While Current Events Have Their Place in Teaching, A Social Justice Pedagogical Rooting Is Needed

A decade ago, when new to the teaching profession, the real world interrupted the classroom with the murder of Trayvon Martin. The very next time we had class after his murder, I spent the entire day wrestling with what happened with all my classes. It was a day well spent—where we discussed all the various circumstances surrounding the murder: racial profiling, racism, law-enforcement and the history of these. We also discussed what solutions were necessary and how young people could get invol

Resistance to Gov. DeSantis Is Part of a Long-Standing Tradition

In the struggle to define how U.S. history is taught in K-12 spaces, Gov. Ron DeSantis has attacked the piloted AP course in African-American History; making it unavailable to Florida students. In response to Gov. DeSantis, three high school students have sued the state of Florida to allow for the course to be taught. In his rationale for why Florida wouldn’t make the course available for students, DeSantis said the course lacked “educational value and historical accuracy.” However, having read

We’re Divided and We’re Falling

Sadly, we live in a deeply divided society. Our deep divides however do not yield individuals choices on the policy measures they want or don’t want. Deep divides lead to inaction and one of the most apparent places where inaction has had its way is school safety. Because of the deep divides in how politicians believe students ought to be protected from mass school shootings, anti-gun legislation is nowhere on the books. As a result, local districts, with the help of their communities, are taking

HBCUs: Turning Dialogue Into Duty

Deion Sanders decision to leave Jackson State University (JSU) to accept the head coaching job at the University of Colorado has facilitated rich conversations, particularly amongst Black people. Much of the discourse centers on HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities); specifically whether or not Sanders did what he could to uplift JSU and HBCUs in general or if he bailed on that mission, a mission he shared was one from God. But if you really listen, you’ll hear another conversati

Overcoming White Fragility in the Classroom

Racism is when the laws and institutions of a society or organization benefits one racial group of people over all others. Ron DeSantis desires to shield white people from guilt and as governor, he’s appointed racists to positions of power and he’s used his office to establish public policy that is in-fact anti-Black. He bans all things Critical Race Theory, yet his actions are Critical Race Theory in action.

Educators, Mindsets Matter Most. What Is Yours?

At the start of every new school year, educators have the opportunity to begin again. Whatever shortcomings came about concerning their teacher praxis or disposition can be rectified with a fresh start in September. A return to the classroom (and school building at large) can offer the same opportunity for renewal for teachers and all educators. The new year marks an opportunity to both forgive and forget those things behind us so we may press on towards what lay wait ahead of us. But for Blac

Black Institutions Will Be Our Foundations For Freedom

Kudos to the Center for Black Educator Development for the 5th annual National Black Male Educator Convening this year. It was a wonderful opportunity to connect with my fellow Black male educators to be revived, renewed and restored for the work of educating young people – particularly Black students and other students of color. Kudos to the Center’s team for putting on a wonderful convening of and for Black educators. From the panels to the workshops… it was exactly what we needed.

Literacy, One Of The Human Rights Most Readily (And Eagerly) Ignored

Elimination Of Illiteracy Is As Serious An Issue To Our History As The Abolition Of Slavery -Maya Angelou The name Bill Cosby elicits strong opinions and feelings; ranging from disappointment to anger. Mention The Cosby Show however (specifically amongst Black people), and you’ll find many strong opinions in the opposite direction—because many of us grew up watching the show. One episode that sticks out is the episode where an underage young woman is to deliver her child yet is without family

Teaching Media Literacy Includes Teaching About Racism

The New Jersey state legislature recently passed a bill that would require public schools to teach media literacy, from kindergarten to senior year of high school. The bill would also mandate that the state department of education create curriculum guidelines, establish in-service training for educators as well as make room for media literacy education in traditional and alternative route teacher prep programs.

Every Lesson Plan Is A Political Document. Every Time You Teach, It Is A Political Act.

Through lessons, teachers cultivate whether their students are inspired to be revolutionary or compliant. Teaching is political if you teach that Christopher Columbus discovered America. It’s political if you teach that Dr. Martin Luther King stood against capitalism as an economic structure or American imperialism. It’s political whether you teach that Thanksgiving is about the Pilgrims and Natives coming together or that Thanksgiving a white settler holiday to celebrate indigenous genocide

This Black Community Was Fined $50K For Demanding Justice

Is there a state that would put the names of racists above the education of Black children? Of course, there is. Guess that state… if you guessed the state of Alabama (amongst others), then you’re correct. Sadly, the state of Alabama cares more about safeguarding the names of racist Confederates more than they do the education and positive racial identity of Black children. The Montgomery County Public School District, whose Black students make up 78% of all students, have chosen to change the

A King Speaks, But Will They Tell Him To Shut Up?

El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz warned that Black athletes, entertainers and comedians are not leaders in the Black community. He called that subgroup of folks “puppets and clowns that have been set up over the Black community by the white community… (To) say exactly what they know the white man wants to hear.” So, in light of that, should Black athletes shut up and dribble? No, because that’s not what El-Shabazz is saying to us this many years later. What he’s saying is that Black leadership is root

The Power of HBCU Trained Teachers

Previously, I encouraged those in the position of recruiting teachers to recruit teachers from historically Black colleges and universities. I specifically noted that for every Black education major graduating from a non-HBCU, there are 17 Black education majors graduating from HBCUs. But I am aware that such a statistic isn’t necessarily enough to encourage district leaders to specifically target HBCUs to add to their faculty. But a recent study might help bolster my recommendation. A recent

Any Black Teachers Quitting Quietly?

Sure, they could—in theory. Any teacher can quiet quit and there is a contingency that is. I wouldn’t be surprised that within the number, there are Black teachers engaged in the practice. However, practically speaking, they can’t. Because for Black teachers, to quit quietly comes with (unintended) consequences, for themselves, for prospective Black teachers and also the students and families they serve. … and quite honestly, Black teachers that quit quietly are endanger of being fired. White

Tips for Adding Black Teachers to Pennsylvania’s Ranks

Any effort by the state of Pennsylvania Department of Education to increase the number of teachers over the next four years must be rooted in hiring teachers of color, particularly Black teachers. There are a number of things that can be done to help hire more Black teachers. The first thing is for districts to stop making excuses for why more Black teachers aren’t in the classroom. Such as no one knowing where to find Black teachers, including prospective Black teachers. Clearly, Black teacher

Why Did A Black Teacher Of The Year Leave The Classroom?

How does a teacher of the year leave the classroom shortly after receiving the honor of being named teacher of the year? Two years ago, Qorsho Hassan became the first Somali American to win Minnesota Teacher of the Year, but now she’s decided to walk away from the classroom. Her reason: burnout. Her joy for the classroom was fading and she dreaded going to work each day. Tim Walz, governor of MN told her that because of Hassan’s example, kids all over the state believe the can do anything.

The Students Got Something to Say A Review of Fugitive Pedagogy, Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching – Chapter 6

SUMMARY: Students are a product of their learning or unlearning. Chapter 6 shows that for Black students, Black schools with Black teachers teaching truth from the work of Black scholars directly impacted the work of those Black students; many of whom were key activists during the civil rights movement. Black students, with Black teachers and curricula rooted in truth from Black scholarship can fuel the next civil rights movement led by this current generation of students. I’ll never forget tha

Mentoring and Supporting Black Teachers is Professional Standard A Review of Fugitive Pedagogy, Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching – Chapter 5

SUMMARY: It’s pivotal that Black teachers receive mentorship from master Black teachers; whether formal or informal. In chapter 5, Dr. Woodson serves as both a formal and informal master mentor to Black teachers across the country through his scholarship as well as his correspondence. Dr. Woodson shows all teacher how to serve as a mentor to teachers both near and far. In addition to having a passion for teaching, a multifaceted set of skills to instruct children and knowledge of your content,

The Vindication of History A Review of Fugitive Pedagogy, Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching – Chapter 4

SUMMARY: Many students have heard lies concerning the history of Black people. But Black scholarship exists so that Black student may be taught the truth; vindicating Black people whose history is distorted in an anti-Black society. Chapter 4 shows how numerous scholars vindicated Black people through their scholarship that tells of the history of resistance and rebellion of Black people throughout the African diaspora. Who teaches Black children is a very important factor regarding their succe

Seeing With a Rigorous Sight: A Review of Fugitive Pedagogy, Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching – Chapter 3

SUMMARY: In order to provide students with what they need in the classroom, teacher must acknowledge the realities of their experiences outside the classroom. Chapter 3 serves as a helpful reminder that educators best serve Black students when they position their pedagogy to center on the experiences and history of Black people. Teaching Black students absent in acknowledgment of who they are is educational malpractice. Dr. Woodson once said, “There would be no lynching if it didn’t start in th
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