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!
One of the sources I cited in last week’s post on Critical Race Theory as sketch-noted and outlined by Sylvia Duckworth was Dr. Kate Slater. You can learn more about Dr. Slater’s work here. I find the Anti-Racist Roadmap by Dr. Slater and Mira Stern to be very helpful as it breaks down the goals for your own Anti-Racism journey into five impact areas (such as the workplace and community) and a mission statement. I sometimes feel like what needs to be done to eradicate racism in our country is so overwhelming that I can’t even find a place to begin, but this organizer is incredibly beneficial. It includes examples and resources, as well as space to type the specific actions you would like to take in each impact area. Other important elements are to consider what you will do to learn more, and who you will rely on to hold you accountable for these goals. Personally, I feel like this roadmap can help me to spend less time feeling guilty for what I haven’t done, and more time taking action. In fact, I realized that I haven’t been completely idle (though I want to do more) as I have been using my “Talents and Skills” to write these weekly anti-racist blog posts and create this public Wakelet where I have been collecting resources. If you want to do more anti-racism work, and you aren’t quite sure how to help, the Anti-Racist Roadmap could be your first step.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article that collected some thoughts on Critical Race Theory as part of my weekly anti-racism series of posts (which you can find in this Wakelet collection). Since then, I found this excellent CRT Breakdown that Sylvia Duckworth posted on Instagram. You can also access a Google Doc with the information here. I will be adding this to my original post, but want to bring attention to it for those of you who don’t happen to go back and read that one. Sylvia’s document is definitely a great place to start if you are confused about Critical Race Theory, which is often explained in complex academic language or inadequate click-bait headlines. Learn more about why teaching with this lens will help our students to analyze the past in ways that will help them to create a better future.
As AAPI Heritage Month (May) continues, I want to share this very thorough collection of Anti-Asian Violence resources. Note the ones under the heading of “Education,” as those may be of particular benefit for those of you who read this blog. There are many ways to take action, such as reporting incidents, educating people about why these hateful acts occur and how to respond, and working in our communities to prevent this violence from happening. I know that educators are carrying so many burdens these days and that it is difficult to take on “one more thing.” But as people and professionals we cannot ignore what is happening if we want it to stop. Please take a look at this resource and the others I have posted on my Anti-Racism Wakelet in order to take meaningful action against hate in all of its forms.
Along with this week’s conviction of Derek Chauvin came other tragic reminders that there is still much work to be done in our country to battle racism. C.A.R.E., the Center for Anti Racist Education, is a project that aims to arm people with the resources needed to work toward a world where Chauvin’s conviction would not only have been a certainty instead of a surprise but the deaths of George Floyd and countless others due to cold-hearted bigotry would never happen.
You can find C.A.R.E.’s guiding principles here. To learn more about what those principles mean and how to enact them, C.A.R.E. has published a four-part video series this April. Each half hour film, features a panel with four experts on antiracist education, and educators are the intended audience. The first three have transcripts and discussion guides, and I imagine the 4th one will also have those tools by the end of the month.
So far, I have only had the chance to explore the introductory video. I especially appreciated the analogy that is made comparing the antiracist education that has been done in recent years to people who want to lose weight but don’t want to risk leaving their comfort zones. “We’ve been on the treadmill for two miles per hour for 10 minutes when it deals with antiracism, when it deals with equitable history curriculum. When it deals with anything about providing equitable, uh, change in our society, we just get on that treadmill for two miles per hour for 10 minutes and think we’ve done something, says Dr. LaGarrett King, an associate professor of social studies education.
With C.A.R.E. resources like the web series and other tools, you can see a path for coaxing teachers out of that comfort zone – past semester book studies, one-off faculty meetings, and 3-hour professional developments toward a potential to make real, sustainable changes in curriculum and practices.
Use your voice to ask your campus and/or district to make a genuine and dedicated effort to eradicating racism within its system. With websites like C.A.R.E. and other resources you can find on my Anti-Racism Wakelet, there is so much that can and should be done to ensure justice and accountability for all of our community. Let’s put our heart and soul into this effort so no more time is wasted.
The Adobe Education Exchange has a page of materials that have been curated to “Learn and Create for Social Justice.” (You may need to log in to Adobe in order to access this page.) Some of the resources are from Adobe for Education, and may be designed for Adobe products such as Adobe Premiere, but there are others that come from outside organizations. Even if your district does not use Adobe, you can get ideas and adapt lessons to suit your available resources. There are also several activities for which your students can use the free version of Adobe Spark.
Creating for Social Justice is one way to empower students to take a stand against racism, bringing importance and relevance to your curriculum. For more ways to give students a voice and educate them about what can be done about inequality in our world, please refer to my Anti-Racism Wakelet, which I update weekly!