Don’t teach about MLK from a whitewashed playbook | Opinion

Rann Miller in his office at Camden Promise Charter School in Camden on Oct. 27, 2021. Miller is the head of diversity, equity, and inclusion for his Camden charter school district and is reshaping the curriculum to include important perspectives from the BIPOC community once left out. Read more This month, the nation remembers the life, message, and contribution of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Next month is Black History Month, where children nationwide learn about the history and contr

Try Harder: Biden Makes His Case For Voting Rights

I remember sitting in a meeting many years ago when I was serving in a counselor role for a school. I and a few other staff members were called into a meeting by the principal to discuss how to support students who were “at-risk” for failing for the year. When working for another school as the director of an afterschool program, I was called into a meeting by the principal of that school to do the same thing: discussing how to support “at-risk” students. Most students referenced as “at-risk” for

When White Folks Have That One "Black Friend"

Parents often know when their children have engaged in mischievous behavior. Sometimes, they become private investigators to get to the bottom of the mischief in question. Sometimes, once at the scene of the crime, the child may have told on themselves. For example, a rule in my home is no ice cream after school. Fruit, crackers and cereal are the available snack options. One day, I came home to find a spoon with chocolate ice cream residue on the kitchen table, in the spot where my oldest daug

Looking Back At 2021: The Not So Curious Case Of Prince George’s County

I teach and support teachers in Camden, NJ and I am very much aware that my presence is certainly more welcome where I educate versus the suburbs. I say that because the statistics show that there are more Black teachers in cities than there are anywhere else, as are teachers of color in general. But it is also because of the work that I’m doing as director of anti-bias and DEI initiatives. While there are challenges that come with my work, my work is needed, and the school community recognizes

Superintendents Must Know and Do Better

According to preliminary findings from AASA, The School Superintendents Association’s 2020 Decennial Study, only 21% superintendents said they were “very well prepared” for the responsibility of having district/community wide conversations about race and equity, although nearly 90% of school superintendents said those conversations are either extremely or very important. While the report doesn’t say, one could assume that of those superintendents ready to have that conversation, most, if not all

Does Ben Simmons (or Antonio Brown) Remind You Of Any Of Your Students?

In sports, teams have the luxury of giving up on a player; they can either release them or attempt to trade them for a “better” player. That’s not an option for educators, nor should it be. The job of an educator is to prepare students for the world ahead of them. Educators are charged to give their all to students, not to give up on them; no matter the challenge that comes along with educating. Unlike the Philadelphia 76ers, if an educator is tasked with working with a “Ben Simmons” type student

Why Five-Star Athletes Choose HBCUs: Knowing The Past To Process The Present

Howard University professor Dr. Greg Carr teaches his students using the Africana Studies Framework (ASF), which is a set of conceptual categories for studying periods of time with African people at the center. One of those categories, movement in memory, answers the questions: How did Africans preserve memories of where they had been, what they had experienced, and how did they pass these memories to future generations? This framework must be the lens Black people use to reflect on the decision

The Education Conversation We Should Be Having

Critical Race Theory (CRT) has become the newly manufactured boogieman for conservative politicians. It is nothing more than a continuation of the infamous southern strategy. Manipulation of this theoretical concept has resulted in public policy changes at the state level, tense school board meetings, and also White parents running for their local school board to ensure nothing “CRT” -related enters the American classroom. That the United States was born from White settler colonialism rooted in exterminating native peoples and enslaving African peoples is not CRT. However, the narrative crafted about America’s origin story is one-sided, a celebration of the White settler colonial project’s transformation into a shining city on a hill.

Looking Back At 2021: When Free Means Freeloading

Americans have a very romanticized view of themselves when it comes to the ethic of hard work. Certainly, being a hard worker in whatever it is that you do is important. Hard work is an ethic and/or trait parents hope to instill in their children, teachers hope to instill in their students, and cultures hope to instill in generations to come. Whether it involves one’s education, one’s career or one’s relationships, hard work is vital to making the most of any and everything that we do. Howeve

Some More Worthy Than Others: Where Was Overdose Protection For Drug Users During The Crack Epidemic?

Recently, New York City opened two overdose prevention centers (OPC), allowing drug users to receive medical care and services to prevent drug overdose deaths. In other words, drug users are sanctioned to legally consume illegal drugs in the presence of a medical professional. OPCs are an example of public policy that honors the humanity of drug users. This is a radical change from the traditionally punitive measures for dealing with drug users.

The Fight for Fugitive Humanity

In Dr. Jarvis Givens’ book, Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching, he explains that Black people educating themselves is an act of fugitivity. At one time, were Black teachers, in particular, caught teaching a non-Eurocentric version of history - or one slaying anti-Blackness by way of debunking white supremacy - they faced the threat of being fired, losing their teaching license, and possible physical violence [that threat is gradually being resurrected today in

Stolen Elections Have Consequences

The Obama coalition of Black voters didn’t come out for Hillary Clinton in 2016 as they did for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Black voters were chastised with the phrase, “elections have consequences.” Indeed, they do, however, the most consequential election of my lifetime wasn’t the election of 2016. Rather, it was the election of 2000. As the country focused on the Mississippi abortion case heard by the Supreme Court, a chorus of blame could be heard towards Black voters’ failure to vote f

Educators May Also Be On The Hook At Oxford High School

Sadly, I’ve seen my fair share of school shootings with news broadcasts as my entry point. I can remember coming home from school my sophomore year, turning on the television and watching students from Columbine High School walk out of school as news anchor Peter Jennings shared of the tragic murders of students and faculty. I witnessed other newscasters share similar somber relaying of mass murders, particularly at Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and Marjor

We Don’t Do That

Contrary to persistent racist opinions and traditions, Black people have always valued education. Whether formal or informal, the role of “schooling” serves as an entry point for Black liberation. It did so during enslavement as it does today. However, challenges to Black education continue to persist. Black education in Antebellum America was under constant threat; Black people were tortured and/or killed for attempting to learn and displaying acquired academic skills. Today, as Black childre

Ongoing Missed Opportunities To Lead With Equity

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work is important for any organization looking to reshape their workplace from a white institutional/white dominant space into an inclusive space where people of color, particularly members of the Black and Afro-Latinx communities, can help determine the course of their organizations, not simple be made to feel “a part” of their organizations. Concerning schools, DEI work initiated and accomplished by committees and school leaders is vital because these in

Superstition Ain't The Way

The Clavinet is an amplified electric piano (keyboard) created by German musician and engineer Ernst Zacharias. His inspiration was the harpsichord music of Johann Sebastian Bach he listened to growing up. I doubt Zacharias expected funk music as one of his instrument’s destinations. But if you hear the Clavinet play, it is uniquely funky. Maybe that’s because I remember only hearing it in the funky grooves of the 1970s by Black artists when growing up. I think of Bob Marley, Herbie Hancock, B

Miller: America Still America After Ahmaud Arbery, Kyle Rittenhouse Trials

I grew up during a time where course cases on television were must see TV. I am not entirely sure if the trial of the four officers who beat up Rodney King was on television. I was only 8 at the time. But I remember clearly the O.J. Simpson trial on television. It was on all the major networks. I hadn’t seen anything like it on television to that point. Whatever was on the broadcast schedule from 12 p.m. EST (9 a.m. PST) to 5 p.m. EST (2 p.m. PST) was canceled… on the east coast, that meant no

Say 'Woke'

I know when I am being referred to as a Black person by a white person, specifically as the N-word, when I hear it… When Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers referred to the woke mob in an interview, he was referring to Black people. Make no mistake, that’s exactly who he was referring to. I know because the term “woke”, defined and used in the context of being enlightened about America’s white supremacist social order in all its iterations, didn’t come from white folks. It came from us.

Black Dads Are Great, So Are Black Teachers

In response to violence at the Southwood High School in Shreveport, Louisiana, a group of 40 Black fathers have come together to ensure that the violence stops. They actively monitor the hallways of the school in shifts, resulting in fewer fights, students attending class and an overall morale boost in the school. For many, this is a feel-good story. On the surface, Black fathers assisting to maintain order at a school of predominantly Black children sounds like a good idea, akin to Black men w

The Revised Southern Strategy As Seen In The 2021 Election Cycle

During the 2021 election cycle, Republicans put education front and center and it showed throughout election night results. However, nothing on the ballot concerned improving education for Black children. Rather, education as an issue was used to manipulate white voters so that Republicans, in this case, could regain power. Certainly, white parents storming school board meetings in protest of what they consider “critical race theory” and covid-19 protocols may seem like something unique to the
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