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

Knowing When to Advocate for a Student

Debra Solomon Baker - February 3, 2011

Today, I got a laptop. Not for me. For Aeesha.

Let me flash back to about six weeks ago. A team meeting took place around a table in the science classroom, completing the annual discussion about Aeesha’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP).  

In eighth grade, Aeesha still struggles with basic mathematics, with written expression skills and with decoding text. In many ways, she is an elementary school student trapped in a middle school student’s adolescent body. 

Finding Hope in Anoka-Hennepin

Sean Price - February 2, 2011

Last weekend, the Southern Poverty Law Center and two partners struck a legal agreement with the Anoka-Hennepin School District in Minnesota. Amid revolution in Egypt and fears of a monster snowstorm in the Midwest, this was hardly top-shelf news. But the agreement really was a big deal for LGBT students.

Looking Back at Civil Rights—and Looking Ahead

Lisa Ann Williamson - February 1, 2011

Like the more than 22,000 students who visit the Civil Rights Memorial Center each year, Brittney Johnson loved the fountain.

The 10-year-old Montgomery, Ala., native had never been to the memorial center, even though it’s just a few miles from her house. And like most visitors she was instantly drawn to the circular black granite fountain out in front. This unique piece of architecture, designed by Maya Lin, is engraved with the names of 40 civil rights martyrs. Next to it stands a wall of water that cascades transparently over Martin Luther King Jr.’s well-known paraphrase of Amos 5:24 -- We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Closing the Gossip Pipeline

Laura Sofen - January 31, 2011

Today somebody vomited in fourth-period study hall. Before the period had ended, kids in my study hall already knew about it. On my way to fifth-period class, every kid I passed in the crowded hallway was talking about it.

Webster’s dictionary defines gossip as “a report about the behavior of other people.” In my school, gossip is the pipeline through which all sorts of misinformation, lies, and occasional truths get exchanged.

Plan to Grade Parents Flunks Out

Lisa Ann Williamson - January 28, 2011

Florida representative Kelli Stargel has proposed a bill requiring the state’s teachers to grade parents of children aged kindergarten to third grade.

Stargel suggests parents be graded “satisfactory,” “unsatisfactory” or “needs improvement,” based on whether their children arrive at school well-rested, well-fed and on time with homework completed. Her bill also requires regular communication between parents and teachers. 

Sexting and Punishment

Sean Price - January 27, 2011

Last June, eight students at Susquenita High School near Harrisburg, Pa., got a nasty surprise. The students, who ranged in age from 13 to 17, got caught with nude photos of each other on their cell phones. School officials brought in the police, and each teen was slapped with a felony pornography charge.

Seeing Economic Justice for All

Trevor Barton - January 26, 2011

In early 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders continued plans for a Poor People’s Campaign. It would take place in the spring in Washington, D.C. The poor and those in solidarity with them would take up temporary residence and march peacefully on the Capitol and advocate for substantial anti-poverty legislation from Congress. They would demand jobs, healthcare and decent housing.

Disparities in School Lunch

Jill E. Thomas - January 24, 2011

If you’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird, you might remember the scene in which Scout beats up Walter Cunningham in the schoolyard. It’s the first day of school and Scout’s teacher, Miss Caroline, is not from Maycomb. She doesn’t understand just how hard the Great Depression has hit the farmers of southern Alabama. So she innocently offers Walter a quarter to buy lunch in town. He refuses. As Scout explains he’s a Cunningham, and Cunninghams never take anything they can’t pay back. Every student at my school is eligible for free lunch this year, so they understand Walter’s situation. But what they don’t understand is “why other students get to go off campus for lunch and we don’t.”

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