Your students are either back at school, or are coming back to school, amidst increasingly high racial and political tension in the United States. According to a recent Gallup poll, Hispanic Americans have seen a sharp increase in daily worry and stress since the 2016 election. Six in ten Americans agree that racism against Black Americans is widespread in the US. According to the Washington Post police shootings database, 611 unarmed citizens have been killed by police since the start of 2017 and of those, 146 were identified as persons with a mental illness. Bringing that “closer to home”, the most recent data available from the Department of Ed confirms that “black students are suspended and expelled at a rate three times greater than white students, while students with disabilities are twice as likely to receive an out-of-school suspension as their non-disabled peers”. Our socio-political world, and its effects, exists in microcosms across our classrooms.
As an educator, an instructional leader, a school administrator, you are on the front line. It does not matter whether you work in a Title I school in DC, a predominately white school in rural Ohio, or a school with ELLs in Arizona – it is your job to balance what happens outside of the walls of your building with the needs of your students inside. This does not mean you celebrate Black History Month only because your students “identify” with it. This does not mean you host an international night only because your community has immigrants. To be an effective 21st century instructional leader, it is necessary for us to reflect on ways that our words and actions may be perpetuating negative or incomplete messaging to our students and our school communities. Part of this, means ensuring our instruction is comprehensive and nuanced no matter where we are, or who our audience is. We can not illuminate for our students the intersectionality of our world and our privileges, if our instruction is one-dimensional. Whitewashing, heteronormativity, gender imbalances, “culture”, “class”, and savior complexes are all things that we as educators need adequate space to learn about, think about, and teach about.
Below, I have crowdsourced* various resources from across the internet – articles, Twitter, etc. – in the aftermath of the violent Charlottesville white supremacy rally. I hope that this can be a launchpad for you to be a better advocate/ally for not only your students – but for students all over the country and the world – through your instruction and instructional leadership.
Books/Articles to Read:
- Book: For White Folks Who Teach In the Hood…and the Rest of Y’All Too
- Book: Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies
- Book:Pedagogy of the Oppressed
- PDF: Equal Justice Initiative Public Education Materials
- Book:White Rage
- Book:Between the World & Me
- Article: Stopping Classroom Hate Can Start on Your Newsfeed
- Book: Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
- Article: Equity in Education: Where to Begin?
- Article: A Framework for Culturally Responsive Teaching
- Article: The Question of ‘Class’
- Article: Mentors & Coaches as ‘Anti-Bias’ Allies
- Talking to Children After Racial Incidents
- Washington Post: The first thing teachers should do when school starts is talk about hatred in America. Here’s help.
- Articles: Curriculum for White Americans to Educate Themselves on Race and Racism–from Ferguson to Charleston
Lessons & Planning Resources:
- Critical Media Project
- The Charlottesville Syllabus
- Zinn Education Project: Teaching The People’s History
- Teaching to Promote Gender Equality
- Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards
- Videos: Talking About Race in the Classroom
- Primary Sources Sets From Library of Congress
- Facing History & Ourselves Educator Resources
Family Engagement & Connection:
- Positive Perspectives on Parents & Families
- The Myth of Culture & Poverty
- Teacher Family Engagement Resource: Tools for Communicating with Families About Academic Progress (Flamboyan Foundation)
- Parent Survey & Exit Slips (Flamboyan)
- The Parent Toolkit
TEDTalks & Videos:
- TedED Classroom Resources on Race
- Is My Skin Brown Because I Drank Chocolate Milk?
- TeachingTolerance: Being Culturally Responsive
- I’m Mexican. Does That Change Your Assumption About Me?
- Through the Eyes of an Illegal Immigrant
This list is by no means exhaustive, but I hope it sets you on a surer path towards working each day to dismantle systems that underserve our students and their families. Whether it is by hosting a conversation about race and class in your classroom, or respectfully pushing back on a colleague who has made an unfair assumption about a parent – educators need to do our part to “be the change” we tell our kids they can aspire to in their lives.
Do you have insights, suggestions, or resources you would like to share related to this post? Comment below or connect with me on Twitter @CarolineDGoldin
*Some resources were added from the #CharlottesvilleCurriculum, #CharlottesvilleSyllabus threads.