Ban What You Want, We're Still Teaching Our Students the Truth About Our Country

Much of the rhetoric concerning critical race theory (CRT) has come from politicians and parents, many of whom are white. Missouri serves as an example. But educators have offered some commentary as well. Nine out of 10 teachers never taught CRT in their classrooms. Thankfully, both the National Educational Association and the American Federation of Teachers both pledged to defend teachers facing legal action for teaching CRT or anything “related” to it. I say “related” because “The 1619 Projec

Rann Miller: When States Take Over School Districts, the Community Loses

ImpactED, an evaluation and research center at the University of Pennsylvania, recently released a report finding that Camden public school students in grades three-to-eight have narrowed the proficiency gap in both math and reading since the 2014-15 school year, when the Camden City School District was taken over by the state of New Jersey under then-Governor Chris Christie. The report also makes mention that since 2014, student proficiency in both math and reading has nearly doubled.

Black Kids Don't Need a "Messiah." They Need More Black Male Teachers.

I recently saw a tweet that cautioned Black folks to divest from the “Black Male Educator as the Messiah” myth in education and it got me thinking; is there a messiah myth about Black male educators in education circles? The answer depends on who you ask. I can say from personal experience that my Black-maleness was welcomed in schools by both Black and white educators alike, but for different reasons. Black educators welcomed my presence because my presence could serve as another model for Bl

Every Educator Must Decide Whether They Work for the System or for Students

So, you want to teach REAL history … You’re a teacher. Maybe you’re even a history teacher. But truth is, you didn’t learn much other than white supremacy propaganda during your formal education. But you’ve gotten a taste of truth. You’ve heard the terms white supremacy, systemic racism, and institutional racism. You’ve discovered the Tulsa Race Massacre, the Underground Railroad that led to Mexico, and Juneteenth. You want to teach that history, the marginalized voices who can attest to that

5 Tips to Rid Your School Faculty of Racists

The insurrection of January 6, 2021 was a dark day in our nation’s history. What makes it even darker is that public servants took part in the dysfunction. In attendance that day were police officers, firefighters and even educators among our industry. As it pertains to leaders in these industries, I applaud them for investigating and potentially removing these individuals. But these leaders should be equally concerned with rooting out the racists hiding in plain sight in offices, patrolling th

5 Tips to Rid Your School Faculty of Racists

The insurrection of January 6, 2021 was a dark day in our nation’s history. What makes it even darker is that public servants took part in the dysfunction. In attendance that day were police officers, firefighters and even educators among our industry. As it pertains to leaders in these industries, I applaud them for investigating and potentially removing these individuals. But these leaders should be equally concerned with rooting out the racists hiding in plain sight in offices, patrolling th

Black Principals Can Serve as a Bridge To Get More Black Teachers Into the Classroom

The research is clear on the impact of Black teachers on Black student achievement. Black students who have had at least one Black teacher are more likely to graduate from high school, attend college and are less likely to drop out of school. Black students are also less likely to be disciplined at the hands of a Black teacher. But what about Black principals; what does the research say about their impact on Black students? A recently released report may provide us with some new insights. A Wa

Schools Must Hire More Black Teachers

A recent article from New Jersey news outlet NJ.com provided fresh evidence for something we’ve known for years: Black students nationwide are disciplined more often than other kids. During the 2013-2014 school year (the most recent for which state data are available), Black students made up only 16% of New Jersey’s student population but represented 44% of all students suspended. Black students also accounted for much higher rates of school expulsions.

Three (Ignorant) Arguments Used to Ban Critical Race Theory

To understand the legislative attacks on Critical Race Theory (CRT) that aim to make teaching CRT in schools—including concepts like white supremacy, systemic racism, and the like—illegal, don’t get caught up on the legislators. We know who and what they are. Rather, put your attention on their constituents; white folks who appear friendly, but remain ignorant. They are satisfied with maintaining the status quo of their place in society. They can tolerate people thriving in society but not at

Schools Must Hire More Black Teachers

Black children are disciplined more than others. Past inquiries into this phenomenon have discovered zero-tolerance policies, a lack of school counselors, and an increase in police presence at schools. They have also identified an underutilized solution: Hire more Black teachers. Black students who have at least one Black teacher have much better outcomes. They are more likely to graduate from high school, attend college and are less likely to drop out of school. Black students are also less li

Schools Must Hire More Black Teachers to Help Students Succeed

A recent article from New Jersey news outlet NJ.com provided fresh evidence for something we’ve known for years: Black students nationwide are disciplined more often than other kids. During the 2013-2014 school year (the most recent for which state data are available), Black students made up only 16 percent of New Jersey’s student population but represented 44 percent of all students suspended. Black students also accounted for much higher rates of school expulsions.

Here's How Student Curiosity Can Advance Racial Justice...If Teachers Just Let It Happen

Curiosity is oftentimes the beginning of learning. When we’re curious, we begin to ask questions. Our questions prompt us to investigate, and our investigations lead to a destination. Sometimes, the destination leads us to a firm conclusion that satisfies our curiosity by answering our original (or newly formed) questions. But sometimes, the destination we reach only offers us more questions. Maybe someone is curious about why some people can afford to live in big expensive houses and others

Students Don't Just Study Black History, They Are Black History

Educators: Are you aware that this month is Black History Month? Have you asked your students, specifically your Black students, what they’d like to see and/or do for Black History Month? Or, do you plan on doing the least; that is reading brief bios of famous Black people during morning announcements, putting posters on the walls of the school and/or hosting pot luck with staff, students and families—whereby Black people are in charge of cooking the food (doing the work as usual)? This year, B

Students Don't Just Study Black History, They Are Black History

Educators: Are you aware that this is Black History Month? Have you asked your students, specifically your Black students, what they’d like to see and/or do for Black History Month? Or, do you plan on doing the least; that is reading brief bios of famous Black people during morning announcements, putting posters on the walls of the school and/or hosting a pot luck with staff, students and families—whereby Black people are in charge of cooking the food (doing the work as usual)?

For Some Teachers, Black Lives Only Matter Conditionally

For Many Teachers, Black Lives Only Matter Conditionally What your history textbook says about your priorities When I was first assigned to teach U.S. history nearly a decade ago during my second year as a social studies teacher, my first stop was to a Black-owned bookstore around the corner from where I taught. A month before the school year began, I had decided that I couldn't use the old course textbook. It was the same sort of Eurocentric textbook from which I was taught U.S. history as

We Must Be Disciples for Our Students in 2021

This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, educators nationwide, and the world over, have had to adapt how they provide services to children and families. Like many of my colleagues, I too struggle with balancing how to do and be more in a world where our collective safety requires a coordinated separation. For many, the holiday season brings faith to the forefront. So, for guidance on how to overcome, I look to my Sunday school teachers for inspiration. Sunday school was more than just learn

If We Want to Liberate Black Minds, We Must Follow the Example of Liberation Schools

When it comes to education, I have a well-rounded and unique perspective. I received a Catholic school education, I taught middle and high school history for two charter schools and I am currently a program director for a public school district. I know what it is like to attend school with zero Black teachers and I know what is like to be the only Black teacher in a school building. Fueling my use of culturally relevant and affirming resources to teach Black and Afro-Latinx students in a cultur

You Aren’t a ‘Woke’ Teacher if Your Students Aren’t Learning

The recent “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” reunion show had me in my feelings. It was great to see the cast again and it was cool to see that Will Smith and Janet Hubert ended their 25-plus years feud. My wife and I decided to allow our 8-year-old son to watch a few of the early episodes of the show. We started with the pilot episode. There’s a scene from that episode where Will says that he believes Uncle Phil has forgotten where he came from due to his bougie lifestyle. Will said it to Uncle Phil’

You Aren't a 'Woke' Teacher if Your Students Aren't Learning

The recent “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” reunion show had me in my feelings. It was great to see the cast again and it was cool to see that Will Smith and Janet Hubert ended their 25+ year feud. My wife and I decided to allow our 8-year-old son to watch a few of the early episodes of the show. We started with the pilot episode. There’s a scene from that episode where Will says that he believes Uncle Phil has forgotten where he came from due to his bougie lifestyle. Will said it to Uncle Phil’s fac

It's Not a Discipline Problem, You're Just Not Engaging Your Students

Here’s a dirty little secret about teachers that few people care to admit: Many teachers with poor classroom management aren’t strong instructional. I would never assume that a teacher without control of their classroom simply cannot teach (although that is true for some). But in my experience, teachers who have struggled with their classroom management weren’t the best instructionally. I’ve observed some of these teachers and rarely were the students the problem. Some teachers did a poor job
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