Can we take a moment to brag?
You probably know that Teaching Tolerance is one of the United States’ leading providers of anti-bias education resources. But did you know we reach hundreds of thousands of educators—and millions of students—annually? It’s true! If you use any of our FREE resources (TT’s magazine, blog, professional development, film kits, Mix It Up at Lunch Day initiative or Perspectives for a Diverse America), you are part of a large and growing community of anti-bias educators and equity advocates.
But we can’t brag about ourselves without bragging about the dedication and expertise of our audience of educators. If you’re new to Teaching Tolerance—or already in the fold—we want to ensure that you and your colleagues are as connected to our work as possible. Below you will find a checklist of 11 things you can do (this week!) to join and stay connected with the Teaching Tolerance community. You can also download this list here. Be sure to post it and pass it on!
- Sign up for our weekly newsletter.
- Like us on Facebook.
- Subscribe to Teaching Tolerance magazine.
- Order one of our film kits.
- Follow us on Twitter.
- Download one of our guides or publications.
- Print and display a One World poster in
- Read, share and comment on our blogs.
- Use our featured lesson, or choose from
over 400 other classroom activities.
- Register for Mix It Up at Lunch Day.
- Register for, explore and use our newest curriculum, Perspectives for a Diverse America: a K-12 literacy-based, anti-bias curriculum.
The Atlantic: As more data emerge about disparate suspension rates for children with disabilities—including emotional disabilities—advocates are raising increasingly urgent questions about the legal, ethical and practical issues involved in closing the discipline gap.
The Columbus Dispatch: Library advocates are concerned about the trend in Ohio toward cutting library services or staffing media centers with non-librarians. These cost-cutting measures, they say, shortchange students and indicate a lack of understanding of the specialized nature of library services.
EurekAlert!: A new report released by Making Caring Common, a project of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, finds that many teen boys, girls and parents have biases against females in leadership roles.
GLAAD: This week, the White House released an updated HIV/AIDS strategy for the United States. The vision is to make new HIV infections rare, and when infections do occur, every person will have access to high-quality care and be free of stigma and discrimination.
The Huffington Post: An American Educational Research Association study released last month suggests that children of color—especially African Americans—are "underrepresented in special education services.” However, some civil rights and legal experts say that students of color are overrepresented in the most stigmatizing categories and that the systemic biases contributing to that fact are happening at the district level.
Medium: Jose Antonio Vargas addresses four common complaints he’s received about White People, a new MTV documentary he directed and hosted.
Medium: Writer Ruben Brosbe witnesses in the halls of his own school the kind of intolerance and desire for power that Officer Encinia displayed during Sandra Bland’s arrest. In this essay, he explores what to do with this uncomfortable realization.
The New York Times: Scholar Joe Feagin explains why racism must be understood in terms of the “white racial frame,” which includes not only "racist prejudices and stereotypes of conventional analyses,” but also “individual and group inclinations to discriminate shaped by the other features.”
POLITICO Magazine: Ninety percent of the mayors surveyed by POLITCO have concerns about race relations and policing in their city—yet 76 percent believe their police has a “good” or “excellent” relationship with minority communities.
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.
Some Teaching Tolerance articles, blogs and lessons quickly become go-to resources. One of these most-visited items is “10 Myths About Immigration,” a sidebar to a feature story originally published in the Spring 2011 issue of Teaching Tolerance magazine. Why? “10 Myths About Immigration” addresses hot-button issues in the immigration debate—and helps educators debunk the misinformation students bring to school.
But let’s face it: Four-year-old facts are stale. That’s why we did something we don’t usually do—update a magazine article to reflect current statistics, policies and conditions in the United States. If you’re new to the piece, or already a fan, it’s worth taking a look at the update.
Here are the 10 myths:
- Most immigrants are here illegally.
- It's just as easy to enter the
country legally today as it was when my ancestors arrived.
- There’s a way to enter the country legally for anyone who wants to get in
- My ancestors learned English, but today’s immigrants refuse.
- Today’s immigrants don’t want to blend in and become “Americanized.”
- Immigrants take good jobs from Americans.
- Undocumented immigrants bring crime.
- Undocumented immigrants don’t pay taxes but still get
- The United States is being overrun by immigrants like never before.
- Anyone who enters the country illegally is a criminal.
Read on to see how you can debunk these myths in your classroom.
At a professional development workshop, a group of fellow youth workers and I brainstormed ways to help youth feel empowered and to have cultural pride. We all work with youth outside of traditional classroom settings and face similar time constraints.
One of the suggestions I offered to the group is to include mini-lessons about role models who reflect the identities of the youth. These mini-lessons are particularly effective in the after-school context because they’re simple—but can pack a punch.
A lot of U.S. history is about dead white men, but we all know that there are many more people who can be celebrated and that other parts of our history should be discussed. When youth can hold pride in people like them, they can build up greater resiliency to those who want to denigrate or dismiss them.
These mini-lessons have been successful with the youth I work with—mostly youth of color living in poverty, many of whom are the children of single and/or incarcerated parents. My co-workers and I make a point of celebrating people who reflect the identities of the youth and who have made tremendous contributions to their communities and our country at large. Here’s a short list of examples:
The mini-lessons are age-appropriate and range from coloring sheets and brief readings to small research projects culminating in short presentations. Whenever possible, we tie the lessons to things the youth are already experiencing or to a relevant topic in the news. For instance, this past spring, our youth in fifth grade and up had the chance to take dance classes with a professional dance troupe and do a public performance. We watched performances by Maria Tallchief on YouTube, and then the youth researched her history. Next year, we’ll talk about Misty Copeland and look at her dance performances.
This fall, one of the first lessons I plan to do with third- through fifth-grade youth is to play some of Nina Simone’s music and talk to them about her role in the civil rights movement. I’ll ask youth to reflect on the ways music can draw people together, and ask them to make connections between this idea and the annual jazz festival that takes place in their neighborhood each spring (which many of them participate in).
Youth look forward to these mini-lessons about people who reflect their identities, and more than once, I’ve seen them announce their new knowledge to their parents at the end of the day.
One challenge of our current education system is that, while we’ve collectively acknowledged the importance of social emotional learning, we have yet to really incorporate into lessons and interactions the things that will help youth be proud of who they are—including their interests, hobbies and heritage.
But mini-lessons are one place where this incorporation can take place. Done right, they can make a big difference in a small amount of time.
Clift works in an after-school program for youth and as the communications intern for the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
The Atlantic: In response to Arizona’s ban on Mexican-American studies, the course—and ethnic studies movement—has seen burgeoning nationwide support.
The Atlantic: The Americans With Disabilities Act is 25 years old—but students with disabilities are still not treated equally in schools.
Black Children’s Books and Authors: Science fiction and fantasy is traditionally a genre of white and male writers, but a small group of black writers have been breaking the mold.
The Florida Times-Union: The books The Librarian of Basra and Nasreen’s Secret School, both based on true stories from the Middle East, were added to the third-grade reading list in Duval County Public Schools in Florida last month. Some parents are protesting that content about war, the Taliban and Islam are not appropriate for their children.
The Huffington Post: Unless the current conversation about prison reform shifts to include both federal- and state-level reforms, a huge percentage of incarcerated youth will not benefit from proposed policy improvements.
NBC News, New York: This week, the New York State Education Department released a 12-page set of guidelines to help districts cultivate safe, inclusive school settings for transgender students.
Vox: These digital flashcards debunk common myths about transgender people.