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
That’s the term the man used – “Mississippi eyes.” He was describing how he saw California’s Imperial Valley after he had spent time as a civil rights activist in Mississippi and Alabama. He had been born and bred in the Imperial Valley, deep in California’s agricultural belt. But he had never understood the inequities or racism of life there until Mississippi taught him how to see.
You’re forgiven if you missed it.
Late last month, Congress passed and President Obama signed a bill that included text that “apologizes … to all Native Peoples for the many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect inflicted on Native Peoples by citizens of the United States.” Not only was news of the measure knocked from front pages by the health care debate and Tiger Woods, it was well-camouflaged within the 2010 defense appropriations bill.
As teachers and students return to school this week, it’s worth taking one last look back at 2009. We asked ourselves, “What five news stories most shaped diversity – and diversity education – in the classroom last year?” Here is our list. Feel free to share if you come up with a different one.
What do you do with 4,100 books full of racist nonsense? One solution is to turn them into something that can hang on a museum wall.
I once had an elementary school teacher who tried a multicultural approach to the holiday season. She told my class about Hanukkah, which she described as being a kind of “Jewish Christmas.” This fascinated us until we discovered that the gift-giving aspect of Hanukkah was spread out over several days. As fans of Santa Claus, we couldn’t help thinking that Jewish kids must have it tough.
As a kid, I remember listening wide-eyed to my grandmother tell me about the “Dummy Room.” The Dummy Room was one of her first assignments as a young teacher in small-town Iowa in the 1930s. Like other Dummy Rooms across the country, it was the dumping ground for the school district’s hard cases.
Years ago, I was inspired by Douglas Brinkley’s The Majic Bus: An American Odyssey. In it, Brinkley described how he taught history to college students. He took them to historical sites and had them speak with eyewitnesses. Wanting this, but not knowing how to pay for it, I looked inward. I realized that our high school campus was surrounded by history, just like every other place.
There’s bullying, and then there’s what’s going on at South Philadelphia High School.
This week, about 50 Asian students at South Philly have opted to stay away from classes. They launched their boycott after a series of fights last week between Asian and black students. The violence was so bad that seven of those involved required medical attention for cuts and bruises. Ten of the students involved in the fights, both blacks and Asians, were suspended or sent to alternative schools.