One of the positives of being on sabbatical this year is having the time to do more reading, writing, listening and reflecting on how we can ensure more inclusive school communities where ALL members feel welcome and have a sense of belonging. We cannot create these communities without talking about systemic inequities (i.e. systemic racism) and creating actions to dismantle these systemic inequities.
As part of this writing and reflective process, I want to share some of the great books, videos, podcast episodes, and social media posts I am finding that can benefit others who share the same commitment to this critical work. The list below is the first of what I hope will be a regularly occurring publication here.
Leading Equity Podcast (Episode 266) – Why Aren’t We Talking About Eugenics in School Assessments with Dr. Byron McClure and Dr. Kelsie Reed – This episode definitely blew my mind with some of the information about the well-known cognitive and academic assessments (i.e. Stanford-Binet, SAT) that we have used in schools for decades. Dr. Sheldon Eakins’s guests for this episode were Dr. Byron McClure and Dr. Kelsie Reed, are both Nationally Certified School Psychologists who shared their insights on some of the systemic inequities that have been perpetuated in schools due to the reliance on these biased assessments. They also discussed the damage that we as educators do when we utilize deficit-based thinking and language and highlighted their new book Hacking Deficit Thinking.
Into America Podcast with Trymaine Lee (Episode 185) – W. Kamau Bell on Talking With White People About Race – In this episode, Trymaine talks with comedian W. Kamau Bell who uses his skills as a comedian to create entry points into conversations about race. Bell also references a new book he has co-written with Kate Schatz titled Do The Work! The book is a workbook for people who want to commit to actions around creating a more anti-racist world and breaking down the structures of White Supremacy Culture. The book is on order, so stay tuned for more on this! Bell describes the intention of the book as follows:
“Reading the book is not the work. The work is in understanding that the book is trying to say, unless you’re engaged in a regular anti-racism, like a process of creating anti-racism, then you’re not really doing the work. That’s the main message. So I would imagine every day if I did it, and I was like, can you tell me something you did today that created less racism in the world?”
Half American: The Epic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad- by Matthew F. Delmont – Add this to the long list of things they did not teach me (or anyone else) in school. The following quote from the Introduction to the book highlights much of the reason why:
From Life’s pictorial history of World War II in 1946 to Saving Private Ryan in 1998, white soldiers were presented as the iconic figures of the war. It’s hard to overstate the depth of the disrespect to the Black veteran whose sacrifice has been redacted from history.
Hacking Deficit Thinking – by Dr. Byron McClure and Dr. Kelsie Reed – This book was referenced above, but I wanted to share a quote from the introduction to this one as well. The following is the definition of Deficit thinking from the authors:
Deficit thinking is a distorted lens, focused on student weaknesses, that blames students and their families for student difficulties rather than acknowledging the impact of our practices and broader structural inequities.
One last resource I want to share is one that that ties together nicely with the theme of Hacking Deficit Thinking. The chart below is one that was shared on Twitter by the Due East Equity Collaborative and it highlights positive lannguage that we can use to discuss students as opposed to some of the deficit terms we sometimes fall back on.