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

Students Suffer Because Adults Can’t Handle the Truth

In a recent Education Trust report, researchers discovered a significant absence of racial representation in many high-quality and highly rigorous texts. This lack extended to themes, characters, and authors. According to the report, as per Ed Week: • White authors and characters were significantly more prevalent than authors and characters from any other racial or ethnic background. • Nearly half of the people of color featured in the studied books were one-dimensional, portrayed negatively, or

A Violation of the Sacred Trust

Teaching is a calling. Teaching history is a sacred trust; that is a lifelong commitment that requires continuous learning, responsibility, accountability to community, self-discipline, and fearlessness. The current climate requires teachers of history to meet the requirements of the sacred trust – especially teachers of Black history. Black history is under attack from white policymakers and white parents alike, fearful of the reorganization of political, economic, and social priorities, in a

Hispanic Heritage Month & Black Resistance

Black resistance is central to the Black experience in the United States and throughout the African diaspora. According to Herbert Aptheker, Black resistance took up eight different forms, including purchasing one’s freedom, flight to maroon communities, enlisting in the armed forces of colonial powers and the United States, and revolt or rebellion. The history of Black resistance can be found throughout American History. Because that history triggers white guilt, there is an active campaign to

Yes, We Need Black Teachers And Black Administrators. What Are Some Of The Barriers To Recruiting And Retaining Them?

We need Black teachers. We also need Black administrators. The unfortunate truth is that the needs are competing not because of Black educators, but because of the white institutional spaces that control hiring. Black teachers represent only 6% of all teachers nationwide; Black male teachers, less than 2% of all teachers nationwide. However, the percentage of Black administrators nationwide is 10%. In my home state of New Jersey, Black teachers make up 6% of all teachers, yet 15% of all adminis

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
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