We Will Continue To Teach Black History - Even If You Detest It

The dawn of a new school year is filled with excitement, expectation and hope for educators, students and families. However, where is the excitement for Black history in America’s schools? It seems that the expectation of Black history instruction is an absence unless whitewashed and blackfaced. It equates to an atmosphere of hopelessness across the country and Black children will suffer for it. Much of the attention surrounding the war against Black history centers on the rejection of the Col

If Teachers Are So Important To Student Achievement, How Are Your Teachers Being Developed Professionally?

One thing that teachers always desire better from is their school and/or district’s professional development. There’s a lot of recommendations that teachers have concerning how to improve teacher praxis. Administrators do as well. But much of the professional development that happens throughout the year feels more like procedural instructions and compliance measures for teachers. By that, I mean presentations on logistical info, payroll, submitting lesson plans, prep period usage, and etc. The

Racists Are Running To Join School Boards! Anti-Racists Should Join Too!

The murder of George Floyd served as a catalyst for confronting racial injustice and white supremacy in the United States—yielding in a repudiation of the racist regime that was the Trump Administration during the election of 2020. That confrontation was met with a backlash that has taken multiple forms. The first being the insurrection in January of 2021. What followed was a more targeted assault on the multicultural democracy in form of voter restrictions, protest restrictions, and specifical

Your Family Celebrated You, So No Diploma For You!

Hafsah Abdul-Rahman is a 2023 graduate of the Philadelphia High School for Girls. Like all schools, the Philadelphia High School for Girls (also known as Girls High), has traditions, norms and rules just like any institution. They exist for the school day and they also exist for graduations. For the 2023 graduates, as with previous graduating classes, rules were said to them concerning audience decorum. The graduates were told to:

The Superintendent Problem

Over the years, I’ve relied on the data complied by the NJ Department of Education to do research and analysis on the realities of Black students and Black educators. Where Black educators are concerned, I’ve found information about teachers, administrators and as of recent, counselors and curriculum supervisors… never any information on superintendents. Of course, what I always found was regarding the data available to me was that Black educators weren’t the majority; white educators were.

If (When) They Ban My Book…

I have the privilege of teaching United States history to Black and Brown high school students. I can remember being a high school student and “learning” American history. The truth that I know today was taught to me then. I learned that truth outside of the K-12 infrastructure. I don’t wish to cast aspersions on my history teachers over the years; all of whom were white. I don’t believe they intentionally withheld truth from my spirit. They themselves were likely unaware of truth. I know this

Why White Teachers (People) Insist On Using The N-Word

Last month, a white geometry teacher in Missouri was placed on administrative leave for engaging his classroom with a question around use of the N-word; why use is permissible for Black people and not white people. The teacher said the following: “I don’t like the word… It feels like when a Black person is using it towards another Black person…how is it not still a derogatory word? … Is this word, ‘n—–,’ not allowed?” Hearing a white person question this very reality is not foreign to my exper

How Did An Alabama Senator, Tommy Tuberville, Get His Degree?

The first time I heard of Tommy Tuberville, he was the head football coach of the Auburn Tigers. Today, the former football coach is the United States Senator from Alabama. What’s most concerning is that he’s a racist; whether a football coach or senator, him being a racist puts Black lives at risks. Tuberville called descendants of enslaved Africans (Black folk)—specifically those demanding reparation—criminals, saying that “They want reparations because they think the people that do the crim

Memorial Day, Like Most American Holidays, Is Black History

Last month, we celebrated Memorial Day. The day is an opportunity for Americans to honor fallen soldiers who sacrificed their lives, so that the ideals on the founding documents could be perfected by those they fought for. In light of our current political climate, Memorial Day offers another opportunity. That is the opportunity to teach Black history as an essential component of the American story. As Abigail Henry so eloquently asked the question… how are you teaching Black history? If I may

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
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