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
Forty percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago, according to a Gallup poll released late last week. In other words, they subscribe to creationism.
The Pew Hispanic Center's dry factual reports hide a world in every statement. Each sentence, like a highly concentrated brew, is the end result of months of interviews and research. Consider the following from an October 7, 2009, report on a national survey of Latino youth:
The biggest reason for the gap between the high value Latinos place on education and their more modest aspirations to finish college appears to come from financial pressure to support a family, the survey finds.
I walked down the newly plowed row with my grandpa, feeling the warm, red clay on the soles of my bare feet and listened to his stories and words of advice. I held a tomato plant in my hands, the rich, black potting soil falling off of the small, vulnerable roots, as he knelt and dug a place for it in the garden. “Hey,” he’d often start, “here's something my daddy told me when I was little. ‘God gave you two ears and one mouth because He wants you to listen twice as much as you speak. If you do that, you'll learn something. If you don't, you won't.’”
For people who complain about a “war on Christmas,” here’s a reality check. If you’re Christian in the United States, you can generally practice your religion without constraint. Assuming you don’t force your faith on others, being devout is not likely to cost you your job.
While I share some aspects of my life with my students, one thing I don’t share is that I was born Jewish. I am ashamed of my shame, knowing that Jews, like many religious groups, have suffered because of their beliefs. My shame comes from growing up in a community that seemed to typify every negative stereotype about Jews. It also stems from being silent for years whenever someone made an anti-Semitic comment.
The Ad Council of America and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) launched an ad campaign, “Think Before You Speak.” The ads challenges people to consider how hurtful their language can be when the identity of someone is used as an insult.
Today, I opened my classroom door to a surprise. Diego was back! He put his arm around my shoulder and said, “It’s good to see you again.”
One of the best things about being a teacher is when students come back. Some of those homecomings are more significant than others. Just a 10th-grader, Diego wasn’t back to tell me about his college life, his career or kids. He was back to tell me that in juvenile hall, where he’d spent the last three weeks, he had found out he loved to write.
Thirty years ago, I heard the news that John Lennon had been shot. Every year since, the morning news on NPR reminds me again of that day.
I was a young, second-year teacher then, with four sections of grade nine “World Cultures” and one section of A.P. United States history. Mine was a Catholic school, and we’d had Monday, December 8 off because it was a holy day, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.