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

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.

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

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

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

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

Using the Socratic Method In Your Classroom

For two classes, I was able to skirt by without being called on. The third class was my turn, and although I was still nervous, I was able to engage because I had done my reading. I didn’t get every question right, but I was in the fight. The same will be true of high school students as they engage in Socratic learning. I can remember the first time I sat in the lecture hall for my civil procedure class. I hadn’t read all of the assigned readings prior to class, but I figured that I could skate

'Will I Get Fired For This?' Rejecting White Supremacy Has a High Cost in Education | Opinion

In early October, just before Indigenous Peoples’ Day, I sent an email to my whole school district to offer resources to my colleagues for discussing Christopher Columbus with their students. I included links to articles, book recommendations, and peer-reviewed journal articles. After I hit the send button, I wondered: Am I going to get fired for sending this? A question originally posed to myself as tongue-in-cheek suddenly became serious as I considered the gravity of what I did.

Ignorance As Bliss: Dismantling Racism And Anti-Blackness Requires Education

A California school district has suspended a math teacher for mocking indigenous Americans by wearing a fake headdress and “performing” a dance around the classroom. A video taken by a student in the classroom was posted to Twitter with comment. Sadly, there is more video of this debauchery in the classroom. While there are questions that need to be answered—Why would a math teacher or any teacher do this and think that it’s OK? Was this in their lesson plan and if so, how was this not flagged

Black Labor And Prevention Of A General Strike: By The Super Bowl Halftime Show, This Will All Be Forgotten

Within a capitalist society, Black labor matters. Black labor has value. To be clear, I did not say Black laborers, which is to say Black people. I said Black labor, which is to say the product or services rendered by Black people. There’s a clear distinction. Black labor will cease to matter only when a suitable replacement can be found. Bob Moses speaks to this in his book “Radical Equations,” when he talks about a cotton-picking machine used on a Mississippi plantation in the 1940s. Even af

Opinion: Athletes Get Criticized For Vaccine Hesitancy But Politicians Who Spread Ignorance Look Evil

Numerous high-profile NBA players have chosen to not take the coronavirus vaccine, including Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets, Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards and Andrew Wiggins of the Golden State Warriors. Wiggins and Irving play for teams in the District of Columbia and California which both have vaccine mandates. Wiggins recently chose to get vaccinated. Irving was recently told he cannot play any games anywhere until vaccinated. Unvaccinated players, Irving specifically, have faced

Camden residents hear they don’t care about their city, but that’s never been true | Opinion

A few weeks ago, I watched a video on Facebook posted by a community activist and educator highlighting the scene at the Seventh and Clinton Street Park in Camden. What she saw was alarming: drug paraphernalia and drug use happening alongside children playing, at daytime, and in the full view of police. This activist rightly called out that such a scene isn’t tolerated in the suburbs, and rightly asked: Why is it tolerated in Camden? She declared at that moment, as others had as well, “not in my park."

Teaching Black History Year-Round Requires Rigorous Sight

Dr. Carter G. Woodson is best known for his creation of Negro History Week, which became Black History Month. The genius of his creation was in his desire for it to culminate in a weeklong celebration after a year of learning about the accomplishments of Black people. Negro History Week was never meant to be a one-off acknowledgment, recognition, and celebration of Black history. It was meant to serve as a short period for students to display what they’d learned about the history of Black peopl
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