Imagine if you asked me to be the people’s speaker at today’s commemoration of the 50th anniversary on the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Here’s some of what I would say.
“As an educator, I view the world through math, and the numbers look grim today. Unemployment still knocks the doors of too many of our poorest brothers and sisters while we lend out our collective fortune to investors who won’t invest in us. Incarceration rates have broken many a home and steered our most disenfranchised through revolving doors, ones that our country refuse to shut down. Our young people live through different justice systems, ones that depend on the color of their skin and the looseness of their threads. We are all human, all worth the skins, the minds, and the hearts that make us.”
Please read, comment, and share my speech at The Huffington Post.
Have a great weekend. If you’re gearing up for the school year, good luck!
A few notes:
It all comes down to how you teach people to fight with the tools they have. We have been fighting with the bosses’ tools. We can spend a lot of time doing legislation. I think that’s fine—have a legislative approach. But understand that you don’t control that process. We can talk about electing the right people, but ultimately, unless we have a state house full of teachers and paraprofessionals and clinicians, I don’t think we’ll get what we want coming out of state legislatures. You need to have good relationships with legislators; you need to have members get in touch and let them know what’s important to you. That’s one tool. But it’s not the only tool.
Our best tool is our ability to put 20,000 people in the street. I don’t care if one rich guy buys up all the ad space. The tool that we have is a mass movement. We have the pressure of mass mobilization and organizing.
- Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union
As we consider Martin Luther King’s legacy today and the re-inauguration of Barack Obama, Lewis’ words ought to ring true to anyone fighting for equity in this country.
Before I proceed, dozens of people from various school districts have told me that my site is blocked on their school computers. In the event that it is, you can always get my articles via e-mail by signing up on the right-hand side of this blog or by subscribing via RSS for my savvy readers, also on the right-hand side. They can block my site’s URL, but they can’t block your e-mails or your RSS reader.
A few notes:
“Yesterday, we had a nice conversation on Twitter [with regards to] experience, newbies, and challenges in teaching profession. It’s been a busy semester and what I share online is to try to bridge understanding as to what’s happening on the ground level, the ground zero of education reform, [namely] the school. So I share this: whose fault is it that a rambunctious classroom wreaks havoc on a campus? The teacher, the admin, the school, the system? We have a math/science shortage in the U.S. so we import teachers in these areas from the Philippines where [their education] system is vastly different. They arrive in South Central [Los Angeles], shell-shocked. The district mandates struggling readers to take a prescribed curriculum, READ 180.
Students are grouped together because behavior issues are strongly correlated to reading difficulties. By end of the day, kids are up to no good. The teacher new to the country struggles. [There's no money] for mentors, no money for appropriate number of admins to supervise teachers adequately, plus a language barrier. Do we expect such students to not throw chairs, not say f**k you to staff members before eight in the morning, or not throw bloody maxi pads around? So, in conclusion, experience matters, but so does a well-funded educational system, community resources to combat poverty and empathy by all.”
- Martha Infante, emphasis and brackets mine