Just News from Center X – November 12, 2021

Just News

Just News from Center X is a free weekly news blast about equitable public education. Please share and encourage colleagues and friends to subscribe.

Critical Race Theory in Ed&IS

Critical Race Theory in Ed&IS

WEBINAR
Monday November 15 at 4:30 pm

UCLA Professors Daniel Solorzano, Jessica Harris, Rob Teranishi, & Tyrone Howard will address how politicians, educators, and other individuals continue to attack the use of CRT in education and its focus on white supremacy. They will explore CRT’s history and how educators adopted the theory for education, the possibilities/boundaries of CRT in education research, and form of using the theory in ways to disrupt white supremacy.

Click here for more information.

Teaching, Leading, and Social Justice

Reimagining our futures together: a new social contract for education

H.E. Sahle-Work Zewde and António Nóvoa, UNESCO

Our humanity and planet Earth are under threat. The pandemic has only served to prove our fragility and our interconnectedness. Now urgent action, taken together, is needed to change course and reimagine our futures. This report by the International Commission on the Futures of Education acknowledges the power of education to bring about profound change. We face a dual challenge of making good on the unfulfilled promise to ensure the right to quality education for every child, youth and adult and fully realizing the transformational potential of education as a route for sustainable collective futures. To do this, we need a new social contract for education that can repair injustices while transforming the future.This new social contract must be grounded in human rights and based on principles of non-discrimination, social justice, respect for life, human dignity and cultural diversity. It must encompass an ethic of care, reciprocity, and solidarity. It must strengthen education as a public endeavour and a common good.

 

Colonialism, power and race. Inside California ethnic studies classes

Melissa Gomez, LA Times

Huddled together, Culver City High senior Talaya Poindexter and her classmates considered the question at hand. What is settler colonialism? “A group of people coming into another person’s land or any space, or property or territory, and replacing their beliefs with theirs, and their traditions, and taking over their culture,” Talaya said to the group. The three others nodded in agreement. Earlier in the week, the students watched videos and read articles about the nation’s Indigenous population, including the insensitive use of their culture for sport team mascots. Just the day before, Talaya said, she read an article about how Native children were separated from their home by the U.S. government and forced to live with white families, a symptom of the legacy of settler colonialism.

Toward a Healthy Racial Climate in Teacher Education: Centering the Well-Being of Teacher Candidates of Color

Rita Kohli, Alison G. Dover, Uma Mazyck Jayakumar, Darlene Lee, Nick Henning, Eddie Comeaux, Arturo Nevárez, Emma Hipolito, Andrea Carreno Cort, Journal of Teacher Education

For decades, research has shown the pervasive racism of teacher education and its harmful impact on teacher candidates of Color. In this conceptual article, we argue that teacher education programs must interrogate how racism is embedded structurally through policies and practices that guide the various facets of the institution. We build from higher education scholarship on racial climate and “health” and teacher education research on race and racism to explore how multiple dimensions of a teacher education program (historical, organizational, compositional, behavioral, and psychological) accumulate and shape the experiences and well-being of teacher candidates of Color. We offer a model to assist teacher education scholars, administrators, and practitioners to reflect upon their current structures as they strive for a healthy racial climate responsive to the experiences and needs of a diverse teaching force.

Language, Culture, and Power

Conservatives Fight to Ban This Black, Queer Memoir State-By-State

Alex Cooper, The Advocate

Over the past several months, school districts and libraries around the country have been grappling with increased pressure from parents over what knowledge students have access to. Many of these battles have sparked around books that center on sexuality, gender identity, and race. One that’s gotten attention over its honest and real telling is All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson. Over the past few months, Blue has been reportedly removed from libraries and schools in eight states. The young adult book, which Johnson declares as a memoir-manifesto, details their experiences as a young Black queer person navigating the world as they grew up. It is composed as a series of essays.

Academic Citations Evolve to Include Indigenous Oral Teachings

Katherine Kornei, EOS

One tenet of scientific publishing is the use of academic citations—nods to what’s known or has been done before. But referencing something other than a traditional written source can feel superficial: A “personal communication” citation, for example, typically doesn’t show up in a reference list. Now, a librarian has spearheaded an effort to develop more thorough citation templates for the oral teachings often shared by members of Indigenous communities. Written sources are definitely the norm when it comes to academic citations, said Lisa White, a paleontologist at the University of California, Berkeley and chair of AGU’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee. But there’s a need to be more inclusive, said White, and to recognize that a lot of knowledge, particularly that associated with Indigenous communities, is not recorded in written form. “There’s a real rich history that a lot of Indigenous scholars bring.”

As numbers of multilingual students rises, finding teachers for them becomes a priority

Vanessa Sanchez, Washington Post

At Monarch Academy Annapolis, first-grade teachers Chelsea Massa and Shantille Stohl have a special way of teaching the class facts about the migration of monarch butterflies.

While Stohl describes the journey of the group of butterflies to Mexico, Massa interjects to incorporate Spanish words and sounds into the narration.

“This is the word ‘population’ in English,” Massa says to her class of masked first-graders, as she holds up a card with the word on it.

“And this is the word ‘población’ in Spanish,” she says, holding up a card in her other hand.

In a class where almost half of the students are multilingual learners who speak Spanish at home, an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher and a classroom teacher working together should not be unusual. Co-teaching has proved an effective way to help non-English speakers become more proficient in the English language.

Whole Children and Strong Communities

For immigrant students, bilingual mental health care is essential. Can schools meet the need?

Meghan Smith, WGBH

This year, 161 students who are new to the United States joined the Somerville school district — and the vast majority of them do not speak English as their first language, which presents an added challenge for schools returning from a pandemic year. School counselors, social workers and psychologists said having kids back in school buildings after remote learning is a step forward for addressing their mental health needs, especially those from immigrant families. But a shortage of multilingual school counselors and stigma around mental health makes it difficult to care for every student. “We do realize that this year is going to be a heavy mental health support year,” said Liz Doncaster, Somerville’s director of student services. “These students basically have been out of school for two years, so they’ve missed two years of not only academics, but two years of social-emotional growth.”

California’s Students Experiencing Homelessness: Conditions, Outcomes, and Policy Considerations

Dion Burns, Daniel Espinoza, Naomi Ondrasek, and Man Yang, Learning Policy Institute

Many experts have characterized homelessness in California as a crisis, with 28% of the nation’s homeless population and 1 in 5 of the nation’s students identified as experiencing homelessness residing in the state. The incidence of student homelessness in California has been rising steadily both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the total student population. In 2018–19, nearly 270,000 students—or approximately 1 in 23 (more than 4%)—were identified as experiencing homelessness, and these figures likely represent an undercount. The increasing number of students in California identified as experiencing homelessness mirrors a pattern seen in most U.S. states. Moreover, evidence suggests that the number of families experiencing homelessness has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic due to growing unemployment, even though identification of student homelessness decreased while schools were operating virtually.

How Deeper Learning Can Transform Schools

Andrew Bauld, Harvard Graduate School of Education

I​​f it takes a village to raise a child, how large a community does it take to transform an entire education system? That’s the question that a consortium called Deeper Learning Dozen (DLD) is attempting to answer by bringing together a dozen superintendents from districts across the United States and Canada committed to creating equitable, accessible deeper learning experiences for their students and teachers. The DLD founded by Harvard Graduate School of Education Professor Jal Mehta and educator John Watkins, Ed.D.’97, in part based on Mehta’s decade-long hunt for innovative examples of deeper learning — educational experiences where students develop mastery, identity, and creativity. “There are a lot of teachers and some great schools doing great work around deeper learning, but very few examples at the district level,” Mehta says. While they are harder to spot, there are district leaders interested in working to upend traditional learning environments, and Mehta and Watkins selected 12 to come together as a network, to share deeper learning experiences, refine new ideas, and to scale change.

Access, Assessment, Advancement

More California Latino students attending college, but ‘disturbing gaps’ remain

Betty Marquez Rosales

The number of students of Latino descent who are applying, attending, and graduating from public colleges and universities in the state has increased in recent years, but more needs to be done, according to a report released Tuesday. In a Campaign for College Opportunity report, the number of Latinos who identify as male are graduating within four years from the California State University system has doubled over the past five years from 9% to 18% and the corresponding number of females from 15% to 29%. And in 2021, for the first time, admission rates for the University of California system from these students, identified as “Latinx” in the report, are projected to exceed those of white students.

Music. Dance. Food. College: LAUSD’s First Black College Fair Combined Fun With A Serious Nudge

Jill Replogle, LAist

It was a scene unheard of this time last year: Dozens of high schoolers, all wearing protective face coverings, stepped off buses at Los Angeles Southwest College last week for Los Angeles Unified School District’s first in-person college and career fair during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event was also the district’s first ever college fair specifically geared toward Black students. According to federal data, Black students enroll in college at much lower rates than their white and Asian peers. Educators fear the pandemic will exacerbate these differences. Black student enrollment has dropped 11% since 2019, according to preliminary data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. That’s slightly more than white students and about twice as big a drop as seen for Asian and Latino students.

What’s behind the growing gap between men and women in college completion?

Kim Parker, Pew Research Center

The growing gender gap in higher education – both in enrollment and graduation rates – has been a topic of conversation and debate in recent months. Young women are more likely to be enrolled in college today than young men, and among those ages 25 and older, women are more likely than men to have a four-year college degree. The gap in college completion is even wider among younger adults ages 25 to 34. Women’s educational gains have occurred alongside their growing labor force participation as well as structural changes in the economy. The implications of the growing gap in educational attainment for men are significant, as research has shown the strong correlation between college completion and lifetime earnings and wealth accumulation.

Inequality, Poverty, Segregation

Judge: N Carolina must spend $1.75B to narrow education gap

Gary Robertson, AP

A North Carolina trial judge on Wednesday ordered the state to pay out $1.75 billion to help narrow the state’s public education inequities, angering Republicans who said the directive usurps lawmakers’ constitutional authority over state coffers. Superior Court Judge David Lee, who is charged with overseeing corrective responses to school funding litigation that began over a quarter-century ago, said the legislative and executive branches have been afforded every courtesy over the years to act decisively. But, he said, “this court’s deference is at an end at this point.”

The judge’s action likely will set up a constitutional showdown between the three government branches. Lee said his order wouldn’t take effect for 30 days, giving GOP leaders at the legislature time to appeal his decision, which is likely. Republicans who control the legislature say only the General Assembly can appropriate funds in state accounts and that Lee violates the state constitution if he acts contrary to that.

Librarians help students navigate an age of misinformation – but schools are cutting their numbers

Karen Givigan, The Conversation

School librarians hear the question all the time: Why do we need school libraries and school librarians when students have the internet? The perception is that a computer and Wi-Fi are all students need for their informational and recreational needs. Meanwhile, the number of school librarians in the U.S. has dropped about 20% over the past decade, according to a July 2021 study funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Many states, including Arizona, Texas and Pennsylvania, do not fund or mandate school librarian positions. And an analysis from the National Center for Education Statistics revealed that Hispanic, nonwhite and nonnative English speakers are the students most affected by the decline in librarian positions.

We’re Living Under the Cruelest Form of Capitalism in the World

Robert Reich, In These Times

Elon Musk’s wealth has surpassed $200 billion. It would take the median U.S. worker over 4 million years to make that much. Wealth inequality is eating this country alive. We’re now in America’s second Gilded Age, just like the late 19th century when a handful of robber barons monopolized the economy, kept wages down, and bribed lawmakers. While today’s robber barons take joy rides into space, the distance between their gargantuan wealth and the financial struggles of working Americans has never been clearer. During the first 19 months of the pandemic, U.S. billionaires added $2.1 trillion dollars to their collective wealth and that number continues to rise.

Democracy and the Public Interest

Bans on Critical Race Theory Threaten Free Speech, Advocacy Group Says

Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times

Over the past year, critical race theory has gone from arcane legal concept to potent political rallying cry, as Republican legislatures have rushed to introduce bills banning it and other “divisive concepts” in public schools. The furor over the subject has sown chaotic protests at local school board meetings, and is credited with contributing to last week’s election victory by the Republican Glenn Youngkin, who promised at nearly every campaign stop to ban critical race theory on his first day in office as Virginia’s governor. To their proponents these bills represent a legitimate effort by parents to use the democratic process to shape education. But the measures have been widely assailed by Democrats (and a few conservatives) as a threat to liberal education and to the teaching of even some of the most basic facts about American history.

The Anti–Critical Race Theory Movement Will Profoundly Affect Public Education

Daniell Kriess, Alice Marwick, Francesca Bolla Tripodi, Scientific American

The recent election of Glenn Youngkin as the next governor of Virginia based on his anti–critical race theory platform is the latest episode in a longstanding conservative disinformation campaign of falsehoods, half-truths and exaggerations designed to create, mobilize and exploit anxiety around white status to secure political power. The problem is, these lies work, and what it shows is that Democrats have a lot of work to do if they want to come up with a successful countermessage. Conservatives have spent close to a century galvanizing white voters around the “dangerous” idea of racial equality. When such disingenuous rhetoric turns into reality, the end result is criminalizing educational programs that promote racial equality. Youngkin, who pledged to “ban critical race theory on Day One,” frequently repeated this promise at his “Parents Matter” rallies across the state in the final months of the campaign.

The New Right: Conservative student political repertoires and intragroup conflict

Nicholas Harvey, EPAA

This qualitative single-site case study explores how students identifying as conservative position themselves within the discursive field of their campus, how they understand their rhetorical and discursive development in relation to their more liberal peers, and what increasing political polarization means for college campuses. I find that the differences within the conservative student group studied are stronger and more concerning than how they describe differing from their liberal peers, particularly as the conservative student group I analyzed radicalized and became overtly racist and nationalistic. This is worrisome, as my participants noted this was not “a local problem” and mentioned that this was happening at a state and national level. This reality was evidenced by the recent insurrection at the Capitol.

Other News of Note

Thinking radically in Africa must start with political education

Nanjala Nyabola, African Arguments

Ella Jo Baker was the activist behind every activist you’re likely know from the American civil rights movement. She was one of the people Martin Luther King Jr. called when he needed advice; that Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) reached out to when he needed help thinking through logistics; and that the NAACP, SNCC and SCLC coordinated with when they were planning marches through the segregated south. Baker’s influence on theories of liberation and community organising have probably influenced many of the world’s dominant protest movements today, beginning with Black Lives Matter. Yet even if you are in the US, there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of her.

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