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 ninth-grade Spanish students resisted my assignment to write about their cultures.
“My family doesn’t have any cultural traditions,” one said.
“My culture is that I’m just normal,” added another.
“I don’t have a culture,” said another.
The face of America is changing.
In 40 years, the United States will become a minority-majority nation – a remarkable milestone for a country that already boasts one of the most religiously, ethnically and racially diverse societies in the world.
But you wouldn’t know it looking at our nation’s schools. Census and school data tell a very different story.
Ms. Simmons had two first-grade boys by the arms.
“Fighting in the bathroom,” she said. “Send them home.”
It’s the second week of day camp hosted at our school. The policy is strict: Two strikes and you’re out.
On the one hand, it makes sense. It’s summer camp. Camp should be safe and enjoyable for all children. It’s hard to feel comfortable when you’re worried there might be a fight. There’s no mandate for children to be here. It’s optional and a privilege.
Our staff took an in-service afternoon to design a new approach to Ramadan. It wasn’t for a teaching unit, but out of consideration for the more than 30 Muslim students in our school. During this period of religious observance, which requires fasting, these students were directed to the cafeteria at lunchtime as usual. Some took refuge in the media center, but most suffered in the cafeteria.
When I announced the annual personal narrative assignment, my students groaned. Every year I get the same response. Most of my students would rather write fantasy or even research papers than compose a story about something real, but the state standard in Oregon requires the narrative.
When you hear about a school bully, you might automatically picture that big-for-his-age fifth grade boy or a teen girl whose manner of dress and speech makes her look and sound a bit rough and tough. All too often, however, school bullies are actually the grown-ups in charge.
When JT Eberhard of the Secular Student Alliance (SSA), an organization providing support to nontheistic students, received a letter from a teacher bragging about blocking formation of an atheist club, the lack of a return address didn’t slow him down. He used the email address provided by the sender to locate the teacher and alert administrators.
At a time when the nation’s schools are becoming more segregated, teachers and students across the country have an opportunity to show the rest of the world they’re committed to challenging these boundaries by registering for Teaching Tolerance’s Mix It Up at Lunch Day.