BRIGHT: Writer Thomas Maffai shares his concern that, in the age of technology, the "belief in the value of classroom learning built on human connection appears to be slipping."
Edutopia: Some beliefs about educating English language learners are outdated or just flat-out wrong. Edutopia debunks five of the most common myths.
Futures Without Violence: A new report offers recommendations to educators on how to effectively recognize and respond to the needs of children who are exposed to violence and trauma.
The Guardian: This collection of stories sheds much-needed light on the experiences of undocumented children whose parents relocated from Mexico to the United States.
Indian Country: When a 10-year-old Wukchumni boy raised questions about an offensive song celebrating Spanish Missions, he sparked a series of events that changed his California school district’s curriculum.
The José Vilson: When a respected colleague was fired, this blogger regretted not expressing more appreciation for her, and resolved to thank his colleagues on a regular basis.
NEA Today: TT blogger Chad Donohue explains that he walked out of school "as a show of solidarity for all educators who are committed to improving the lives and outlooks of young people."
Newsweek: In the same week that the president of the Boy Scouts highlighted the need to end the organizational ban on gay adult leaders, the Girl Scouts faced criticism for its policy of inclusion for transgender girls.
Salon: Author Robin DiAngelo examines racial illiteracy among white people—and how it "poisons" the national conversation around race.
If you come across a current article or blog you think other educators should read, please send it to email@example.com, and put "What We’re Reading This Week" in the subject line.
Today, the president of the Boy Scouts of America, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, told his organization, “We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be. The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained.” Translation? The Boy Scouts’ blanket ban on gay adult leaders needs to come to an end.
Gates’ remarks are welcome but long overdue. Some local Boy Scouts councils have already openly criticized and defied their organization’s ban on gay adult leaders. (The organization decided in 2013 that youth cannot be denied membership based on their sexual orientation.)
So, did the Boy Scouts take a step—at least in words—towards LGBT inclusivity today? The answer can be found in Gates’ prepared remarks, which the Boy Scouts released earlier today. “[E]vents during the past year have confronted us with urgent challenges I did not foresee and which we cannot ignore. … Nor can we ignore the social, political and juridical changes taking place in our country—changes taking place at a pace over this past year no one anticipated.” Gates detailed which events he meant: regional debates over laws to protect people against employment discrimination based on their sexual orientation and the impending U.S. Supreme Court decision on gay marriage.
Again—translation? We may not like it, but the times are changing, and we must change with them.
Gates also explained that if the Boy Scouts waits any longer to change its leadership policy, legal action against them is likely. “… [I]f we wait for the courts to act, we could end up with a broad ruling that could forbid any kind of membership standard, including our foundational belief in our duty to God and our focus on serving the specific needs of boys,” he said. “Waiting for the courts is a gamble with huge stakes.”
Pushing the Boy Scouts to leave behind their discriminatory past is certainly a step in the right direction—but we’re not there yet. As educators across the United States know, the “specific needs” of boys (and all children for that matter) include welcoming and safe environments. And not providing identity safety, specifically in the form of LGBT inclusivity, is also a gamble at the expense of all adults, youth and families associated with the Boy Scouts.
And the national leadership of the Boy Scouts does not, in fact, seem to be headed toward blanket acceptance of gay adult leaders. Rather, as Gates shared in his remarks, the Boy Scouts will let local sponsoring organizations—many of which are churches—determine revisions to membership standards.
Teaching Tolerance applauds any change that leads to greater inclusively, but applying these changes on an ad hoc basis still leaves LGBT members—youth and adult—relegated to the margins.
Lindberg is a writer and associate editor for Teaching Tolerance.
Last summer, TT introduced the five recipients of the Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Teaching to our community. These awardees—Christopher Avery, Amy Vatne Bintliff, Christopher Hoeh, Barrie Moorman and Michelle Nicola—are exemplary anti-bias educators. As part of their two-year tenure with us, they engaged in five conversations, facilitated by TT’s Teaching and Learning Specialist June C. Christian, with leading education researchers in the United States. Aimed at bridging the gap between research and practice, these dialogues offer insights with an eye toward solutions.
We recorded the conversations through the Google Hangout platform, hoping that other educators in our community will draw inspiration from them.
What makes an effective anti-bias educator? Watch and listen as this conversation with four education experts—Kevin Kumashiro, Howard Stevenson, Sonia Nieto and Peggy McIntosh—seeks to answer this question and many more.
If you could ask Howard Stevenson any question related to your professional practice, what would it be? Here’s what the awardees came up with: How do you effectively discuss racial stress at the district level? How does one envision school communities in which parents and teachers share some of the same language when talking about race? What steps can one take to effectively support students of color who feel isolated—beyond affinity groups? Hear Stevenson’s inspiring answers to these tough questions.
Kevin Kumashiro fielded some tough questions from the awardees: How can educators play a role in reframing the national conversation around race and equity? How and by which professional development standards can educators dive into social justice work? Kumashiro’s answers will propel you to rethink the very question posed, all while offering practical advice.
Are you interested in learning about how to sustain courageous conversations around race? And how conversations about race can lead to more equitable outcomes in the classroom and serve as a bridge to collective action? This conversation between Sonia Nieto and the awardees is a great starting point.
In their conversation with Peggy McIntosh, the awardees reflected on, among other topics, the significant influence of McIntosh’s essay “The Invisible Knapsack” on their professional practice, what they witness as a backlash among many white educators around the concept of privilege, and phases of curricular revision with regard to race. There’s something for everyone in this conversation
We hope you enjoy “hanging out” with these anti-bias education experts!
When a student who “looks like a boy” chooses to wear dresses and skirts. When a hard-of-hearing student seems to be doing well in a mainstream classroom but fails her tests. When a colleague repeatedly humiliates another and no one says anything.
These are instances when educators need to pause, forego their assumptions and look closer.
The Summer issue of Teaching Tolerance includes a number of ways to “look closer” by encouraging readers to think deeply about the needs of the many different people who surround us in our work: What do our colleagues and students need to grow and thrive? What do they need to be safe and secure at school?
Our cover story encourages educators to look closer—and more critically—at socially defined binary sex and gender norms. “Sex? Sexual Orientation? Gender Identity? Gender Expression?” unpacks each term and explains why knowing the difference between them can help students feel safe and supported. The story even includes a helpful downloadable poster that can hang in a classroom or a break room to educate others.
“Girls, Interrupted” asks readers to look closer at a juvenile justice population growing faster than any other: girls. While many initiatives combating the school-to-prison pipeline have emerged recently, they have primarily been centered on boys of color. “Girls, Interrupted” offers suggestions for helping girls who are overlooked and at risk, and for supporting them during their transitions out of lockup.
Sometimes, it’s co-workers who need to be seen. When a teacher is constantly being belittled or undermined by a colleague, you can be sure that teacher’s struggle is negatively affecting not only her own well-being but also that of her students. “Under Attack,” a feature story inspired by a TT blog post, details the nature of workplace bullying and the ways schools and districts are beginning to look closer and shut it down.
This magazine issue also features two TT magazine firsts: A spoken-word Story Corner, about a young girl set on breaking a social barrier in her community, and a video feature story, about young people around the country who are stepping up to change the world!
Check out the full Summer issue for more stories about the ways in which you can look more closely at your school community. Also, be sure to get our Fall and Spring issues delivered directly to your mailbox by becoming a subscriber! Subscriptions are FREE to educators.
We’re excited to announce the debut of our monthly Twitter chat, #TalktoTT, scheduled for May 26!
Join us on Twitter on the last Tuesday of every month from 6 to 7 p.m. (CT) to discuss the resources, curriculum and supports TT has to offer—from the various ways you can use Perspectives for a Diverse America to fresh ideas for Mix It Up at Lunch Day.
For our first chat, we’ll be discussing the Perspectives Central Text Anthology, which houses hundreds of free diverse readings. What readings have you used with students, and how do they reflect your students’ lives and experiences? If you haven’t yet explored the anthology, attending this Twitter chat will be a great way to see how other educators are putting it to use in their classrooms.
Because Perspectives has so much to offer, our first several chats will each cover a different aspect of the curriculum. Here’s a preview of topics you can look forward to in the next few #TalktoTT chats:
- TT’s Anti-bias Framework
- Interdisciplinary planning with themes
- Perspectives tasks and strategies