News Roundup – Early Fall, Part 2: Resources, NHJ Media, Youth Organizing and More!

As noted in Part 1 of this roundup, a lot of great stuff has come out lately, so I decided to split things up. The first post contains all coverage related to the Little Rock Nine anniversary/school resegregation and the New York Times Magazine education issue, including coverage of the Gardendale district secession. This post includes everything else. It’s all organized below by topic, and I’ve tried to include enough detail in the blurbs to help you find what you’re looking for. As always, I hope you find something useful.

New Resources: Books, videos, courses and a new documentary

  • Black Minds Matter – An online, free public course that starts October 23rd and meets weekly in virtual sessions from 4:30pm-5:45pm PST. From the course description:
    • “Black Minds Matter addresses the experiences and realities of Black boys and men in education. The course draws parallels between the Black Lives Matter movement and the ways that Black minds are engaged in the classroom. The course will balance a discussion of issues facing Black male students as well as offer research-based strategies for improving their success.”
  • “Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education,” by Noliwe Rooks – As described in this summary, Rooks “breaks down the fraught landscape of ‘segrenomics,’ showing how experimental solutions to so-called achievement gaps – including charter schools, vouchers and cyber schools that rely on, profit from and ultimately exacerbate high levels of racial and economic segregation under the guise of equal opportunity.”
  • National Coalition on School Diversity brief- NCSD recently released a research brief on providing socio-emotional supports for students of color. Specifically, the brief uses research to “highlight successful interdistrict integration programs and the practices their leaders and practitioners have employed to create welcoming and inclusive learning environments for their students.” Here’s a 1-min video overview.
  • Anti-Racist resistance – This article talks about the importance of building anti-racist resistance within schools and includes links for doing so.
  • National Movements for Racial Justice in Education – On Wednesday, October 25th at 2pm, the Schott foundation is hosting a webinar on racial justice in education that features leaders from three national networks: the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, the Journey for Justice Alliance, and the Dignity in Schools Campaign.
  • Netflix Documentary: Teach Us All – Here’s coverage of the documentary from Chalkbeat and an interview with the producer. Really, this deserves it’s own post, but I’ll leave it for now with a note about the film from NCSD:
    • “While there is much to appreciate in the film, unfortunately we feel that Teach Us All at times presents a storyline that places blame for systemic inequalities on public school educators – a position that few of those interviewed for the film would endorse. In doing so, the film underwrites a narrative that government institutions, unions, and feckless teachers are exclusively responsible for segregation and inequality. We wish the film had instead forced viewers to confront the myriad ways in which we –the public–have neglected to commit to dismantling white supremacy and fostering an integrated society.”

Nikole Hannah-Jones

  • Nikole Hannah-Jones Podcast – Here is Nikole Hannah-Jones on the “Adam Ruins Everything” podcast, discussing the history racial discrimination in housing policy and its effect on school segregation. And, this short video (6 mins), also from Adam Ruins Everything, finds a fun, but thoughtful way, of explaining housing discrimination and includes an appearance at the end where Nikole Hannah-Jones ties housing policy to school segregation.
  • Nikole Hannah-Jones Interview – Yes – this is an hour long, but it’s also fantastic. Here’s few of my favorite excerpts:
    • “We’ve been seduced by this notion of choice, because it makes sense, right? But, it actually doesn’t…But, the very best instincts of public education are not about competition, but about ensuring that every child no matter where they come from gets a basic education that will prepare them to become citizens.”
    • Then, about 30 mins in, NHJ gets applause when she implies that it’s not up to Black families to fix segregation, and follows that up with this: “let me just say this explicitly: White folks have to fix segregation.” Exactly along those lines, Mother Jones recently took a close look at the outstanding work being done at Integrated Schools to organize White parents to opt in to, well, integrated schools. And, I was thrilled when I saw this Integrated Schools post featured prominently in an Ed Week op-ed, of all places.
  • Nikole Hannah-Jones MacArthur “Genius” Award – And, all of the above was before NHJ quite deservedly won the MacArthur “genius” award. Since then, there’s been a lot of stuff that has come out that looks back at her work. Here’s a “best of” compilation from the NY Times, a CityLab interview where she talks about the myths that preserve segregation, and a Poynter interview where she talks more about her career and influences.

Mendez v. Westminster

  • Mendez v. Westminster – This article tracks the history of discrimination against Latinx people in America, starting with the Mexican-American war. It goes into some detail on the Mendez v. Westminster case. Decided in 1947, this is known was the earliest federal case (9th Circuit Court of Appeals, not SCOTUS) to hold that school segregation was unconstitutional. And, this article covers a festival held to mark the 70th anniversary of the case, organized by the producer of an Emmy-award winning documentary about the case.
  • President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics – With so much going on, you may not have noticed that the Trump Administration has effectively dissolved the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, a group of researchers, corporate and non-profit leaders that provides research-based recommendations for improving the educational experiences of Latinx youth. The commission was first established by George HW Bush and has run for the previous 27 years through administrations of both parties. Here’s the statement from concerned members of the commission and a short excerpt:
    • “Latino youth, now representing one-fourth of all U.S. students, and by 2050 one third, are the future of America. Our fate as a nation rests in large part on the fate of these young people. We do know how to improve the future for them, and thus for the country as a whole. The Commission has offered many research-based recommendations.”

Misc

Wasn’t sure how to categorize these, but I thought they were great:

  • From law professor Derek Black, this very informative post revisits the Parents Involved decision in light of President Trump’s recent nomination of David Stras to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. Stras has previously written that is it inaccurate to “assume the constitutionality of race-conscious alternatives on the basis solely of Justice Kennedy’s separate opinion” in Parents Involved, and he added that this interpretation is “especially dangerous.” There’s a few issues here that Black discusses in detail, namely that many scholars agree that the decision did affirm the constitutionality of race-conscious school integration and that this was affirmed by in three appellate courts. And, just the fact that he may be calling the interpretation “dangerous” simply because he disagrees with it, which is horrible even if it’s expected from a Trump nominee.
  • This great, short piece outlines the racist history of the “achievement gap” term, noting “our faith in standardized tests causes us to believe that the racial gap in test scores means something is wrong with the Black test takers–and not the tests.” The article goes on from there to tie the current testing regime to the eugenics movement of the early 1900s.  
  • A quick update on a story covered in earlier roundup posts: A Brooklyn principal has been exonerated of charges that she had been using her school to conduct communist organizing (yes- that’s real, and yes- it’s happening now). The federal DOE’s Office of Special Investigations found no evidence to support the accusation, but they will levy penalties for completely unrelated things like “hiring a substitute teacher without the required authorization.” As stated by her lawyer, this investigation “an obvious pretext to hide the fact that they went after her for speaking out against race discrimination at her school.” This is the same DOE that just relaxed guidelines for investigations of campus sexual assault.
  • This LA Times op-ed by Beverly Tatum talks about the harms of school resegregation, noting that “racial isolation means that experience of ‘the other’ is too often rooted in well-worn stereotypes, rather than in knowledge nuanced by ongoing engagement. Fear and anxiety about the unfamiliar are the common result.” And, there’s been a lot about Beverly Tatum recently, because she just released a revised edition of “Why are all the Black kids sitting together in the cafeteria?” out 20 years after the original release. Here she is talking about the book on NPR (30 mins). And, Integrated Schools is reading this for their book club this month, virtual session are on 10/29 and 10/30.

A bit of good news

I want to make sure that I work in some good news whenever possible:

  • Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered that a trial be held “to decide whether the state is providing inadequate and inequitable school funding to its school districts in violation of the constitution.” So, that’s progress.
  • And, this article continues earlier reporting about how the NY Board of Regents is considering using its ESSA plan to encourage greater school integration. Some ideas include: measuring school integration as part of its ESSA plan or encouraging the merger of nearby, but racially heterogenous, school districts.

Youth Organizing for School Integration

This is an enormous topic that could easily be it’s own post or blog, but I did want to include a few things that I’ve seen recently that I thought were great:

  • The Bell Podcast – Episodes 5 and 6. Episode 5 looks at youth activist work being done on school integration, especially advocacy efforts of IntegrateNYC4Me. And, episode 6 includes testimony from students at the Teens Take Charge event. I was going to quote a few lines, but then I had too many that I wanted to include, so instead, I recommend a full listen. I’ll say this – I’m going to keep this on my phone and when I’m feeling like I’m getting nowhere in this work or if I feel my motivation lagging, I’ll listen to it again. The website for episode 6 also includes an action item that I highly recommend if you have a few minutes.
  • The Boston chapter of the Teacher Activist Group put together this list of resources for Youth Participatory Action Research. There’s lots of great stuff here.

Of course, there’s also the NCSD Conference this week – as described on it’s website is “the largest cross-sector school integration convening in the nation.” I’m unfortunately not able to make it this year, but I’m looking forward to hearing/reading whatever I can, and I will post anything relevant here. If you’re in NYC, it’s not too late to register and attend. And, if you’ll be following along from the web, the Twitter hashtag is #NCSD2017.

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