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
My parents stopped patronizing our local cinema when I was a child because they were livid when the theater owner demanded to see a copy of my birth certificate as proof that I could pay the child admission price. The boycott lasted six years. Although it satisfied my mother’s desire to “not give that theater” her money, the theater’s business didn’t crumble. I am not sure it prevented the theater’s management from treating another young girl the same way.
Junior was not the typical school leader, but he understood that listening to music could inspire his artwork.
After going over the syllabus and room procedures in my art class on the first day of school, the question came as it does each year: “Can we listen to our iPods in this class?”
Some students—and others—may ask, “Why do we need Mix It Up at Lunch Day?” A good way to lead them to their own answers is to carry out group or classroom activities designed to explore issues of social boundaries.
Teaching African-American history to middle and high school students is sometimes daunting. I have found it is difficult for today’s youth to identify with a time when it was legal to discriminate against other human beings simply because of the color of their skin. Even more than the disconnect with the issues that were at the heart of the black freedom struggle, I was shocked at the lack of knowledge my students possessed about the long history that made something like Jim Crow possible.
Our country’s demographics are changing. About 1 in 3 American residents is now multicultural. Much of that change has been in the South, which has seen a multicultural growth of 34 percent in just the last decade. Demographers project that white Americans will be a minority by 2042. These changes have already begun to affect the nation’s electoral map and have huge implications for November’s presidential election. And few places illustrate the pace of those changes more than Clarkston, Ga., where the PBS series “Need to Know” spent time with both old-timers and newcomers. The program, “America by the Numbers: Clarkston, Georgia,” airs tonight and will then be available online to teachers.
After teaching a particularly grueling class, I looked forward to the solace of my 55-minute planning period. I started to organize the black hole that is my desk and found a folded piece of notebook paper with my name, Ms. Samsa, hastily scrawled onto it.
“So you’re calling us racists,” students accused.
I was starting to feel a little exasperated. “No, I’m not. I’m saying that you have created an image which suggests a racist stereotype.”
What would it look like if schools offered every child daily opportunities to do something in which they excel? What if, instead of just celebrating academic successes, we highlighted the unique talents and joys of all our students?