“There isn’t an educator that I know that says the work we do is easy.”
Our education system while intended to uphold equal opportunity, often also entrenches disparities by its sheer design.
In July, the NEA passed a resolution to challenge ourselves — 3 million of our nation’s educators — to discuss and fight institutional racism in our schools. We are engaging our members to dialogue and look through a clearer lens when examining policy and practice in our school systems and our communities.
Start the Conversation on Racial Justice!
3 questions to ask yourself before engaging with others on institutional racism
3 tips for engaging with others on institutional racism
According to the most recent federal data, Black girls’ 12% suspension rate is much higher than girls of any other race and most boys, and research shows that dark girls are disciplined more harshly than those with lighter skin.
“We wanted to show educators and students that Black Lives Matter is more than a hashtag—and I think we succeeded in that as well.”
“Over the years teachers observed that students placed in regular classes were branded as student who couldn’t learn. We are failing our students of color by not showing them that school is a place where they can succeed.”
“I think we’re seeing a level of social protest that we haven’t seen in a long time.”
“Never before in the country has an entire district of educators risen up to declare that Black Lives Matter.”
“I think it shows the strength, the character and the courage of our youth. Ultimately, they’re going to be needed to help make this change.”
“Teaching my students about the diverse cultures that make up America helps them see our shared humanity.”
Talking with teacher Kimberly Colbert about getting arrested and being a social justice activist.
When we say, “Black Lives Matter,” we don’t just mean we don’t want to get shot down by unaccountable police with impunity. We know that for black lives to matter, black education has to matter too.
Scholastic Inc. released a children’s book last month titled A Birthday Cake for George Washington. In words and pictures, it depicted the first president’s slaves as happy and smiling.
In Minneapolis, educators and community members won a huge victory when they successfully organized to end the use of a phonics curriculum that was filled with race, gender and cultural stereotypes.
As a middle school language arts teacher, Steven Singer understands the power of words. This holiday season, says Singer, the nasty and divisive language coming out of the 2016 presidential election about Muslims, refugees, and immigrants is getting the attention of the kids in his school, 60 percent of whom are students of color.
When Dahkota Kicking Bear Brown sees a wrong, he doesn’t wait for someone else to do something about it. He takes action. In the eighth grade, Brown saw his cousins struggling in school. He knew that Native American students have the highest dropout rate in the nation.
This was the semester the Black students at the University of Missouri had had enough. Racism was virulent on the campus, and the administration was doing little or nothing to curb it. In one incident, a drawing of a Black woman who had been lynched was tacked to Black female student’s dorm door; in another a swastika was smeared in feces on a college building wall.
It started with the inflammatory ads on the sides of buses. Millionaire Pamela Geller had purchased anti-Muslim ads for 100 city buses in San Francisco. A court ruled that for the transit authority to reject the ads would be a violation of Geller’s First Amendment right of free speech.
- Creating the Space to Talk About Race in Your School
- Educator Fakhra Shah’s lesson outline on Islamaphobia here and her presentation here.
- Protecting Our Muslim Youth from Bullying: The Role of the Educator
- The Caucus of Working Educators lesson resources used during Black Lives Matter Week of Action in Philadelphia, January 23-28, 2017
- Resources to teach about the #MuslimBan by Rusul Alrubail, an education writer and student voice advocate.