chapter  11
14 Pages

May

Structure and (In)/Verse
WithVictoria F. Trinder

This chapter surfaces the deconstruction of standards, policies, and hierarchies in teaching through the literary and language-based metaphor of poetry. The superfluous nature of reform approaches to educational equity are exposed and undermined in literary examples that distill teaching to its essential core, and remove words not leading toward equity or justice in each and every student’s life trajectory. The demands of particularly hyper-capitalistic sorting processes through high school admissions policies are exposed through student experiences of success, frustration, hope, vulnerability, and resilience. Teacher experiences of these same pivotal moments are the source of poetry-based vulnerabilities and despairs. Particular cruelties of the school’s urban district are highlighted in contrast through provision of teaching resources and the invalid, unreliable mechanisms for determination of students’ earned access to beautiful learning conditions and complex iterations of themselves. Responsibility, remorse, and regret infuse discussions of complicity versus agency. Student ownership of classroom and school communities is highlighted in shared governance and egalitarian discourses noticeable internally to colleagues and parents, but invisible to evaluative teams and research projects, highlighting tokenized success stories of urban education.