Covid, Caste, Corporation, and Kids

Where do kids really fit in our current models of education and schooling?

Bomani Armah has been teaching young people for decades through music and writing, integrating arts into history, science and other studies. Ryane Nickens founded the TraRon Center for children exposed to gun violence, offering therapeutic programs, including creative arts; more recently TraRon Center launched a learning pod for children of essential workers. Bomani and Ryane joined “Community thru Covid” to discuss arts, schooling, and the pandemic. The discussion quickly turned to finances: from parents forced to choose between educating their children or providing for them in this pandemic to an education system designed around graduates’ earnings.

Bomani describes truths that were easier to hide before Covid-19: Schools too often function as corporations, not communities; they are concerned with graduation rates and other “outcomes” meant to turn youth into earners, rather than focusing on youth as persons. Learn more about his teaching methods and see resources he shares at Baba Got BARS (Bomani Armah wRiting System).

Ryane explains how Covid-19 illuminates the many systems in place to “keep the caste system as it is.” Those most affected have been amplifying their voices through the pandemic, she says, to highlight decades of systemic racism leading to the crises in education and to conditions that feed the gun violence affecting some neighborhoods and not others. Learn more about the Center’s approach to healing through arts and the new learning pod at TraRon Center.

Full video and audio from September 1 conversation linked here. Review these educators’ insights or catch them for the first time. And please share your thoughts on how Covid-19 is shifting your priorities or perspectives.


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