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

Dissent or Disruption?

Alice Pettway - March 8, 2012

Schools have a responsibility to maintain a safe learning environment for all students—this seems on first examination a simple enough statement. It isn’t.

Two words are key—“learning” and “all.” A school that is inclusive of all its students but unable to nurture learning has failed in its responsibility. An academically successful school that only supports its majority students has equally neglected its obligation.

Being Honest About Past Intolerance

Peter J. Elliott - March 7, 2012

Trey loved to challenge whatever rule he could in class. He was the student who would question every nuance of the dress code, just to see if the faculty could come up with a worthy reason.

During a discussion of homophobia in The Catcher in the Rye, he, blurted, “Holden’s just so gay.”

The class groaned as they awaited my response.

Small Kids, Big Kids: We Must Use Our Words

Gwendolyn Eden - March 6, 2012

I recently visited a friend’s preschool classroom. While there, I saw an argument that mirrored my high school students’ conflicts. I walked away curious about the way younger and older students use their words to explain their feelings and the actions of others.

Bridging Friendship on the Titanic

Jill Spain - March 1, 2012

Sometimes school tracking sets students up for failure, academically and socially. My students with disabilities, who require extra academic assistance, often ended up on the short end of the stick. Because they were in all of the same classes together I noticed that they also clung to each other in the cafeteria. They had a difficult time fitting in and making friends with other students.

Occupy D.C. Offers Hands-On Learning

Orrin Konheim - February 29, 2012

Occupy D.C. protesters Nathaniel Brown and Nicole Normile are high-schoolers. That’s not unheard of. The really interesting story is that they were encouraged to get involved by their high school civics teacher.

The two seniors are part of the seven-member, student-directed extra-curricular club “Waking Up the Nation” at the Howard Gardner School in Alexandria, Va. Since its inception in the Fall of 2010, the social activism club has tackled a number of social projects from preventing war to seeking environmental justice under the leadership of faculty advisor Matt Hawley is the group’s faculty advisor.

Teachers Inspired by Whitman College Movement

Michelle Higgins - February 28, 2012

My desire to share stories about some of the most important people and events in history led me to teach. That’s why I volunteered for a project with Whitman College students to teach a lesson on the civil rights movement in my three history classes.

Whitman College Teaches the Movement

Last month, Whitman College students participated in a service project to teach the civil rights movement to students in the Walla Walla (Wash.) Public Schools. Here are insights from student teachers Allison Bolgiano, Noah Lerner and Shannon Morrisey.

Inspiration Knows No Gender

Lisa Ann Williamson - February 27, 2012

When the Dallas Texas Public Schools District decided to show its fifth-graders Red Tails, an action-adventure film based on the Tuskegee pilots who formed the country’s first black aerial combat unit, it was a tremendous idea. The district felt students would be inspired by the story of these men who fought segregation, integrated the Army and were trained as combat pilots for the United States during WWII.

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