Social Justice

Books That Celebrate Diversity – Education Article

A few of my MHMS friends & colleagues are taking a Cultural Proficiency course. Having taken that course a couple years ago, and as a passionate ally of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement, I offered to help them with their final project! We decided it would cool to create a curated list of books on a bookmark that celebrate diversity. Feel free to Take, Copy, Use, & Share – it’s all Creative Commons! We made sure that the books listed were all…

Read More

School Districts Finding More and More Homeless Students – Education Article

 As homeless education coordinator for Billings Public Schools, Sue Runkle frequently gives presentations to help raise awareness about the district’s homeless student population. Even after 18 years in this role, she still occasionally encounters a familiar puzzled look from participants. “Some people will still ask me, ‘Wait — we have homeless students in Billings?’” Five-hundred and three in the 2017-18 school year, to be exact, and 414 so far this year. These numbers can be an eye-opener, Runkle explains, because…

Read More

‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ Has Never Been More Important Than It is Today – Education Article

It’s not.     Anne Frank is not dead.     Not in 1945. Not in 2019.     Anne was a Dutch Jew hiding from the Nazis with her family and four others in a loft above her father’s former factory in Amsterdam.     The teenager is the most famous victim of the Holocaust, but her story doesn’t end when she succumbed to typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in the closing days of WWII.     Because…

Read More

Pam Harbin Wants to Go From Pittsburgh School Board Watchdog to School Board Member – Education Article

  My friend Pam Harbin is trying to undergo a startling metamorphosis.     She wants to transform from an education activist into a Pittsburgh School Director.    Now that Board President Lynda Wrenn is stepping down after 4 years, city voters in District 4 will have to decide whether Harbin can make the change. The election is on May 21.     Residents in parts of Squirrel Hill, Point Breeze, Shadyside and North Oakland already know Harbin as a…

Read More

Time to Take a Look at Your Dress Code – Education Article

Listen to my interview with Coshandra Dillard and Marcus Campbell (transcript): Sponsored by Listenwise and OneNote Class Notebook   A couple months ago, I saw two different news stories that broke my heart. Both were about dreadlocks. The first story was about Andrew Johnson, a high school wrestler in New Jersey who wore his hair in cheekbone-length dreadlocks. Moments before Johnson was about to go to the mat for a match, the referee told him he wouldn’t be allowed to…

Read More

Sell Your Soul to the Testocracy: Kamala Harris’s Faustian Teacher Raises – Education Article

 I love the idea of Kamala Harris’ plan to give teachers a pay raise.  But once we get past ideas, it’s way more troubling.   The California Senator and Democratic Presidential hopeful is proposing a $13,500 pay increase for the average teacher, with the exact number based on the size of each state’s pay gap.  That’s $315 billion more over a decade through federal matching funds, which amounts to a 23 percent salary increase for most educators.   Yes, please!…

Read More

Standardized Testing is a Tool of White Supremacy – Education Article

Let’s say you punched me in the face.   I wouldn’t like it. I’d protest. I’d complain.   And then you might apologize and say it was just an accident.  Maybe I’d believe you.   Until the next time when we met and you punched me again.   That’s the problem we, as a society, have with standardized tests.   We keep using them to justify treating students of color as inferior and/or subordinate to white children. And we never…

Read More

As LA Teachers Strike Over Charter Schools, Democrat Cory Booker Speaks at Pro-Charter Rally – Education Article

  What a slap in the face!     In California, 30,000 Los Angeles teachers are on strike because charter schools are gobbling up their funding without providing the same level of quality services or accountability.     Meanwhile in New Orleans, Sen. Cory Booker is giving the keynote address at a charter school rally.     That wouldn’t be surprising if Booker was a Republican.     Donald Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is a big time champion of…

Read More

There Are Few Things As Reprehensible as a Scab – Education Article

  There is a special place in Hell for strikebreakers.   Some people kill. Some steal.   But only a filthy, disgusting scab can do all of that in one.   When you take someone else’s job, you’re stealing their bargaining power and killing the community’s chances for their kids.   This week as 30,000 teachers at Los Angeles Unified School District walked out demanding support for their students and their professions, a few slimy worms have crossed the picket…

Read More

Voice of Witness: Bring the Power of Oral History to Your Classroom – Education Article

Listen to my interview with Cliff Mayotte (transcript): Sponsored by Peergrade and 3Doodler   Teaching history and English has gotten complicated. For many, many years, educational publishers produced texts that centered an overwhelmingly white, European experience. But in recent decades, there’s been a push to change that, to widen the lens, to hear the voices of those who are so often under- or misrepresented. Many teachers have done an admirable job of addressing this need by expanding the menu of…

Read More

The Holiday Season Brings Fear and Resentment for Many Students – Education Article

“I hate Christmas.”   Teachers hear that with surprising regularity around this time of year.   I hate Christmas. I hate Thanksgiving. I hate every holiday.   America’s public school students are living under tremendous pressure.   The social safety net is full of holes. And our children are left to fall through the ripped and torn fabric.   The sad fact is that one in four students in America’s classrooms have experienced a traumatic event.   So if your…

Read More

Researching Human Rights Education Where Gandhi… – Education Article

Researching Human Rights Education Where Gandhi Pursued Itby Jamilah Pitts | Harlem Village Academy High School – New York, NY As a product of urban schools and a first-generation college student, I have spent my professional career working to secure and foster better educational opportunities for students of color in urban schools. I have spent the past four years working as a high school English teacher in urban schools that serve mostly Latino students and students of African descent. This…

Read More

Forget Allies and Advocates, I Needed an Activist – Education Article

We (educators) like to think that we’re advocates for students. I’ve even been guilty myself of living in the nobleness of the word. However, as our current climate (societal and educational) continues to toil with inclusivity and what it means to be responsive to ALL, I grow impatient with our “nobleness.” Case in point, social media is exploding with a story of a high school wrestler who was forced to cut off his dreadlocks to prevent the forfeit of a match.…

Read More

LA Teachers Strike is About Charter Schools and High Stakes Testing – Education Article

  On Monday more than 30,000 teachers at 900 schools in Los Angeles, California, will be on strike.   And unlike the wave of teachers strikes last year in red states like West Virginia, this time educators are taking to the streets due to the policies of Democrats.   At issue are things like lowering class sizes and providing more nurses, librarians and counselors.   But behind these issues lies one of the most important facts about our country.   When you…

Read More

Yellow Vest Protests Include Resistance to School Corporatization – Education Article

  If you want to know what the French Yellow Vest Protests are all about, just refer to the arrest of 153 teenage students this month near Paris.     The kids at a high school in Mantes-La-Jolie were forced to kneel down, hands on their heads or secured behind their backs with zip ties as riot police circled them with assault weapons.     Why did law enforcement take such extreme measures? The students had been protesting their government’s…

Read More

A Gadfly’s Dozen: Top 13 Education Articles of 2018 (By Me) – Education Article

    I’m not going to mince words.   This year, 2018, has been a monster.   We’ve been fighting the dumbest and most corrupt President of our lives – Donald Trump. And we’ve been making progress.   Thanks to the midterm election blue wave in the U.S. House, Trump will finally have a check on his power.   We have more black and brown representatives, more women, more nationalities, ethnicities and faiths in the halls of power than ever…

Read More