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

The Price of Pilgrimage

Maureen Costello - December 15, 2010

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.

Being Jewish in a Christian World

Laura Sofen - December 13, 2010

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. 

Sending ‘That’s so gay’ on Vacation – Permanently

Lisa Ann Williamson - December 10, 2010

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. 

In Jail, Pencils Are Weapons

Jill E. Thomas - December 9, 2010

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.

I Heard the News Today, Oh Boy

Maureen Costello - December 8, 2010

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. 

Teaching As Human Rights Work

Trevor Barton - December 8, 2010

Abel Barrera Hernández has worked tirelessly to bring justice to some of Mexico’s most marginalized communities. For his work as founder and director of the Tlachinollan Center in southern Mexico, Hernández received an award from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights last month.

That, coupled with the fact that Friday is Human Rights Day, got me thinking how I, as a teacher, must also fight for human rights.

Balancing the Holidays in Your Classroom

Lisa Ann Williamson - December 6, 2010

Each year at this time, teachers are faced with a dilemma: How to balance the holidays to create the most inclusive environment?

As Hanukkah comes to a close and Christmas approaches, many teachers will decorate with candy canes, glittered Christmas trees and construction-papered dreidels.

But there are more holidays being celebrated this month. 

New Arizona Laws Move Latinos to Action

Louise Rocha-McCarthy - December 3, 2010

Earlier this year, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed HB 2281 into law, making it an offense to teach courses at any grade level that promote resentment towards a race or class of people. The law further states that no classes may be designed for any ethnic group or promote ethnic solidarity. This despite the fact that, according to the U.S. Census, 30 percent of the state is made up of Latinos.

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