A place for educators to find thought-provoking news, conversation and support for those who care about diversity, equal opportunity and respect for differences in schools

After the Screaming Stops

Debra Solomon Baker - March 3, 2011

Shrinking there on the stool in the science classroom, I just want to gather my ungraded quizzes and my dignity and flee to freedom. But, I don’t. I sit there, paralyzed by the assault.

“We are not your enemies,” I finally counter. “We are not Blake’s enemies.”

Friend and Activist Nick LaTour Dies

Lisa Ann Williamson - March 2, 2011

Singer, actor and activist Nick LaTour died Monday.

To many children in Alabama and across the country, LaTour was a consummate storyteller who was able to bring the civil rights movement to life. People who heard him sing will forever be touched by his baritone renditions of spirituals or civil rights anthems. 

Getting More Black Men into the Classroom

Lisa Ann Williamson - March 1, 2011

Walter Sherrill made chemistry cool. He was the sort of refined man who seemed to glide across a room. His voice never rose above a quiet tone, and he wore a mostly stern expression on a peaceful countenance as he explained scientific equations. I cherished the rare times he smiled—or on occasion—chuckled at the ludicrous conclusions of his high school students.

Arts: The Secret to Making Schools Great?

Maureen Costello - February 28, 2011

Last week, I had a chance to preview documentary films that showed how a strong arts program—and that could range from mariachi to Shakespeare to poetry slams—could turn struggling schools into powerhouses of energy and promise. Last night, millions of viewers got a chance to see what students from a school that values the arts look like—on the Academy Awards, no less.

L.A. Task Force Aims to Close Achievement Gap

Maria Zamudio - February 24, 2011

Last year, 7 of every 10 African-American high school juniors enrolled in the Los Angeles Unified School District scored below average in language arts.

These numbers keep Sharon V. Robinson up at night.

Robinson, special assistant to the superintendent, has seen similar numbers during her long career at the district. But before she retires in April, she is committed to tackling this issue.

Riding the Bus to Equality

Trevor Barton - February 24, 2011

Every morning at 7:15, the doors of our school open wide to a line of bus riders ready to come inside. "Hello, Jaheem. Hi, Kiara. Hey, Imani. Hope you're having a good day, Omar," I call out as the students walk past me to the cafeteria for breakfast. I stand at the doors for a moment and watch the big, yellow buses puff their diesel exhaust and chug their way to the garage until it's time for their afternoon run.

Is there a more universal symbol for public schools than a big, yellow school bus?

Linking Advocacy to English Class

Jill E. Thomas - February 23, 2011

At the recent California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) conference in Sacramento, I found myself surrounded by passionate English teachers, those willing to give up a weekend to share best practices. Hundreds of teachers attended to find new ways to make schools better places for students.

Book Club Inspires a Rich Conversation

Debra Solomon Baker - February 22, 2011

My third-grade daughter has no idea what it’s like to have a brother with autism.

Neither do I.

So we are lounging on this Sunday afternoon in February, munching on Teddy Grahams, attempting to understand Catherine’s life. Catherine, 12, is David’s sister and his teacher; David has autism. Mostly, Catherine teaches her brother about life’s rules, over and over again. He forgets. She reminds him.

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