequality in social
institutions, with life-long consequences.

*Youth Underground theater in Cambridge breeds young stars and teaches life

The *Youth Underground *is an ensemble that creates and performs original
theater investigating social issues relevant to young people.  The script
is based on interviews and conversations with students, teachers, and
family, all of whom have been affected by the differences in opportunity.
After the hour-long play, the ensemble will lead a talk-back about the
issues raised by students’ narratives.


Tickets $10/ Community $5
BPS Students may reserve a free seat by calling Hibernian Hall at
617-849-6322 <(617)%20849-6322>.

*Sponsored by Massachusetts Peace Action
Justice Working Group, 11 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138617-354-2169
<(617)%20354-2169>  • info at masspeaceaction.org
<info at masspeaceaction.org> • Follow us on Facebook
or Twitter
*Download a Printable Flyer

*Getting to Hibernian Hall *

Hibernian Hall was built in 1913 as a gathering place for social dancing
and music. This historic building at 184 Dudley Street in the heart of
Dudley Square was restored and reopened by Madison Park Development
Corporation in 2005. The spacious grand ballroom, which seats 250, is once
again serving the community as an affordable, year-round venue for theater,
concerts, dances, visual art fairs, film screenings, and private parties.

*Via Public Transportation:*
The MBTA Silver Line runs from South Station and downtown Boston along
Washington Street into Dudley Square. We are just south of Dudley Station
at 184 Dudley Street. A number of city bus routes come into Dudley Station,
including 19, 23, 27, 47, and 8.

*Via Southeast Expressway, I-93:*
>From I-93 northbound, take Exit 18 (Mass Ave/Roxbury) and proceed through
two sets of lights. At the third set take a left (Mass Ave Connector/Melnea
Cass Boulevard). Travel down approximately .5 mile and then turn left onto
Harrison Ave. A few blocks down take a left onto Dudley Street. The Roxbury
Center for Arts is the second building from the corner on the left.

*By car from Cambridge:*

Go over the Mass Ave. bridge. Continue on Mass Ave. past Symphony Hall
through most of the South End. Turn right on Harrison Ave., right before
Boston Medical Center. Continue on Harrison over Melnea Cass and several
blocks more until you see Dudley Street. Turn right. 184 Dudley is on the

There is a small parking lot behind Hibernian Hall, available after office
hours: As you approach Dudley Square make a left turn off Harrison Ave onto
Zeigler Street, the street before Dudley Street. Make a right into the
Hibernian Hall lot. If no spaces are open there is ample free parking on
Dudley Street or any side street.

*Restaurants near Hibernian Hall in Dudley Square*

SuyaJoint All African Cuisine, 185 Dudley Street
     Open Thursday until midnight

Haley House Bakery Café, 12 Dade Street
     (Off Washington between Melnea Cass Blvd and Ruggles St.)
     Open Thursday until 8pm

Dudley Dough, 2302 Washington Street
     Open Thursday until 9pm

P & R Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor, 208 Dudley Street
     Open Thursday until 10pm. (New-ish, Jamaican)
DetailsDate:March 23Time:
7:00 pm
Cost:$5 - $10Event Tags:Achievement gap
<http://masspeaceaction.org/tag/achievement-gap/>, education
<http://masspeaceaction.org/tag/education/>, Featured Post
<http://masspeaceaction.org/tag/featuredpost/>, racial justice
<http://masspeaceaction.org/tag/racial-justice/>, Theater
VenueHibernian Hall <http://masspeaceaction.org/venue/hibernian-hall-2/>184
Dudley St
Roxbury, MA 02119 + Google Map
Phone:(617) 541-3900Website:hibernianhall.org

Cole Harrison
Executive Director
Massachusetts Peace Action
11 Garden St, Cambridge, MA 02138
w: 617-354-2169 <(617)%20354-2169>
m: 617-466-9274 <(617)%20466-9274>
f: /masspeaceaction
t: @masspeaceaction
Cole Harrison
Executive Director
Massachusetts Peace Action
11 Garden St, Cambridge, MA 02138
w: 617-354-2169
m: 617-466-9274
f: /masspeaceaction
t: @masspeaceaction

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