Social Justice

Eight Things I Love About Elizabeth Warren’s Education Plan – And One I Don’t – Education Article

 My daughter had bad news for me yesterday at dinner.   She turned to me with all the seriousness her 10-year-old self could muster and said, “Daddy, I know you love Bernie but I’m voting for Elizabeth.”  “Elizabeth Warren?” I said choking back a laugh.   Her pronouncement had come out of nowhere. We had just been discussing how disgusting the pierogies were in the cafeteria for lunch.  And she nodded with the kind of earnestness you can only have…

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Racial Disparity in Student Discipline Isn’t All About Race – Education Article

In 2016, the poorest 50% of American adults had an average net worth (home and financial assets minus debt) of just $7,500. To make matters worse, only a year previously it was $9,000. The difference all went to the top 1% who gained an average of $1.5 million during that same year.   These facts have real world consequences for every level of society – especially how our children behave in school.   CONSEQUENCES   It seems clear then that…

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Who Am I? A Strategy for Teaching About Power and Privilege – Education Article

Creating a successful learning experience is at the heart of instructional design and delivery. “In addition to academic instruction, one of a classroom’s teachers most important roles is to help students develop the critical thinking, collaboration, and self-reflection skills necessary to foster a better society” (Blacke, 2015, para. 1). Encouraging students to explore the topics of power and privilege resulting from social classifications and their impact on the thoughts and actions of themselves and others is an important step toward…

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Teachers Are More Stressed Out Than You Probably Think – Education Article

 When I was just a new teacher, I remember my doctor asking me if I had a high stress job.   I said that I taught middle school, as if that answered his question. But he took it to mean that I had it easy. After all – as he put it – I just played with children all day.   Now after 16 years in the classroom and a series of chronic medical conditions including heart disease, Crohn’s Disease…

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Every Charter School Must Be Closed Down – Every. Single. One. – Education Article

 The problem with charter schools isn’t that they have been implemented badly.   Nor is it that some are for-profit and others are not.   The problem is the concept, itself.   Put simply: charter schools are a bad idea. They always were a bad idea. And it is high time we put an end to them.   I am overjoyed that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are starting to hear the criticisms leveled against the charter school…

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Charter Schools Were Never a Good Idea. They Were a Corporate Plot All Along – Education Article

    America has been fooled by the charter school industry for too long.   The popular myth that charter schools were invented by unions to empower teachers and communities so that students would have better options is as phony as a three dollar bill.   The concept always was about privatizing schools to make money.   It has always been about stealing control of public education, enacting corporate welfare, engaging in union busting, and an abiding belief that the…

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Busing and School Segregation Used for Politics not Policy – Education Article

 If children of all races went to the same schools with each other, it would be harder to treat them unequally.   Moreover, it would be harder for them to grow up prejudiced because they would have learned what it’s like to have classmates who are different from them.   And though most people agree with these premises in principle, our laws still refuse to make them a reality in fact.   Perhaps that’s why it was so astounding when…

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Top 10 Reasons Bernie Sanders’ Education Policies Are Light Years Ahead of Everyone Else’s – Education Article

    For most of my life, the United States has been neglecting its public school children – especially the black and brown ones.   Since the mid 1970s, instead of integrating our schools, we’ve been slowly resegregating them on the basis of race and social class.   Since the 1980s, instead of measuring academic success by the satisfaction of an individuals curiosity and authentic learning, we’ve been slowly redefining it to mean nothing but achievement on standardized tests.  …

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The Last Day of School – Education Article

On the last day of school this year, my 8th grade students gave me one of the greatest salutes a teacher can get.   They reenacted the closing scene of “The Dead Poets Society.”   You know. The one where Robin Williams’ Mr. Keating has been fired from a boarding school for teaching his students to embrace life, and as he collects his things and leaves, the students get up on their desks as a testament to his impact and…

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Standardized Tests Are Not Objective Measures of Anything – Education Article

 When it comes to standardized tests, most people are blinded by science.   Or at least the appearance of science.   Because there is little about these assessments that is scientific, factual or unbiased.   And that has real world implications when it comes to education policy.   First of all, the federal government requires that all public school children take these assessments in 3-8th grade and once in high school. Second, many states require teachers be evaluated by their…

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School Field Trip Turns Into a Tour of Our Nation’s Unhealed Scars – Education Article

 You’ve got to be a little crazy to take a bunch of teenagers on a field trip – especially overnight and out of town.   But that’s what I did, and – yeah – guilty as charged.   For the second time in my more than 15-year career as a public school teacher, I volunteered along with a group of parents and other teachers to escort my classes of 8th graders to Washington, DC, and surrounding sights. And I never regretted…

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50 Years After Stonewall: LGBTQ Pride in America’s Schools – Education Article

NEA EdJustice Resources and stories for creating safe, affirming schools for LGBTQ students. Take Action: Tell the Senate to Pass the Equality ActMore than half the states in the U.S. lack fully inclusive non-discrimination protections, leaving millions of people subject to potential discrimination in their daily lives. NEA’s Read Across America CalendarEducator-recommended, age-appropriate titles that explore identity and can blend effectively into existing classroom activities and units of study. NEA Center for Social Justice TrainingsDesigned for all NEA members, particularly those…

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How Closing Schools Traumatizes Students and Communities – Education Article

A student walks down a hallway at the Jean de Lafayette Elementary School, on the final day of school Wednesday, June 19, 2013, in Chicago. The school was one of 50 slated to be closed by the city.(AP Photo/Scott Eisen) Since 2004, Oakland Unified School District has closed 16 schools and is now targeting an additional 24 by the start of the 2019-20 school year. District officials call it “right-sizing,” a term borrowed from corporate America – appropriate given that…

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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…

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Charter Schools Won’t Bring Us Racial Equity – Education Article

Earlier this month was National Charter Schools Week, but I was not celebrating. To explain, let me start by saying what equity is, and what it’s not. A common social justice definition of equity is everyone getting what they need to thrive. Equity is not improving outcomes for some, while others get the same or worse outcomes as before. It is important to clarify this because many charter schools and charter school networks claim to be fighting for racial equity,…

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SAT Adversity Score is an Antidote to Poison None of Us Need Take – Education Article

  Let’s say someone gave you a vial of poison.   Would you drink it? Of course not.   What if he gave you the antidote, too. Would you take the poison then?   Heck no!   Why would anyone knowingly ingest poison even if they knew they could counteract its effects?   But that’s pretty much the situation high school students across the country are in today with the SAT test.   The College Board has admitted that the…

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