"The Kids in Prison Program": A Critical Race Personal Counternarrative of a Former Black Charter School Teacher Academic Article uri icon


  • Background/Context: In New Orleans, Louisiana, in the years following Hurricane Katrina, predominantly white education reformers have used entrepreneurial support to dismantle the predominantly Black citys public education system. Using racial domination without community approval, these education reformers have educationally disenfranchised the Black community by implementing No Excuses (NE) Charter School Management Organizations (CMO). The rise in these organizations has also led to the mass firing of the citys majority Black educator base and the hiring of majority white educators. Scholarship on NE CMOs notes their use of dehumanizing behavioral practices meant to control their student populations. Accounts, however, are limited from those who have witnessed, experienced, or resisted these dehumanizing behavioral practices. Purpose/Objective/Focus of Study: Through the critical race theory (CRT) lens of racial realism, this paper provides a critical race personal counternarrative (CRPCN) that characterizes the racist and racialized disciplinary and surveillance practices used to control Black students bodies. It examines my experiences as a teacher within an NE CMO, the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) school in New Orleans. Furthermore, this paper underscores my own Black fugitive pedagogic acts alongside my Black students, acts that allowed us to create fleeting moments of freedom inside and outside our classroom. Research Design: I relied on critical race methodology to construct a CRPCN against KIPP, which prides itself on positive behavior practices and social justice. The evidence I drew on included free-written notes, conversations with former students and teachers, media (e.g., photos and videos), and scholarly literature. To analyze data, I drew on CRT concepts of racial realism and the permanence of racism in U.S. society to underscore Black fugitivity, anti-Black surveillance, and discipline. Conclusion/Recommendations: Racial realism provides a lens for identifying the evolution of racialized surveillance technologies on Black bodies within the United States. Although critics characterize racial realism as overly pessimistic, this paper notes one way that scholars, educators, students, and parents can draw on this tool of racial resistance to accept the current racial reality, uncover racially oppressive schooling practices, and highlight strategies of survival through fugitive acts.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • James-Gallaway, C. D.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • James-Gallaway, Chaddrick D

publication date

  • January 2022