In my latest article at the Progressive, I write about my visit to the US Department of Education for their first-ever Teacher Diversity Summit:
William A. Smith calls this “racial fatigue”— the mental and physical weariness of having to navigate personal and professional spaces that often favor white people. The educational subset of racial fatigue often posits educators of color as both the problem and solution to improving failing (read: failed) schools. No wonder teachers of color are coming in at higher rates than ever before, but also leaving faster than their white counterparts. As working conditions in places like Detroit, Newark, and Los Angeles continue to depreciate, leaders continue to push educators to do more with less (and even work for nothing).
Since the advent of No Child Left Behind, we’ve seen countless instances of teacher bashing, but the coded language used against educators has particular educational ramifications. For example, the old southern strategy, a technique used by politicians to appeal to disaffected white people, has historical ties to school desegregation.
Yes, I went in. Please read and let me know what you think.