Rating: 3/5 ⭐
Forever Free is half manifesto and half memoir. Tracy Swinton Bailey speaks about her upbringing and the pursuit of her education while addressing one of the most pressing issues in America today: the shortcomings and failures of the public education school system.
Using examples from her own research and experience as an English teacher, she addresses the ways in which schools continue to not show up for their most vulnerable students. She breaks down how things like class, race, family dynamics and living conditions can affect how a kid shows up in the classroom. It is through the analysis of each of these areas that she breaks down examples of how we can better reach children of all demographics.
She offers a solution by creating a program called the Freedom Readers. In this after school, one-on-one tutoring experience, kids K-12th grade are invited to work with trained adults on their literary skills. There is an emphasis on building positive relationships with the tutors as well since studies have shown it is an important factor when growing a positive experience with reading.
I found Swinton Bailey’s words to be persuasive and concise. She packs a punch into every sentence she writes and hammers home just how desperately we need to address the issues of public education and systemic racism. While I felt disheartened to hear about how far we still have to go, I also felt empowered by the strong sense of purpose and hope she expresses.
Tracy Swinton Bailey ultimately leaves us with a call to action by demanding that those in positions of power help open up doors of educational opportunity. She emphasizes the belief that how one treats those with the least amount of power and influence ultimately defines who we are as people.
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