A loophole enables schools to ignore the importance of Juneteenth

Juneteenth memorializes the day when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, to announce all enslaved peoples were free upon the surrender of the last Confederate stronghold. More than 150 years later, in 2021, President Joe Biden made Juneteenth a national holiday. Holidays and memorials remind us of who we are as a country—our past and who we hope to become in the future. Juneteenth celebrations provide the opportunity to remember the real national Independence Day.

If You Aren't Reading, You Ain't Really Teaching

It must be a practice of every educator to improve for the next school year. Each year should serve as game tape for the next year. We must reflect on the highs and lows of our praxis. We should continue with what worked and meet the challenges of what we must improve upon. Teachers and administrators must reflect on their praxis to improve as they plan for the next school year. To give an example, I turn to basketball. A great example is a fan favorite of the Delaware Valley, Tyrese Maxey.

What Were Your Students Learning While They Were Doing Your Hair?

A few weeks ago, a Black man teacher posted a video on his social media account, TikTok to be specific. The video was of his primarily female students taking out his braids as he sat at his desk. He offered context to the video; speaking over the video recording saying that he needed help taking out his braids before his hair appointment after school. He cited his relationship with students to explain why those ladies unbraiding his hair was okay. He also shared that he had parents sign release

What They’re Really Afraid Of...

Every single month is an opportunity for students to, in the spirit of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, review, reflect on, and recite all the Black history they learned the year prior. This was the original intention of Black History Month, originating as Negro History Week. However, due to the war on Black studies in the form of anti-woke and anti-CRT (Critical Race Theory) legislation around the country, it’s no guarantee that students are receiving an authentic version of Black history in the classroom

Haiti’s Sin of Resistance

Years ago before I began teaching, I became friendly with a maintenance crew member on the job. He was a brotha, but what connected us was our shared religious beliefs. We would engage in water cooler talk about faith, sports, the weather, and current events. But after about a year of this, the conversations stopped. Soon after, I no longer saw him. Before his departure, we had a conversation in early 2010 lamenting the situation in Haiti. The nation had just experienced a devastating earthquake

Black Teachers Are Staying In Schools, Even Though Some Of You Are Playing In Our Faces

Thankfully, we have the data that backs up that truth. Not that the words of students and parents aren’t enough. But for some, data is the most meaningful; subjective at best but I digress. Education Week highlighted the data that exposes the positive impact of Black teachers, specifically in the academic success of Black students: “Black students are more likely to graduate from high school and enroll in college when they have just one Black teacher in elementary school. Black students are also

Are Our Children Safe From Cultural Incompetence?

I find it somewhat fascinating, as I find it infuriating, that there’s a lack of sensitivity concerning anti-Black racism in education spaces. Certainly, our society should be very sensitive to the way anti-Black racism shows up directly and indirectly in the experiences of Black people, considering the history of this country. But in 2024, that isn’t the case. The constant attempt to prevent the teaching of Black history in schools is a common example. What’s worse, however, is when educators

The seeds of resistance stolen by Brown v. Board of Education

This month marks the 70th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The ruling in the 1954 case was one of the most consequential court decisions in American history, overturning the doctrine of separate but equal—or separate and unequal, depending on who you ask—established by Plessy v. Ferguson. The case also set the stage for Civil Rights Movement activists to dismantle the racial caste system that was Jim Crow.

Integrating schools 70 years ago was a good thing. But it had unintended consequences. | Opinion

"Brown v. Board of Education" desegregated our schools. It also made it harder for Black teachers to succeed, argues Rann Miller. Read more In April, Philadelphia hosted the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. While the planners of the convening may have glowing remarks about its host city, researchers took Pennsylvania to task. At the meeting, Travis Bristol of the University of California, Berkeley, and Sharif El-Mekki, CEO of the Center for Black Educator Develo

The Burden of Racism on Black Students

As a K-8 student, I wasn’t fully aware of the racism I encountered. That’s likely because those instances—and I believed they happened—were during interactions with the adults in the school building, most (if not all) were white. However, because I held the adults in the building with such high regard, and because of my inability to diagnose instances of racism during my interactions with them, many things flew over my head. High school however was different. The difference the vast majority o

The Assault on School Children Continues—Through Food

Lately, that assault has taken the form of attacking Black history. The latest iteration comes from Republican governors preventing hungry children from getting fed. Republican governors in 15 states are rejecting a new federally funded program to give food assistance to hungry children during the summer months, denying benefits to 8 million children nationwide. Their excuses run the gambit: from the idiotic to the pathologically bigoted. Some argue that they haven’t seen the full plans. Others

Is The Data Going to Make a Difference?

When the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) released its newest data since the Biden administration has been in office, it represented the newest information about inequities and disparities since the dawn of the coronavirus pandemic. While the information is good to have, it isn’t telling us anything any different than what we already know. That is, Black children are disproportionately underrepresented in areas of academic achievement and are disproportionately overrepresented in areas of st

The Cost of Fighting Crime

Mayor Cherelle Parker was the first woman elected mayor in the history of Philadelphia. She vowed to voters that she will vigorously fight crime and believes she’s doing just that. She has a mandate to do so. Historically, Philadelphia has regularly contended with poverty and gun violence. While gun violence is down compared to last year, 2023 follows three of the most violent years in recent memory and the trauma remains something residents continue to navigate. According to a Pew Charitable Trust 2023 poll, Philadelphians from all backgrounds want their elected leaders to prioritize reducing the city’s crime rate in the coming years. According to the poll, those most affected are Black and Latino/a/x residents, who make up a majority of city residents.

Elon Musk, Conservatives and Others Can Applaud the Death of DEI, But Was It Truly Beneficial for Black People?

DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) initiatives, have become a bad word (or properly speaking a bad acronym) amongst white people — specifically conservative Republicans. These various initiatives, e.g., training, hiring programs, and department creation, took place in government, for-profit, and nonprofit sectors. What precipitated these were the murders of Black people in 2020, most notably Ahmaud Arbury, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. Following those deaths came a collective rush of an

Standing Tall in the Face of Attack

I’ve spoken and written at length about the need for educators to speak out against racism in all facets… especially concerning the educating of Black children. I’ll continue to do so because the totality of Black lives—academic, personal, and professional interactions and experiences—of Black children depend upon it. Whether it is speaking out against disproportionate disciplining i.e. suspensions, expulsions, and arrest, of Black children in schools, the lack of Black teachers in schools, the

Who Do Teachers Actually Work For?

A few months ago, a teacher shared in an Education Week column that they were told by their eighth-grade student that they (the teacher) worked for them (the students). This came about as the teacher was cleaning up after students and reminding them (and I am paraphrasing) that they were too old not to clean up after themselves. The student responded with the comment without venom, but with a matter-of-fact-ness that embodies the current climate as to how education is perceived: as an industry

In the Face of Struggle, Progress Abounds

Education is a major aspect of the Black experience. The desire to learn is in our DNA. Policymakers and educators alike will point to the data points concerning Black student test scores and lament that Black People don’t care about education. I’ve heard with my own ears from “educators,” including some colleagues. They’ll say or have said that Black children don’t want to learn and that Black parents don’t care to make them. Nothing could be said further from the truth. The truth is that publ

Do Your Students Understand The Different Ways Racism Shows Up?

According to a recent study, hiring managers pass over “names associated with Black people” in all 50 states when reviewing resumes. 1,500 people were surveyed as part of the study, and what was found was: “… names of workers perceived as Black, such as Shanice or Terell, were more likely to elicit negative presumptions, such as being less educated, productive, trustworthy, and reliable, than people with either white-sounding names, such as Melanie or Adam, or racially ambiguous names, such as

When the United States Uses a Black Face to Deliver Problematic Foreign Policy Decisions

On Oct. 18, the United States was the lone member of the United Nations Security Council to vote against condemning civilian violence in Gaza resulting from Israel’s response to Hamas. The face of that veto was the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Linda Thomas-Greenfield. On Dec. 9, the United States was the lone member of the UN Security Council to vote against a ceasefire in Gaza. The face of that veto was the U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the U.N., Robert Wood. The most recent vote on a ceasefire a

Reforming What Doesn’t Wish to be Reformed

In 2021, a Utah school district was found ripe with racism. A federal civil rights investigation released in October 2021 found widespread racial harassment of Black and Asian American students at the Davis School District, located in Farmington, UT, including hundreds of documented uses of the N-word and other racial epithets over the last five years: “Black students throughout the district told investigators about similar experiences of white and non-Black students calling them the N-word, re
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