Fall 2019 Discussion

Welcome to our current dialogue.

James Baldwin
James Baldwin

We ask that you post an initial response to one or more of these questions from October 21st-28th, 2019. Then, please respond to at least two posts to generate dialogues across contexts and experience. The dialogue period will be from October 21st-November 1st, 2019.

Recommended reading/viewing:

Read A Talk to Teachers by James Baldwin

Watch James Baldwin on Education

Review Teaching Tolerance’s Let’s Talk: Discussing Race, Racism and Other Difficult Topics With Students

You are invited to respond to one or more of these questions. (To post, please log in using a Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or WordPress account. Be sure to introduce yourself, and tell us where you’re coming from…literally and/or figuratively.) Please feel free to share experiences, dilemmas, questions, or information about particular contexts of teaching and learning (e.g., where you student teach, teach, study, or participant-observe) as you explore these prompts. You may also feel free to recommend or cite texts (e.g., articles, books, films) that may be of interest to others on a thread.

 Discussion questions

  • What are your thoughts about the following quote? What do you think Baldwin meant? How does this connect/disconnect with your own experiences in school?

One of the paradoxes of education was that precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience, you must find yourself at war with your society. It is your responsibility to change society if you think of yourself as an educated person.

  • Baldwin argues that, “any citizen of this country who figures himself as responsible — and particularly those of you who deal with the minds and hearts of young people — must be prepared to ‘go for broke’…you must understand that in the attempt to correct so many generations of bad faith and cruelty, when it is operating not only in the classroom but in society, you will meet the most fantastic, the most brutal, and the most determined resistance.” How might you consider a social justice and antiracist curriculum in the current political climate?

  • Baldwin writes very specifically about the experience of Black Americans. How do you think the experiences of other non-dominant people or groups resonate with what Baldwin has to say in his Talk with Teachers?

  • At the end of the essay Baldwin writes: “I don’t think anyone can doubt that in this country today we are menaced — intolerably menaced — by a lack of vision.” What is YOUR vision for the education of youth?

  • How does the work in your discipline or current/future classroom connect with this vision? How are you engaging (or how might you engage) daily practice towards these ends?

 

 

 

 

 

26 Comments

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  1. Hello everyone! My name is Audreanna Johnson and I am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in secondary education in the Family and Consumer Sciences field at Alabama A&M University. I have not yet began my teaching career so you can say that I am viewing things from the same lenses as James Baldwin. However, my current job allows me spend time in schools from time to time.
    I wanted to discuss Baldwin’s “go for broke” quote because I feel that is what will take place once I begin my teaching career because I know that my heart resides with students who face the most adverse situations. For me, “go for broke” isn’t about spending my personal funds to better benefit my students, which I am sure that will happen regardless. “Go for broke” means fighting my students’ rights, their voice, their potential, and everything that makes them thrive. As soon as I read the quote, I immediately thought about Mrs. Gruwell in the movie Freedom Writers because going for broke for her students is exactly what she did. She continually fought for her students, against other teachers and school personnel. She also went for broke by ensuring she could reach her students mentally by using material that she felt would help them better relate to the literature and skills the course required her to teach, challenging herself to be creative and try to understand where her students were coming from. As educators and future educators, it is evident that we will go beyond our job description but as the paradox listed above suggests, if we believe we are educated, it is up to us to help change society, and to me, that begins with empowering our youth, all of our youth. That further emphasizes why it is important that educators weigh-in on inclusion of all cultures and races through assignments and lessons that their students represent.

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    • Hello Audreanna,

      My name is Fabian Perez. I am from Paramount, California. I am attending California State University, Long Beach, to earn a single subject teaching credential in Mathematics. I like your meaning for “Go for broke.” I would also go for broke for my students. I want to give them all the tools and information necessary, so they are well educated. I want my students to be successful in whichever field they want to study. I like how you brought up Mrs. Gruwell in the movie Freedom Writers as an example. I have not seen this movie; however, I have seen the movie Stand and Deliver. The teacher Jaime Escalante seems very similar to Mrs. Gruwell. Mr. Escalante would also go for broke for his students by defending his students’ math abilities, inspiring his students to work harder, and always have high expectations for everyone. Escalante went above and beyond his duties as a teacher. I am confident that future teachers will go for broke for their students just like Mr. Escalante and Mrs. Gruwell.

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    • Hi Audreanna,
      Great post. Fighting for our students rights is absolutely important in this political and racial environment we find ourselves in today. Challenging the status quo, making sure our students have the resources to fight for themselves, that is my goal as well. I also think it is important to remember that when our minority students leave the safety of our classroom, they go out into a world that says they are not equal. We see it everyday, in the news, on our social media feeds, blacks being killed, or having the cops called on them. Latinx people being screamed at and told to speak English. I think giving students the tools to deal with such issues is important as well. It goes beyond fighting for them, but teaching them how to fight for themselves while remaining safe. Not all teachers will be the next Mrs. Gruwell. Some of us may find ourselves in well off classrooms with only a few minority races. It is important to teach everyone what it means to have a voice, but also what it means to let others have voice,

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    • Hello Audreanna,

      My name is Breanna Couffer and I am a student at California State University Long Beach pursuing my single subject teaching credential in Biological Sciences. I loved your explanation about what “go for broke” means to you, especially because I closely relate to your sense of dedication to your future students. One thing I have been thinking more about lately is how I will also make sure that I support myself and surround myself with others who support me so that I CAN support and advocate for my students to the ultimate capacity. Going into the credential program, I was ready to get to teaching so I could better the lives of young people no matter the cost! However, after observing other teachers facing major burn out and having discussions with my peers and professors about my desire to create change despite others, I have learned that the work teachers do cannot be done alone. It truly takes a village to impact young people’s lives in a meaningful way. Thank you for your wonderful contribution, I love hearing from other future teachers with the passion to make change and advocate for our future generations!

      Breanna Couffer

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  2. My name is Laura Bratisax. I grew up in an affluent, mostly white neighborhood, went to middle school at a private school, and went to high school at another, predominantly white school. What I’ve noticed just from my high school alone was the abundance of opportunities that are provided only on the basis of wealth – getting even average or above average students in University of Georgia or Georgia Tech, while students from Marietta who are much better students predominantly get sidelined into Georgia Southern or Georgia State. This is due to the abundance of AP and Honors classes available – only because of the plethora of Indian and Middle Eastern students that moved into the area bringing up the test scores.

    I would say that my education wasn’t lacking, but I’m not sure that would be completely true. Even though I’m a white student, I feel the environment of the south being predominantly Christian and Republican has led to people to scorn and mistrust Education. I think students in our systems, both public and private throughout Georgia, have either the path of avoiding college because they “don’t believe in liberal arts degrees” or students of low income who learn to feel pessimistic about their futures – feeling the system cannot be changed, and that they will never have the same opportunities as other students.

    I can see the benefits and fallbacks of both schooling, but in general there seems to be a national movement moving away Education. I think, the majority of problems with education, come from the fact that it is so underfunded and so unimportant in our society. Rural schools are failing as much as, if not more than, Urban schools – not necessarily because of institutional racism, but a larger culture that looks down upon the educated. Being educated is being stereotyped as some “angry purple-haired feminist” propaganda, and people then commit to relationships, careers, and communities not because they want to, but because they are too worried about what other people will think or if they will look down on them.

    Having the privilege of being affluent and white, I know what it is like to have so many opportunities, to be high in literacy, and to travel so many places while having little to no friends. I know as a teacher that it is my responsibility to implement multicultural pedagogy, to help students find their voices, and to emphasize social justice change. I think other people, especially those in rural communities, would be affected if they could see the benefits of socialism in maintaining the environment and education – to realize that what their children learn will benefit their lives, and that the problems other students face have merit to the issues they face. A lot of this change, however, happens within our communities – low income communities, communities of color, and the inner, metropolitan city. I would encourage people on this board to visit another country and see the benefits of socialism there, to work in urban, and rural communities. As educators, it’s our responsibility to help in the classroom, as well as the larger society in getting others to see the benefits of education.

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    • Hello,
      Thank you for sharing your background with all of us on this discussion. My name is Albert, and I am from Southern California. I want to start off by pointing out that you bring forth quite a few excellent examples of your experiences. Although a lot different from mine, it’s definitely interesting to see how everyone’s experiences shape their practices no matter where they grow up. It seems like universities throughout the nation have their preferences on where they want their students to come from, and so in your case, your high school had an abundance of wealth, which attracted some of the bigger name schools. (I mean, who hasn’t heard of the GEORGIA BULLDOGS and their dynamic football team?) The reason I bring that up is that admissions to four-year universities, at least in the city that I lived in my whole life, have been spread out to a wide variety of students. Although largely Hispanic, Garden Grove, the city I lived in my entire life, homes the largest population of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam. Mix in Pacific Islanders, African Americans, Caucasians, and other Asians, and we have a diverse city. The point I am trying to make is that all students within the Garden Grove school district have an equal opportunity to the more prominent name schools. As far as valuing education, I have encountered many schools tell their students that it is perfectly fine to get a liberal arts degree. It seems like college advisors at high schools,(and I know this because of my observations in the classrooms the past year) specifically target a liberal arts degree for their students because it’s what allows their students to have more opportunities in the future. Similar to wealth allowing more opportunities in your case, liberal arts degrees open the opportunities for students here in my area. Lastly, I am curious to know what type of responses you have received from others after mentioning the benefits of socialism in the predominantly Christian/ Republican South. Again, thank you for sharing your post and best of luck to you in your education career.

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    • Hello Laura, my name is Angela Borlasa and I am a single subject credential student of music at California State University, Long Beach.
      I too grew up in an affluent, mostly white (54%) neighborhood with a very small percentage of Hispanic (19%), Asian (12%), two or more races (6%), and Black (1%) students (as reported by the school’s SARC demographic report https://dq.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/dqcensus/enrethlevels.aspx?agglevel=School&year=2018-19&cds=30664643030574). I too see the abundance of opportunities presented in my high school, but I am not sure whether there were staff that did not believe in the high achievement (potential) of students since I did not experience it firsthand, nor did I know anyone that did. A huge trend in my community was applying to both UCs and CSUs (University of California, California State University schools) and maybe a few Ivy Leagues, but more importantly having the safety net of being accepted at the local community college. I think that the common mindset for the students and their families in my area was to go to community college for four years while working small restaurant or department store minimum wage jobs, and stay in their parents’ homes for a while until they “go to college and get a real job.”
      I do understand how rural schools may not have the resources or the support overall since they mainly expect students to come straight out of public school into the workforce. It is an unfortunate reality that there is little to no respect for higher education or belief that students will be successful in the urban and intellectual workforce.

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    • Hi Laura, I’m curious to ask, as someone who is quite frankly standing on the opposite site of the privilege scale, how multicultural literacy looks to you, and how it would be implemented in your classroom? Perhaps I’m referring to specific details in not only curriculum change, but how you will go about empowering your students. What are the needs of the children in your community? Is viewing the results of socialism enough pro activeness to insight change in your community? I only ask because as a person of color striving to be an educator, I see through my positonality the things my community lacks in my everyday experiences. The way I take decision as to how I “go for broke” in my classroom is by mending a school system that failed me. Simply, as someone with a completely background, and on the other side of the nation, I’m just curious to know how this dynamic plays in your head.
      Thank you.

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    • HI Laura.
      I liked reading your insights. Interesting, that you see education as something we look down on and encourage less and less of. I do see that education is somewhat attributed to liberals more and more these days. I wonder why you say institutionalized racism is less of an issue than the majority simply looking down on education? It is not something I have personally observed, but I can see where you are coming from. I wonder if racism and a lack of funding and information are equally problematic. It would seem to me, as A black woman coming in Los Angeles, that systematic racism runs deeper than a disdain toward education. Even if we got out to the rural communities, the urban schools, everywhere, and brought about a desire for education, we still face millions of minorities who are at a disadvantage because of their skin color, or country of origin.
      I agree that going outside our own country is highly beneficial. We can learn so much about the world if we actually go and experience it, but not everyone has the money or the time to take a trip out of country. Do you have any other recommendations for those who cannot go to other countries? I believe that information is power. Giving people everywhere the tools to ask questions and to make informed decisions is vital. There are so many benefits to knowledge. I agree with you completely in that everyone benefits from education and we need to teach them what those benefits are. Great post. Honestly, I really liked reading a different perspective.

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    • Hi Laura,
      My name is Amanda Nakasuji and I am currently pursuing a Single Subject Credential in Physical Education in hopes of teaching high school dance. While I have never been to Georgia or have much knowledge of Georgia I have a friend attending there this year for her first year so it’s nice to hear from someone over in that part of the country. I grew up in Long Beach and went to a high school that was majority Hispanic following White and African American students. My high school however, was placed in the city where one side of the school was known for being wealthy while the other side of the school was known for the opposite. The school had different pathways. One designed for going to college, taking AP classes, and being involved in many extracurricular activities in order to compete with other college applicants. While the other pathways was focused on graduating high school. Students were placed in classes based off of their pathway. As a result, there wasn’t a whole lot of diversity within my classes. The school as a whole might have had more diversity than what was seen in my classrooms and I’ve never really realized the until now. Because my particular pathway focused on college so much many of my friends went to college even if they didn’t know what they wanted to major in. I agree with your statement that people commit to relationships, careers, and communities that they might not even want to but because of being worried about what others think of them. College at my school in my particular pathway was looked as with so much prestige and was looked at by counselors as mandatory rather than based off of a choice to pursue and continue your own individual education. I personally began college with the mindset that in order to make a living in Southern California I would need to get a job that required a 4-year college degree. If that is the case, it is unfortunate that my high school only advocated college to students who were in the particular pathway and were of higher socioeconomic backgrounds. As you mentioned, we need to see a change so that all students regardless of their race, socioeconomic background, culture, etc. can be thought of with the same high standards so that if a student wants to they can pursue college because they want to rather than because of their image or lack of belief in their abilities.

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  3. My name is Tayler Rayford and I’m currently receiving my Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education at Alabama A&M. I haven’t been placed in my teaching job yet I enjoyed reading James Baldwin’s perspective. I liked it when he said quote “But children are very different. Children, not yet aware that it is dangerous to look too deeply at anything, look at each other and draw conclusions. It made me think about my philosophy of education which states every child is unique and special in their way. As a teacher, I will let my students express themselves to be whoever they want to be. Every classroom is different in its way. My goal as a teacher is to help each child create their ways of learning. I will always strive to bring a safe and nurturing environment and bring a positive attitude.

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    • Hello Taylor, my name is Joel and I attend California State Long Beach and I am too pursuing my teaching career. I agree with you on how we as future teachers need to make safe environment within our schools. We also need to let them express themselves so they can figure out what they want to be in the future. Every student is different from their culture, ethnic background, and how they view themselves and others. What I also believe the biggest impact is the teacher. I was once told that being a teacher was more than passing homework assignments and grading. Being a teacher is also being a counselor and a parent to the student, try to understand them so they can understand you, then teaching you come to be easy.

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    • Hi Tayler, my name is Kattia and I attend Cal State Long Beach. I too am an aspiring teaching undergoing their single subject credential. I agree that every student is different and learns in unique ways, however I feel as though it is also important to acknowledge and come up with ways to aid these students in more specific ways? I’m glad you strive in providing a safe and nurturing environment, but considering today’s polarized racial/political climate I’m curious how you plan on maneuvering those spaces. How will you build that rapport with your students and even be able to reach that level of “safe space”. To me, getting to that point of trust within a student and a teacher that inhibits discussion of grander scale things requires work and patience. Requires teachers to be student-centric and attempt by all means to understand not only a student’s school life, but how they’re dealing with things at home. Understand that they have a life outside your classroom, and how it may be completely different than yours and mine. I’m glad you took interest in James Baldwin’s work. I’m wondering what are the needs of your community, and how you attempt to work around them.

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    • Hi Taylor,
      I’m Allison. I go to Cal State Long Beach, in their English credential program. What a great teaching philosophy you have! Every child is different, with different learning styles and experiences. I wonder what your thoughts are on the racial issues that your students will face. Young children will see injustices that they may or may not understand. Since I am single subject, my goal is to teach middle and high school students. With a degree in Early Childhood education, how might you tackle race issues with younger kids? I’m truly curious as I have never thought about what age we should address these issues. Can a child be too young to face such content? But as Baldwin said, these young boys and girls see a difference between how brown, black, and white skinned people are treated. They see that they are treated differently, assumed to be bad when they have done nothing? Great post, great perspective, Taylor.

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    • Hello Tayler,

      My name is Breanna Couffer and I am student at California State University Long Beach pursuing my single subject teaching credential in Biological Sciences. I agree that students are all “unique and special” as you put it. I am curious to know more about your philosophy that emphasizes this in great detail, as my own philosophy stresses greatly the concept of incorporating humanness into education with the understanding that our students are people first and pupils second. I was troubled by your use of the phrase “I will let my students express themselves” and wonder if you meant something like “I will encourage…”. Students expressing themselves is their fundamental right, and – as teachers- it is our responsibility to not impede upon that right and to specifically provide them with resources that encourage the fulfillment of said right. I would also love to know more about how you plan to “help each child create their ways of learning” and what exactly you mean by this. Is that goal meant to state that you will individualize your students’ education by paying particular mind to their learning styles and preferences? In addition, I would appreciate hearing your perspective on what a “nurturing environment” and “positive attitude” would look like for you in your classroom in particular.

      Breanna Couffer

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  4. Hey! My name is Allie Crook and I am in Huntsville, Alabama. I am getting my Masters in Secondary Special Education at Alabama A&M University. The question I will be answering is the last one about how my current classroom connects with this vision.

    I am currently a 6th grade special education teacher at a Middle School in Decatur, Alabama. We have a high population of African American and ELL students. I love the things that Baldwin states as his vision. I have students tell me daily that they cannot do something or that they are not worth anything because of what they look like. The reality of it is that life is not fair, and this world is not fair. As an educator, it is my responsibility to equip my students with the tools that they need to be a successful member of society when they are done with school. Talking about the ugly and discussing the bad that is happening now, has happened in the past, and will continue to happen in the future is something that has to be done. Baldwin discusses media and movies in his vision. He states that those are fantasies that very ill people made up. We can not let our students think that what they see in movies is their reality. It is not real. My students as individuals have the right to examine everything that they do, they are not bound to what higher up says and by what word press and media put out there. My classroom has a very open climate too it. My students are active learners in their education process. I always want for them to be comfortable with who they are. As a special education teacher I know that not all my students will go to college, I mean cognitively they cannot. I am preparing them for the world and everything that the world is going to throw at them. Baldwin speaks a lot about respect, and I agree the most with that. My students know that they are loved and respected at all times and my only hope is that from em showing them that and from me having those difficult conversations and learning moments with them, that they will learn to love and respect others that are not the same as them. It is the only way our nation will survive. Out of many different people and many different backgrounds, we must become one.

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    • Hello Allie,
      I am sure you are doing a great job as a 6th grade special education teacher. My name is Albert, and I am from Southern California. Similar to your interpretation of Baldwin’s quote, I also love to see the things he said to keep in mind for education. It’s interesting to see how you implement an open climate classroom so that students really feel that who they are is perfectly fine. And you could have not done it better than in a special education classroom. I thank you for that. For someone like me who is still taking courses in education and not yet a teacher, I juggle with the question of how my classroom environment will be. I think, and by far, the best option is to have an open climate classroom so that all the children feel welcomed and respected for who they are. At the end of the day, it’s a lot easier said than done. It will be challenging, but I believe that it would be the best way of having a deep impact on my students. I really hope you continue to place that respect on your students and you continue to make an impact in your community by creating a community of learners in your classroom.

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    • Hi Allie, I’m Angela. I’m currently a music teacher credential student at California State University Long Beach and I teach private and group music lessons. It is indeed heartbreaking to hear the ways that the unfair world and society have treated our students and greatly affect the way they think about themselves and perceive their capabilities. I agree that our duty as teachers is to help students realize the magnitude of their worth and that they can effect change by becoming educated on the many issues that are difficult yet important to discuss. Bringing up these discussions is something that should be thoroughly planned and scaffolded so that students do not end up miscommunicating their thoughts or hurt each other with their differing opinion. Taking these challenging discussions step by step as outlined in the “Teaching Tolerance” curriculum may help diffuse many opinions effectively and safely. Preparing your students to the best of your ability emotionally, practically, and educationally for the real world beyond the safety of the K-12 education system and teaching students the necessity of compassion, respect, and understanding is the key to being able to connect with others of different backgrounds and become one thriving society. Most movies and other media usually only show the one inspiring class that affects change, but in reality, it is many arduous and challenging classes over a period of time, with just the right timing and the right people around, with a great amount of persistence, that actually make change happen. Not many people are willing to commit to “going for broke” in that full sense, so I hope that we as educators can stick together and “fight the good fight,” as I hear many practicing and retired teachers tell me.

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    • Hello Allie,

      My name is Fabian Perez. I am from Paramount, California. I am attending California State University, Long Beach, to earn a single subject teaching credential in Mathematics. What is your response when your students say they cannot do something? Since I plan on being a math teacher, I expect students will tell me phrases like, “I am not a math person” or “I can’t do this.” I want my students to have a growth mindset. Thus, I will respond to them with, “It is ok that you don’t understand the content yet. You will understand if you continue to work hard and study. I can help you during office hours if you are willing to spend extra time to master the content.” Like you, I also want to give my students the tools/knowledge to be successful in society. I want to teach both the theory and applications of mathematics so students can use math efficiently in their future career choice. I like how you said, “Talking about the ugly and discussing the bad that is happening now, has happened in the past, and will continue to happen in the future is something that has to be done.” This is how critical multiculturalists see education. I believe it is important for us as educators to enact the vision of critical multiculturalists so we can inform students about obstacles they will face and to inspire them to overcome these obstacles to reach their goals.

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    • Hello Allie, my name is Joel and I attend California State Long Beach and I am pursuing my teaching career in Physical Education. I agree on how you and what also Baldwin said that the BAD is happening now. I also like the fact that you said even though you know some of your Special needs students will not attend college because of their cognitively aspect, but simply you are preparing them for what the world will throw at them. That is another crucial aspect that us teachers should implement in our curriculum. We should also implement goals such as students will meeting the four different learning domains, which are cognitive, psycho-motor, affective, and health-related fitness. Lastly, teach students self-discipline and leadership to work well and interact with others in a safe and healthy environment to increase and to improve affective skills.Furthermore, I like how you try to encourage and motivate your students as much as you can and also not let them think of whatever they see in the movies should be based off their reality. Keep on the great job that you are doing.

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    • Hi Allie,
      I really enjoyed reading your post. One thing that really stood out to me is the importance you see of “talking about ugly and discussing the bad that is happening now, has happened in the past, and will continue to happen in the future is something that has to be done.” Not only for all students but even among students in special education classes. Many times when people think about inequality, I think most minds turn to thinking about race and socioeconomic status, but really students in special education go through feelings of inadequacy and injustice as well. However, it is so nice to hear that you help your students to feel and know that they are loved and respected. That is something I want to implement in my classroom as well. As you also said, life is not fair and neither is our world, but as teachers we can help out students understand why that might be but then more importantly help them to know that they are respected and loved even if the world may not treat them that way yet.

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    • Hi Allie,
      We have the same name! You have some wonderful insights here that I truly appreciate. The world is not fair. And talking about the ugly helps us to process it. I think you are doing powerful work to help students deal with this reality. I was just talking with some friends about what should be done to deal with the current political and racial environment we find ourselves in. Your posted said far more eloquently some powerful ideas than I managed. Giving students the tools to thrive outside of schools has always been my goal and it makes me so happy to see that it is your goal as well. Because, yes, what we see in the media is not reality. No one is their stereotype. I struggled because as a black child, I saw no representations of people who looked like me. it was a hard concept to grasp. Why was my hair different? Why is this person following me in the store when I already said I did not need anything? I had no tools to utilize in those situations. It only came with experience. But a lot of anger stirred in me as well because I had no tools with which to understand my world. I commend you on your teaching style. Beautiful, powerful, goals. I loved reading your take.

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    • Hello Allie,

      My name is Breanna Couffer and I am a student at California State University Long Beach pursuing my single subject teaching credential in Biological Sciences. It is very admirable and encouraging that you are having tough conversations with your students about society being unfair. Resilience is an important quality to teach to our students in today’s climate- of which often encourages the “narrative of the individual” as Landson-Billings coins it in their article “The Problem with Teacher Education”. Our modern society places a very heavy emphasis on components like “grit” and the concept of individuals themselves be solely responsible for their successes (rather than accepting the fact that our opportunities vary based upon a variety of factors especially those pertaining to human connections- of which can be affected by a multitude of individuals biases). I would love to know more about the specific ways in which you promote your students understanding of resiliency as well as bias in facing a tumultuous and often “unfair” society. Do you also concurrently give them tools to become “societal disrupters” in order to cease the perpetuation of the inequity you teach them about? This concept is something we’ve been discussing in great detail in our intercultural education course and I’m eager to hear of more real-life examples of this.

      Breanna Couffer

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  5. Hello my name is Elijah Taylor. I am a p.e. teacher at Arrington Elementary School. In response to the quote from James Baldwin “One of the paradoxes of education was that precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience, you must find yourself at war with your society. It is your responsibility to change society if you think of yourself as an educated person. In the black community it is definitely a war zone trying to teach the youth. The war zone starts with students needing to know the basic essentials to be able to move to more complex skills but due to the negative teachings of the community its hard for the students to stay focus and have a interest in the materials taught.
    Baldwin states, “Presently, if what I have attempted to draw has any legitimacy, it turns out to be altogether clear”. Any African American who is conceived in this nation and experiences the American instructive framework risks getting schizophrenic. From one perspective he is conceived in the shadow of the stars and stripes and he is guaranteed it speaks to a country which has never lost a war. He promises faithfulness to that banner which ensures “freedom and equity for all.” He is a piece of a nation wherein anybody can become president, etc. Yet, then again he is likewise guaranteed by his nation and his compatriots that he has never contributed anything to development – that his past is simply a record of embarrassments happily persevered through.”. This statement was past ground-breaking to me, pondering my encounters. Baldwin is alluding to African Americans. As an American resident, we are guaranteed to be dealt with and be given a similar quality wellbeing and instruction as those from a dominant part race. Alluding to what Baldwin states in his article, it appears as though I have the commitment to speak to my nation and add to it. As it were this is the thing that we are instructed since we are youthful and when we start school. Amusingly, in our schools we are never intense how our predecessors added to the nation, our history, we have frameworks like the school to jail pipe line, and our guidelines are brought down. Proceeding with this, similar to Baldwin expresses, our very own nation guarantees that we have a reasonable vision of the pessimistic and undesirable point of view towards our kin. Instances of this is by corrupting us through infringement, expulsions, naming us as attacker, culprits, and treating us like such. Including this up we have inconsistent treatment, inconsistent rights, inconsistent training, and social stratifications, among numerous different things. It appears to be an exposition change to adjust an antiracist and social equity educational plan. On the off chance that we fuse an equivalent vison all things considered, show understudies their history, and treat them like individual we can begin moving towards a positive change to our general public. A lot of this has to do with our approach making and changes. In “Administration and Finance of U.S. Schools” Parkay states, “Educational committees assume a basic job in the U.S. training framework. Anyway educational committees have been censured for not instructing themselves about instructive issues… ” (187). In the event that those in more significant position authority than us, are making changes in our schools without recognizing what the issues are makes an insult to instructors and understudies. In the event that government officials don’t comprehend that we have to included culture so as to enable full scale our understudies, at that point there will never be a change. Policymakers outline answers for instructive issues dependent on business or showcasing systems. In the event that our understudies are viewed as something different other than understudies, as a general public, we will never get passed social stratification and imitating a similar social class.

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  6. My name is Allison Beemer. I’m a student a California State University of Long Beach, working on my teaching credential in English Language Arts.
    There’s a lot to unpack here. Alex Baldwin makes some powerful points in terms of education and racism. As a Black American myself, I identified a lot with Baldwin on the paradox of the black child and the school system. I remember the lack of representation for Blacks in every piece of literature, in the faces of my own teachers, in the way I was treated. The most important thing for any student of color is representation. Seeing people who look like us, overcoming, and triumphing against the impossible, against the regular, can impact young minds It is hard when the only people of color a child sees in movies and books is slaves, maids, and villains. It is even harder when we are taught that the only ones who can be the hero are generally white males. Because of how racial our political world today, I would introduce real heroes of color into the curriculum. And not just the typical heroes like Harriet Tubman and Fredrick Douglas. There are heroes of color spanning all of history, into the modern world. It does not just have to be Black protagonists, there are First Nations stories, Latinx, Asian. The list is long. Within the non-fiction and the fictitious, there are stories revolving around races from all over the world. Why limit our students to one trope?
    My vision for my students is a curriculum that does not give answers but instead gives students the chance to ask questions. I have no real answers. Only what my own experience can bring to the table. What better way to learn than to let students share who they are with one another? I want to bring humanity back into the classroom and create a place of critical thinkers. If I do my job right, my students will read text to text, text to self, and text to the world, always questioning before concluding.
    The hardest part about our current world is the plethora of information. You can pick a side of any argument and find information to back it up. I have been working to learn the different paths of information available to students. Where are they most likely to go to get answers? How valid is that source? Teaching students about biases, propaganda, and reliable sources is so important. We can only know what we know until we are given a voice tools to ask questions that challenge the status quo. Every day I read the headlines of different newspapers. I underline trigger words. I try to understand how media is working to sway me one way or another. I check multiple sources regarding the same topics. All this in preparation for teaching my students to do the same. Racism can be blatant, or it can be subtle. It presents itself in all aspects of life. But we can change that narrative. Our students have the power to change that narrative.
    For me, all students matter, all students can learn no matter the disability or the color of their skin. All students have questions worth asking, and I believe it is my job to give them tools to explore those questions to find the answers for themselves.

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  7. I think his quote means that educated people has the advantage of a clearer vision. Their education enabled them to examine matters critically and with this clearer vision a message must be delivered to the society. Any society wouldn’t accept the notion of changing an ideology they have been cherishing for a long period of time. A change that asks societies to investigate matters from different perspectives would be most likely rejected. This challenge is as hard as a war; you either win or lose. The responsibility of educated societies falls on the shoulders of educators. This quote disconnects with my practicum experience as I’m asked to adhere to a curriculum that doesn’t relate to my African American students. The curriculum enforced in our school serves the purpose of passing the Georgia Milestones tests only. The curriculum was created with huge neglection towards diversity. All the texts provided within it surrounds white people; characters names, activities, food etc. “looking at the society which has produced him, … this structure is operated for someone else’s benefit – not for his.” (Badlwin, 2). Though this article was written around the 40’s, I find it very odd that such curriculum is in enforced in a school that 98% of its students are Black!

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