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

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 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

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

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

Teachers Get Fatigued Too. Here's What Can Help

We’ve reached the midway point of the school year; the “dog days” of January, February, and March. This is the gritty portion of the year. There are few breaks, students are in the thick of their coursework while teachers are trying to keep students (and themselves) motivated, and for millions of students (and their teachers and parents), state assessments are looming. But as an educator, I’d be lying if I did not say that it wasn’t hard to push through. But push we must and we must continue th

The ABCs of AI: Artificial Intelligence, Biases, And Concerns for Black Students

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is all the rage these days. People are using artificial intelligence for all types of functions, including crafting resumes, analyzing data, and checking out shoppers at supermarkets. With all that AI has contributed to thus far, there’s even more that can be done. According to McKinsey’s research, we have barely scratched the surface; also suggesting generative AI could add the equivalent of $2.6 trillion to $4.4 trillion annually to the global economy.

Using Local Histories to Teach Black History

The teaching of Black history is currently under assault, and teachers, especially Black educators, find themselves on the front lines of this battle. We are often targeted simply because of the color of our skin. Nevertheless, I take pride in my Black identity, and I persevere, just as many other Black teachers do. To counter the relentless attacks by conservatives against Black history and its instruction, Black educators must adopt strategic approaches to subvert laws and policies intended

Prioritizing Black Students In Suburban Schools

When advocating for Black children, the focus is usually on Black students in the city. It’s because Black students traditionally attend schools in the city versus anywhere else. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), more Black people attend school in the city (46%) than in towns, rural areas, and the suburbs. We often forget about Black students outside the city. But updated data from NCES beckons that we pay Black students more attention outside the city.

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

Do You Know Who Your High Performing Teachers Are? How Are You Supporting Them To Get Even Better?

An important job for any educator in the classroom is to never forget the students who are exemplary academically. I remember attending schools where teachers were told to concentrate heavily on the students who were underperforming academically as a result of things going on outside of school or any cognitive challenges the student(s) may have had, or just poor prior instruction. As a result, the high performers were left to fend for themselves because they were so “smart.”

Are You Focused On Classroom Management Or Creating A Culture Of Cooperation

One of the most important foundations for having a good school year is setting the tone of the culture and the community. By that, I mean creating a classroom culture where students understand processes, procedures, and policies. But some teachers are too focused on “the rules” or students following the rules. Certainly, learning happens when there is order. But the opposite is true as well, if not more so: order is established when students learn. When teachers enter the classroom on the firs

Our Students Are Watching, But Are We Worth Emulating?

At the end of a recent school day, my principal called for a fire drill. I assumed it was just a routine exercise. However, for one of my students, it was anything but routine. As I followed our fire drill protocol, she stood right beside me, diligently going through each step and procedure as if she were a teacher herself. I could have asked her to return to the rest of the class, but I chose to let her take charge. She held our classroom binder containing the procedures and attendance list a
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