burning campfire with bright flames in nature

Battle of the Banned Books

How about that Central York School District in York, Pennsylvania where the all-white school board has “frozen” forty books and multimedia materials from being circulated in the district “until they can be reviewed?” This process began in October of 2020, yet in a virtual meeting that was held this past week on 9/13/2021, the board has doubled down and continued the prohibition of these resources. The list includes incendiary items such as a Sesame Street town hall episode about racism and biographies of Rosa Parks and Malala Yousafzai. According to parent Matt Weyant in a quote for The Hill, “I don’t want my daughter growing up feeling guilty because she’s white.”

Students in the district, which is 82% white, according to this article in the Daily Mail, seem oblivious to this horrific threat to their psyche, and are actually (how dare they!) saying things like, “‘I want to hear all of it. I don’t want everyone to be worried about how we feel because no one was worried about how BIPOC members of the community felt.’ Olivia Pituch said.”

Those naive youngsters! Don’t they know that adults are so much wiser than them? Especially white adults who have experienced the crushing tyranny of guilt all of their lives?

Fortunately, the American Library Asociation knows how to combat these gullible teenagers and any ignorant adults opposing these actions that are being taken for their protection by scheduling a Banned Books Weeks from Sept. 26-Oct. 2. Now we can celebrate the eradication of all of the evil books like the one below.

While you are holding parades in honor of the Book Banners protecting our freedom, be sure to avoid any routes with Free Little Libraries because they are about to be inundated by these nefarious books after author Brad Meltzer started a Twitter campaign so he could earn himself millions of dollars.

And be extra vigilant so your teenagers don’t surreptitiously enter the contest to join author Jason Reynolds on Facebook Live on September 28th where they can ask him anything about banned books.

If you are avoiding this battle, don’t you dare call yourself an All-American racist. You and that blue-furred illegal alien who has somehow managed to avoid imprisonment despite all of these years of blatant cookie stealing can go back to where you came from. Otherwise, get those backyard bonfires going and start raiding the libraries for tinder. It’s time to pretend America is great again!

assorted books on shelf

Two More Anti-Racism Resources

I wanted to let you know that I’ve added two more resources to my Anti-Racism Wakelet. One of them is a link to a HyperDocs blog post, where Sarah Landis shares resources that include a set of Hyperdocs for teaching students about identity. The resources are based on the Social Justice Standards from Learning for Justice, and would be a great way to begin the school year.

The other link I just bookmarked on the Wakelet is the Diverse BookFinder Tool, which was recognized as the 2021 Best Digital Tool by the American Association of School Librarians.

photo of woman reading book
Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com
photo of planner and writing materials

Stories for All Diversity and Inclusion Calendar

The Stories for All project is based on the premise that it is “crucial for all children to have access to books that serve as both windows and mirrors.” On the page that features books in many categories that serve this purpose, you can also find some free downloads. One of them is the Diversity and Inclusion Calendar, which is a wonderful way to keep track of celebrations across multiple cultures and remind us of what we can do to include those who are too often marginalized. It denotes special months, such as National Bullying Prevention Month in October and Jewish American Heritage Month, as well as days that have been set aside to honor groups, people, and events like Ada Lovelace Day or Marcus Garvey Day. This calendar would make an excellent planner for teachers to remind them of ways to make time and space for all of the diversity in their students.

I will be adding this my Wakelet of Anti-Racism resources as I reflect with sadness on the anniversary of Emmet Till’s horrific murder on August 28th. We can and must do better in this country, and education and celebration of our differences are two of the many ways we can make sure such tragedies do not happen again.

inspirational quotes on a planner
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From CRT to RCT

With all of the controversy about Critical Race Theory in the news (see this explanation if you would like to learn more), Colin Seale of ThinkLaw has recorded a video that reminds us that we are once again fixated on the wrong issue when it comes to educating our children. Instead of worrying about what information students are getting in our schools, we should be concerned about whether or not we are helping young people learn how to think independently. In other words, let’s switch the narrative from Critical Race Theory (CRT) to Raising Critical Thinkers (RCT). I don’t know one parent who would want his or her child to grow up “gullible.” So, let’s teach our students how to be curious, ask questions, look at topics from multiple perspectives, and weigh the reliability of information. Watch and read about Seale’s video here, and consider that the most oppressive governments in history have been the ones who have actively discouraged critical thinking by restricting access to information and establishing strict educational curriculums that allow for no divergence of ideas. We can make sure this never happens while maintaining the uniqueness and diverseness of our nation by raising critical thinkers.

For more Anti-Racist posts, be sure to check out this Wakelet and feel free to follow all of my free collections here.

Quote from Martin Luther King Jr. The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.
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Checking Our Bias as Educators

My good friend, John Hinds, former principal of 17 years and current leadership consultant, just published a video that I wanted to feature on the blog today for my weekly anti-racist post. Though his video does not explicitly address racism, it does encourage us to examine our own biases as he relates a story about his first tour of a school to which he had been assigned. It brings me back to a couple of books I reviewed, Talking to Strangers and Bias, in this post, and the idea that our brains are naturally wired for bias to help us bring order to our world. As many administrators and teachers are returning to work in the next couple of weeks, I think that it is important to be conscious of our tendencies to make assumptions and how those assumptions may be detrimental to ourselves and others. One way to combat this is the Bias Toolkit, which is one of the many resources you can find in my Wakelet of Anti-Racism Resources.

Teacher Checklist for Current Events

As school boards, districts, and states pile on bans of teaching Critical Race Theory in the classroom without even understanding what they are censoring, others are substituting vague language in weak attempts to disguise these racist laws. I am not a lawyer or a history teacher, but I oppose any efforts to restrain students from learning the truth and exercising their own critical thinking on the lessons that could be learned from that truth. I also think it’s important to keep things relevant in the classroom, and that means that current events should not be ignored. Facing History has a free checklist for educators to use for planning purposes when considering current events. You will need to create a free account on the site in order to download this editable PDF, which also has links to reliable news sources as well as suggested strategies to use during student discussions. Armed with this and a list of the state standards you are addressing, you can be prepared to help students make connections between the past and the present, as well as to their own personal experiences.

I will be adding this post to my Wakelet of Anti-Racism Resources. Click on this link to find more!

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay