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

Riding the Bus to Equality

Trevor Barton - February 24, 2011

Every morning at 7:15, the doors of our school open wide to a line of bus riders ready to come inside. "Hello, Jaheem. Hi, Kiara. Hey, Imani. Hope you're having a good day, Omar," I call out as the students walk past me to the cafeteria for breakfast. I stand at the doors for a moment and watch the big, yellow buses puff their diesel exhaust and chug their way to the garage until it's time for their afternoon run.

Is there a more universal symbol for public schools than a big, yellow school bus?

Linking Advocacy to English Class

Jill E. Thomas - February 23, 2011

At the recent California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) conference in Sacramento, I found myself surrounded by passionate English teachers, those willing to give up a weekend to share best practices. Hundreds of teachers attended to find new ways to make schools better places for students.

Book Club Inspires a Rich Conversation

Debra Solomon Baker - February 22, 2011

My third-grade daughter has no idea what it’s like to have a brother with autism.

Neither do I.

So we are lounging on this Sunday afternoon in February, munching on Teddy Grahams, attempting to understand Catherine’s life. Catherine, 12, is David’s sister and his teacher; David has autism. Mostly, Catherine teaches her brother about life’s rules, over and over again. He forgets. She reminds him.

Remembering the “Lost Cause”

Sean Price - February 18, 2011

Recently my family stopped at the Civil War battlefield at Vicksburg, Miss., to take a walk and soak in some history. Near the monument to Louisiana’s troops stood a young boy, about 8 or 9, with his mom and dad. The boy was dressed up as a gray-clad Confederate soldier. The combination of the outfit and the Confederate flag sticker on his family’s car told me something important about this boy.

It told me that he was a lot like me at that age.

Boosting Empathy with Five Simple Words

Nancy Barlow - February 16, 2011

Ricky was a big ball of anger. In all fairness, he had plenty to be angry about. The first years of his life were pretty rough. Now, at age 7, home life was starting to normalize. But sometimes just getting through the day without throwing a chair was enough for him to handle, let alone any sort of academic rigor. He had a hard time seeing others’ points of view. He was definitely my most challenging student and constantly in need of my attention.  

‘Not One Step Back’ in Wake County

Camille Jackson - February 15, 2011

Last Saturday, on one of North Carolina’s sunniest, warmest days this winter, thousands of people gathered in front of Shaw University in Raleigh to participate in the NAACP’s annual march for justice, workers’ rights and educational equality. The march has been dubbed the “HK on J,” or “historic thousands on Jones Street.” By mid-day, that’s exactly what it was: Too many people to count snaking through downtown Raleigh toward the state legislative building.

Taking History Out of Context

Maureen Costello - February 15, 2011

There are three questions students of history should always ask:

  1. What’s the context?
  2. What’s the context?
  3. What’s the context?

Yes, I know, it’s a play on the old real estate joke (location, location, location), but the importance of understanding how a quote or an event sits in terms of what’s happening around it cannot be overstated. 

The Height of Unintended Bias

Maureen Costello - February 11, 2011

The Southern Poverty Law Center held a Health Fair yesterday at which employees could get their blood pressure checked, visit with fitness experts and determine their fat-to-muscle ratio. 

Our screening began with a familiar ritual of childhood physicals: We each stepped onto a platform, stood much straighter than usual and had our height measured.  And then something very interesting happened. Each and every person, upon hearing the result, insisted they were taller, questioned the accuracy of the device (a steel measure) and reacted as if they’d been denied a birthright.  

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