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.
I initially was going to call this series of posts Friday Finds, in fact that’s what I called it two weeks ago. As I thought a bit more about this, I started to think about the word find in the context of Columbus and suddenly the word find did not seem like the best choice. So I will toss aside my fondness for alliteration and just go with Friday Shares. Anyway, here is installment two of this series…
Dr. Sheldon Eakins Leading Equity podcast.
Last week – Leading Equity Podcast – Episode 267 – A Conversation on Racial Equity and School Leadership with Dr. Decoteau Irby – Dr. Eakins hosted Dr. Decoteau Irby for this episode. Dr. Irby is a professor at University of Illinois at Chicago and author or co-editor of several books, including Stuck Improving: Racial Equity and School Leadership (Harvard Education Press) and a children’s book Magical Black Tears: A Protest Story (Derute Consulting Cooperative).
Here are a few of the many insights from Dr. Decoteau Irby’s insights into creating more schools where ALL students that were shared in the episode:
We need to allow for the conditions that allow equity to take place.
What is that collectives/groups/communities of people do to make an educational environment one that affirms black children.
We need courageously confrontational school cultures, which is different from a congenial school culture or collegial school culture because a confrontational culture is interested in rooting out.
This week – Leading Equity Podcast – Episode 268 – How to Run a Successful Book Club with Dr. Bridget Holloman – Book studies have become a common occurrence in many school districts as a way for teachers to engage in professional development about a new topic or to go deeper into a topic. In this episode, Dr. Holloman provides some specific strategies/structures that can make book clubs/studies more meaningful learning experiences which can allow them to have a greater impact on changing practices.
Sometimes the things I find out about are ones that are just new to me and this next podcast is one of those.
Scene on Radio’s Seeing White from 2017 – Scene on Radio is a Peabody Award Winning series hosted and produced by John Biewen who directs the audio program at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Seeing White is from season 2.
Here’s the intro to episode 1: “Events of the past few years have turned a challenging spotlight on White people, and Whiteness, in the United States. An introduction to our series exploring what it means to be White.”
Also, here is a little more context from episode 1 – “In the coming batch of episodes, a series we call Seeing White. Turning the lens around, looking straight at white America – and at the notion of whiteness itself. Where did this idea of a white race come from? God? Nature? Or is it man-made? And if somebody manufactured the idea, why, for what purpose? How has the meaning of white changed over the centuries, and how does it function now? The stories that we carry around about whiteness and what it means—stories we may not even know we’re carrying, but we are, all of us—are those stories true?”
This is from the book’s website – “The Persuaders is a stunning insider account of activists, politicians, educators, and everyday citizens who are on the ground working to change minds, bridge divisions, and fight for democracy.”
The stories of the various persuaders highlighted in the book are important as we try to find ways to fight the divisiveness that seems more prevalent than ever. Here’s one of the quotes that I am spending a lot of time thinking about:
“…those who wanted to change systems too often went straight to challenging them, skipping over the work of self-discovery, self-interrogation, and self-assertion. They didn’t dwell long enough on their own assumptions and experiences to work effectively to change others’ minds. They didn’t understand the constraints they placed on themselves even before the world constrained them.”
This book just published in August is perfectly timed as so many have become confused and/or fearful of Critical Race Theory (CRT). Dr. Ray, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is an expert on the topic and he breaks down CRT in a way that makes it clear what this “controversial” theory is and will leave you wondering why everyone is not explicitly educated on this.
There are so many highlights in my copy of this book and I cannot recommend it more highly. Here are three of the many:
“Critical Race Theory developed, in part, to explain why the monumental legal victories of the civil rights movement – for instance, the Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawing state-sponsored school segregation – didn’t always lead to lasting improvements for people of color in the United States.”
“Policies designed to create racial equality weren’t targeted by white hostility because they didn’t work. They were targeted because they did.”
“Multiracial democracy is a recent fragile innovation in American history. Those who think this fact has no place in our schools would – intentionally or not – hasten a return to unquestioned white dominance.”