Tag Archives: social justice pedagogy

“Voices of a People’s History,” 10th anniversary edition features testing resistance & MAP Boycott!

Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove’s updated primary source companion to A People’s History of the United States includes Amber Kudla’s anti-standardized testing graduation speech and Jesse Hagopian’s reflection on the Seattle MAP test boycott.

Since its publication in 2004, Voices of a People’s History of the United States has played a vital role in my classroom—not only revealing the voices of social justice from the past so often choked into lifelessness by the standard issue corporate textbooks, but also inspiring my students to take actions of their own. Over the semesters and over the years, I repeatedly point students towards this collection of primary sources when they want to understand the ideas that helped propel social change: Bartolome De Las Casas’ “The Devastation of the Indies;” Tecumseh’s “Speech to the Osages;” Fredrick Douglass’ “What to the slave is the forth of July;” Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?;” Eugene Deb’s statement to the court upon being arrested for speaking out against WWI; Helen Keller’s “Strike Against War;” Billie Holliday’s “Strange Fruit;” Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War;” Malcolm X’s “Message to the Grassroots,” and many others.

One of the many great actions that students at my school participated in was the 2013 boycott of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test. When teachers announced that year they would refuse to give thescrapmapsea deeply flawed MAP test, the student government voted unanimously to support that boycott. When teachers wouldn’t give the test, the school district decreed that the building administration would have to pull students out of class and march them off to the computer labs to take the test. It was then that students staged a sit-in—in their own classrooms!—refusing to have their class time wasted by a test that was not relevant to what they were learning in class.

I am at a loss for words to describe what it means to me that the newly updated, 10th anniversary edition of Voices of a People’s History of the United States, includes my essay reflecting on the meaning of the MAP test boycott and how it has contributed to an uprising for education justice around the country. It is also beyond words that Voices includes a speech by Amber Kulda, a young women I came in contact with through the editing of my book, More Than a Score: The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing. Amber was the valedictorian of her class and was asked to give the graduation speech. She tried to get out of it, but the principal wouldn’t let her. So she used the occasion to deliver and uproariously funny and deeply moving address about why she wasn’t the smartest person in the class just because she had high grades and test scores—and why our society needs to think outside the bubble test.

Those in the movement to defend our schools from the corporate education reformers should read these essays on education justice in this new addition of Voices; but if you want our movement to win—to truly defeat the testocracy once and for all—you should read all the entries in the book to develop a political analysis of how war, racism, sexism, homophobia, capitalism, and other interlocking systems of oppression degrade our world and our education system. Then you raise your own voice!

Below is the announcement for the book:

10th anniversary edition of Voices of a People’s History also includes many of my modern day heroes, including contributions from war resister Chelsea Manning, climate and economic justice advocate and author Naomi Klein, the immigrant rights activists Dream Defenders, and the unparalleled journalist Glenn Greenwald.

Paralleling the twenty-four chapters of Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, Voices of a People’s History is the companion volume to the national bestseller. For Voices, Zinn and Arnove have selected testimonies to living history — speeches, letters, poems, songs — left by the people who make history happen but who usually are left out of history books. Zinn has written short introductions to the texts, which range in length from letters or poems of less than a page to entire speeches and essays that run several pages. Voices of a People’s History is a symphony of our nation’s original voices, rich in ideas and actions, the embodiment of the power of civil disobedience and dissent wherein lies our nation’s true spirit of defiance and resilience.

Here in their own words are Frederick Douglass, George Jackson, Chief Joseph, Martin Luther King Jr., Plough Jogger, Sacco and Vanzetti, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Mark Twain, Paul Robeson, Cesar Chavez, Leonard Peltier, June Jordan, Walter Mosley, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, Yolanda Huet-Vaughn, and Malcolm X, to name just a few of the hundreds of voices that appear in Voices of a People’s History of the United States, edited by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove.

The 10th anniversary edition will feature new voices including whistleblower Chelsea Manning; Naomi Klein, speaking from the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Liberty Square; a member of Dream Defenders, a youth organization that confronts systemic racial inequality; members of the undocumented youth movement, who occupied, marched, and demonstrated in support of the DREAM Act; a member of the day laborers movement; and several critics of the Obama administration, including Glenn Greenwald, on governmental secrecy.

“This is a test”: Educating to End the School-to-Grave-Pipeline in Ferguson and Beyond

“We were at graduation, me and him, and we were talking. He said he wasn’t going to end up like some people on the streets. He was going to get an education.”

Hershel Johnson, a friend Michael Brown’s since middle school.

MikeBrown_CapGown

Graduation portrait of Michael Brown from Normandy High School in Ferguson County, Missouri.

In the wake of the police murder of the unarmed 18-year-old African American high school graduate Michael Brown, and the ensuing uprising of the people of Ferguson, the Ferguson-Florissant School District announced classes would not resume for the school year on Aug. 14 as planned, and as of today, school is still not in session.

The unrest between police and protesters prompted Gov. Jay Nixon (D) to declare a state of emergency in Ferguson and then impose a curfew. Comedian John Oliver described Gov. Nixon’s curfew announcement as “patronizing,” and charged him with speaking in the tone of a “pissed-off vice principal” attempting to further restrict the freedom of the people of Ferguson. Oliver’s school analogy may have been prompted by Nixon’s statement that,

“…to protect the people and property of Ferguson today, I signed an order declaring a state of emergency and ordering implementation of a curfew in the impacted area of Ferguson… But if we’re going to achieve justice, we must first have and maintain peace. This is a test.”

For all of his authoritarian scolding, Gov. Nixon is correct about one thing: This is a test. But it isn’t one that will be scored accurately by a police force or a political class that sees itself as above the law.

Ferguson, like cities around the nation, has plenty of problems of race, class, and education to choose from. The schools in Ferguson—like to many districts across the nation—are still separate and unequal. 77.1 percent of the students in the Ferguson-Florissant School District are black, and some 68 percent of white students who live in the district attend schools outside of the district. Black students make up a disproportionate 87.1 percent of students without disabilities who receive an out-of-school suspensions, according to 2011-12 data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection. And the black youth continue to be targets when they leave the schoolhouse and enter the streets.  Last year, black residents accounted for 86 percent of the vehicle stops made by Ferguson police and nearly 93 percent of the arrests made from those stops, according to the state attorney general. FBI statistics show that 85 percent of the people arrested by Ferguson police are black, and that 92% of people arrested specifically for disorderly conduct are black.

The city of Ferguson is 67.4 percent black and 28.7 percent white, yet five of the six city councilmembers are white and six of seven school board members are white.   The first African American Superintendent of the Ferguson-Florissant School District, Dr. McCoy, was forced out of his position in March by the then all white school board. Normandy High School, the alma mater of Mike Brown, has a poverty rate of 92 percent. As Daily Kos related,

“The grinding poverty in Mike’s world only allowed Normandy High School to acquire two graduation gowns to be shared by the entire class. The students passed a gown from one to the other. Each put the gown on, in turn, and sat before the camera to have their graduation photographs taken. Until it was Mike’s turn.”

“Career and college ready” are the new buzzwords in the education reform world and every teacher certainly hopes their students achieve these personal successes. Yet to limit education to only these puny goals is to extinguish the true power of education. Education must also be in service of transforming our very troubled society.

Mike Brown was to have started attending Vatterott College on August 11, two days after he was killed, exposing the fact that the work of educators to help students achieve a diploma means little if our society succumbs to lawless police who gun down our unarmed children in the street. Many black youth have had their caps and gowns snatched from them and replaced with orange jumpsuits, as students are funneled into what is commonly called the “school-to-prison-pipeline”—a series of interlocking policies such as zero tolerance discipline and high suspension rates, overbearing police presence in schools, and high-stakes exit exams required for graduation. But increasingly it appears police are intent on constructing what I guess we now must term the “school-to-grave-pipeline”— a series of interlocking policies such as giving police weapons designed for war zones, the disproportionate policing of areas frequented by black youth, and incentivizing police to shoot black people by not arresting them and giving them paid leave when they do. The school-to-grave-pipeline is not only a problem in Ferguson.  Nationally, a study revealed that a black person is killed by police somewhere in the United States every 36 hours. When there are witnesses, or when onlookers are able to capture these murders on a cellphone camera, we get to hear about their case; people such as Eric Garner, Ramarley Graham, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, and many others. Yet too often, black people are shot down by police and discarded with little attention.

If education is not dedicated to empowering our youth to solve the problems they face in their communities, in our nation, and in our world, then it isn’t really an education at all—it is an indoctrination designed to reproduce oppression. As Richard Shaull explains in the forward to Paulo Freire’s masterwork, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, “Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”

The way you know that those who control the education system—the many corporate style education reformers who push high-stakes testing and standardized curriculum—are not actually interested in nurturing black youth, closing the achievement gap, or supporting education that undermines oppression, is that you won’t hear any of them publicly defending Michael Brown or calling for the arrest of his murderer, Darren Wilson. (Or maybe Bill Gates, Arne Duncan, and Michelle Rhee carpooled and got lost on their way to the rally in Ferguson?). On the issues that most deeply affect the lives of African Americans—mass incarceration, police terror, unemployment, housing discrimination—these education reformers and officials have nothing to say, content to prattle on with the exhortations about “accountability,” “career ready,” “21st century education,” and other hollow pronouncements devoid of the social supports that would make them a reality.

Thankfully, educators in Ferguson and around the nation are rising to the challenge of redefining the purpose of education with the intent of building a more just society in wake of the killing of Michael Brown. On August 17, Dr. Marcia Chatelain tweeted a call for resources for parents and educators to talk to young people heading back to school with the hashtag #FergusonSyllabus.  People from around the nation began collecting and retweeting articles, books, videos, and photos to aid educators in lesson ideas that engage students in a critical dialogue about the meaning of Michael Brown’s death and the mass uprising it has inspired.

Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D (@JackieGerstein) tweeting with #FergusonSyllabus, wrote:

 

And Caryn Riswold (‏@feminismxianity) tweeted:

Some of the best lessons ideas shared on #FergusonSyllabus include a link to the video, “Race the House We Live in”, about redlining and housing discrimination, a Rethinking Schools lesson on teaching about The Murder of Sean Bell (a young African American killed by New York City Police), Christopher Emdin’s essay, “5 Ways to Teach About Michael Brown and Ferguson in the New School Year,” and Teaching for Change’s, “Teaching About Ferguson.” Any teacher of American history or civics would do well to discuss Amy Goodman’s essay, “The ghost of Dred Scott haunts the streets of Ferguson,” outlining the case of the slave (buried just down the street from where Mike Brown was killed) who took his case for freedom to the Supreme Court, which subsequently ruled that African Americans had, “no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

National Public Radio ran a story on August 19th, “Ferguson Teachers Use Day off As Opportunity for Civics Lesson” where they reported, “So this morning, instead of being in the classroom, 150 area teachers took part in some unusual professional development: picking up broken glass, water bottles and tear gas canisters from the street. “It says ‘Defense Technology’ on it,” says social studies teacher Arthur Vambaketes, showing off a busted canister from his trash bag.”

When the schools reopen in Ferguson, teachers would do well to close up the jingoistic textbooks, discard the bubble tests, and ask students what they think about the fact that our nation spends more on “defense technology,” militarized policing and mass incarceration than on education. It might not be on the new Common Core exams, but the killing of Michael Brown is a test for our nation’s schools nonetheless.

As I prepare to head back to the classroom, I pledge to Michael Brown and his family that I will do my best to foster a classroom that allows for the emotional intensity and critical dialogue vital to achieving a world that puts institutional racism in its final resting place and gives our black children a bright future.

—-

Jesse Hagopian is the editor and contributing author to the forthcoming book (available for per-ordering), More Than a Score: The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing. Jesse teaches history and is the co-advisor for the Black Student Union at Garfield High School, the site of the historic boycott of the MAP standardized test.  Jesse an associate editor for Rethinking Schools magazine, a founding member of Social Equality Educators (SEE), and recipient of the 2013 “Secondary School Teacher of Year” award from the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences. Follow Jesse on his blog at www.iamaneducator.com or on Twitter: @jessedhagopian

Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality: Support the publication of this new book for educators

20140401141350-rsgs_sqsmVIDEO: Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality

Supporters of social justice education will be thrilled to learn that Rethinking Schools is currently working on a new book, Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality. In order to put this invaluable tool in the hands of educators, we need your support. Please consider donating to this book project.

From Rethinking Schools:

Help us publish this awesome book!

This book was born a few summers ago when Jody Sokolower, Rethinking Schools’ managing editor, and RS editor Melissa Bollow Tempel sat down in Jody’s kitchen to discuss an article Melissa was writing. “It’s OK to Be Neither” is the story of Melissa’s growth as a teacher when Allie, a student who is gender nonconforming, joined her class. Until then, Melissa had not realized how customs like lining up by girls and boys could create problems for students who do not fit neatly into the female/male binary.

“It’s OK to Be Neither” really struck a chord. As Melissa tells it, “We never dreamed it would be shared more than 45,000 times on one blog alone.” Allie is not unique. Gender nonconforming kids are in schools everywhere, and teachers want to know how to support them.

Gender identity is just one of many issues addressed in Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality. The book includes sections on:

  • creating safe and nurturing classrooms
  • coming out at school as a teacher or student
  • integrating feminist and LGBTQ content into curriculum
  • moving beyond the classroom to school and community
  • teacher education

Want to check out a sample article or two?

Download these article PDFs for a sneak peek.

Jam-packed with thought-provoking articles by teachers, parents, and students

Jody and Melissa are working with three other wonderful editors—Kim Cosier in Milwaukee, Jeff Sapp in Los Angeles, and Rachel Harper in Chicago—and dozens of inspiring, dedicated teacher/writers.

We know that Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality will be an amazing resource for everyone working to change attitudes and strengthen communities so our schools will be safe and supportive places where all kids can learn.

Support students, teachers, and families

Won’t it make you feel good to know that your dollars empowered a teacher to speak up in defense of a lesbian student at a staff meeting? Or supported a teacher as he decides whether to come out to his students? Or helped a big sister who pretends she doesn’t know her gender nonconforming little brother?

Your contributions will fund the production for this amazing book. That means copyediting, proofreading, and indexing; art direction and layout; printing and distribution.

Join our campaign today! Tell your friends!

Besides feeling good about making the world a better place, you can also earn some cool perks for donating:

  • A sticker depicting our beautiful book cover
  • Subscriptions to our award-winning magazine
  • Copies of the book
  • Acknowledgement in the book of your generosity

 

On the one-year anniversary the historic MAP test boycott, teachers launch campaign in the upcoming Seattle Education Association (SEA) union election.

MastheadToday, I am excited to announce that I am entering the election to run for president of my union, the Seattle Education Association.  It is truly an honor to have been nominated to run for president on the Social Equality Educator’s “Respect” slate of candidates–an unparalleled team of educators in Seattle, running for officer and executive board positions, who are dedicated to achieving the schools Seattle’s children deserve.  If you live in the Seattle area, please consider attending our MAP test boycott anniversary celebration and campaign kick off event on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 4:30 p.m., at the Garfield Community Center (2323 E Cherry St, Seattle). You can RSVP at: https://www.facebook.com/events/584713934950158/

We would be grateful for your support of our campaign by making a secure donation on the Social Equality Educator’s Pay Pal Account located on the side bar of our website. With your help we can win this election and just education system!

Please read the announcement for our campaign:

J A N U A R Y 21, 2 0 1 4

On the one-year anniversary the historic MAP test boycott,

teachers launch campaign in the upcoming

Seattle Education Association (SEA) union election.

Social Equality Educators (SEE) will introduce its “Respect” slate of candidates and education platform for the upcoming SEA union election at a January 30th Garfield Community Center forum.

The SEE Respect candidates for office will include a coalition of MAP boycott leaders, members of current SEA Board of Directors, award-winning teachers, teachers new to the profession, and veteran educators, including:

  • Jesse Hagopian, “Secondary Teacher of the Year,” Garfield High School, leader in MAP           boycott—For SEA President
  • Marian Wagner, National Board Certified Teacher, Salmon Bay K-8,
    current member of SEA Board of Directors—For SEA Vice President
  • Dan Troccoli, current Vice President of the SEA Substitute Association, founding member of SEE—For SEA Treasurer
  • And a slate of other candidates for the SEA Board of Directors

What: MAP Boycott Celebration/SEE Respect union candidates announcement

When: Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 4:30 p.m.

Where: Garfield Community Center (2323 E Cherry St, Seattle)

For more information:

hagopian.jesse@gmail.com

www.socialequalityeducators.org

 “We have a bold vision for educating Seattle’s children,” said Jesse Hagopian, teacher and Black Student Union advisor at Garfield High School, and SEE’s “Respect” candidate for president in the upcoming Seattle Education Association election. “This month marks the one-year anniversary of the announcement by my colleagues at Garfield that they would defend students by refusing to administer the deeply flawed MAP test. That movement galvanized parents, students, and education advocates across the city and around the nation.  Today, educators throughout Seattle—many of whom were inspired by our stand for authentic assessment—are organizing to bring this movement for an equitable, high-quality education into our union election.”

In January of 2013, teachers at Garfield High School began the “MAP test boycott,” a movement that was supported by the student body government and the PTSA.   The boycott then spread to several other schools in Seattle, including Orca K-8, Chief Sealth International High School, Ballard High School, Center School, and Thornton Creek Elementary—while solidarity with the boycott spread around Seattle, the nation, and then around the world.   The MAP test boycott by Seattle’s educators has been widely credited with having played transformative role in the debate around standardized testing in the U.S.—as was recently recognized in national media, including The Nation, Alternet, ColorLines magazine, and The Washington Post’s “Answer Sheet.”

“It was an extremely difficult decision to run for Vice President of the SEA because I don’t want to leave the classroom.  I love the challenge of improving our world through teaching the next generation, but the education of our youth is not being supported systematically,” said Marian Wagner, 5th grade teacher at Salmon Bay K-8. “I can’t ignore the thunderous cry of phenomenal educators who are not being heard.  I am agreeing to step in and run on their behalf.”

The Social Equality Educators will host an award ceremony on January 30th to recognize the leadership and courage of teachers participating in the boycott. Teachers and prominent community leaders fighting for social justice will also speak briefly, followed by the announcement of SEE’s Respect slate of candidates.

“The Respect slate of candidates is made up of teachers who support valid, reliable assessment, responsible evaluation, and full funding for the education of Seattle’s students,” said Dan Troccoli, the current Vice President of the SEA Substitute Association.   Educators will elaborate on the Respect platform at the event.

“As a teacher in the Seattle Public Schools and a SEA union representative for many years, I have never been so excited about an election before because of SEE’s ‘Respect’ slate of candidates,” said Roberta Lindeman, a teacher at Chief Sealth High School.  “I’m confident that these educators will best represent Seattle’s students and educators, will fight for student and teacher assessment based on best practices, and will bring a voice of reason to education reform.”

Join us as we celebrate this important victory and launch the next

campaign for education justice in Seattle!

#     #     #

Garfield High’s Jesse Hagopian named “Secondary School Teacher of the Year” By Academy of Education Arts and Sciences

Bammy_withMichele

Jesse Hagopian and friend Michele Bollinger (editor of “101 Changemakers”and a teacher in DC) leave the award ceremony with Jesse’s two Bammys on Saturday night, September 21, in Washington DC.

http://www.bammyawards.com

Bammylogo

WASHINGTON, DC – Garfield High School history teacher Jesse Hagopian was named “Secondary School Teacher of the Year” on Saturday by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International at a black-tie gala in the nation’s capital. In addition to this “Bammy” Award—the “Grammys for teachers”—the academy also presented Mr. Hagopian with a Special Achievement Bammy.

The annual Bammy awards recognize educators from across the education field: teachers, principals, librarians, nurses, school-board members, superintendents, and others.

Hagopian knew he was one of five finalists nominated in the secondary school category, but he had no idea the academy had decided to give him another Bammy as well. “They had just presented a Special Achievement Bammy to Sandy Hook Elementary School, and all of us in the audience were numb as we thought about the tragedy that school had gone through,” Jesse said afterwards. “And then, out of nowhere, I hear my name being called, and they’re asking me to come up on stage. I’m still thinking about Sandy Hook, and I had no idea what to say right then.”

The presenter told the audience this Bammy was for “a demonstration of courage” because, he said, courage is necessary “when doing what’s in the best interests of children…” He added that sometimes courage “means going against accepted policy, going against what is accepted convention.”

He was, of course, referring to the Garfield faculty’s civilly disobedient “boycott” this past school year of the Measures of Academic Progress– a standardized testing instrument known as the MAP test. After Garfield’s faculty refused – without a single dissenting vote – to administer this test, teachers at several other Seattle schools joined the boycott. Near the end of the school year, Seattle schools’ Superintendent Jose Banda relented, telling high schools they were no longer required to use the MAP test.

“This is a victory for all of the students, parents and teachers at Garfield who refused to give the Michelle Rhee-endorsed Bammy_onStage_lowerResMAP test, and who stood strong in the face of education-corrupting standardized testing that has run over our students,” said Hagopian, as he held up the silver-and-lead-crystal Bammy award. “And this,” he said after a pause, again hoisting the hefty Bammy, “is a victory of all of those teachers and educators who said that you should be both a social-justice advocate in the classroom, and outside the classroom.”

Although Hagopian, a history teacher, was not asked to administer the MAP test, he helped organize with the math, language arts and other teachers for whom the MAP test was a district requirement.  Hagopian, worked hard to build support for the boycott around the city and helped to popularize the struggle around the country.

Hagopian’s attendance at the gala was a coincidental accident of scheduling. The National Education Association had flown him to the capital that same week to testify before the Congressional Black Caucus of the U.S. Congress. He was one of several educators from across the country that testified to the caucus about the negative impacts of standardized testing and school closures on at-risk students and their communities.

Along with teaching history, Hagopian is the Black Student Union adviser at Garfield. He is an associate editor of the acclaimed Rethinking Schools magazine, is a founding member of Social Equality Educators (SEE), and was recipient of the 2012 Abe Keller Foundation award for “excellence and innovation in peace education.” Hagopian is an author, activist, and, since the MAP boycott, an “in-demand” public speaker. Jesse is a contributing author to 101 Changemakers: Rebels and Radicals Who Changed US History (Haymarket Books). Jesse and his wife, Sarah Wilhelm, have two sons, Miles and Satchel.

“Nominees like Jesse Hagopian are demonstrating that there are a lot of people who are not waiting for Superman and are doing excellent work and making a difference in education right now,” said Errol St. Clair Smith, Spokesperson for the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International. “The nomination alone is a meaningful statement that the nominee is making a difference and is standing out in the field.”

Serena Samar, Garfield High School special education teacher, said of Jesse, “When students take Mr. Hagopian’s class, I know their lives will be changed for the better! His uncanny ability to incorporate history into how it influences each student’s life now has changed many of my student’s educational experiences for the better. They feel empowered and hopeful, which is what the educational experience should be for all students.”

Commentator John Young wrote of Hagopian’s leadership in the MAP test boycott, “Jesse Hagopian is doing more than teaching history. He is answering history’s call.”

Bob George, Save Our Schools National Director, added, “Jesse brings parents, students, and teachers together for the greater good. He is a tireless advocate for his students and his coworkers. His voice is for social justice.”

The Bammys are presented by The Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International, which includes leading educators, education professors, journalists, editors, researchers, commentators, advocates, activists, visionaries and pioneers.  The Academy is comprised of a board of governors, a council of peers, and associate members.

Hagopian is member of Social Equality Educators (SEE), a group of social-justice teachers and education aids that works to build community alliances in purist of quality education, oppose the corporate school-reform agenda, and strengthen the teacher’s union by helping it adopt a social-movement approach to unionism. Social Equality Educators played a vital role in spreading the 2012-2013 MAP test boycott to schools around Seattle, have hosted forums on closing the “opportunity gap” in the Seattle Public Schools, and have staged protests of the Washington State Legislature for its failure to fully fund education.

About the Bammy Awards:

The Bammy Awards honor the contributions of educators in 28 categories across the field.

Presenters announced include: Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association; Marybeth Hertz, executive board member of the Edcamp Foundation; Dan Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators; Chris Lehmann, founder and co-chair of Educon; Gail Connelly, executive director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals; Angela Maiers, founder of Choose2Matter; Yasmina Vinci, executive director for the National Head Start Association; John Merrow, veteran education reporter at PBS; Donna Mazyck, executive director of the National Association of School Nurses; Tom Whitby and Steven Anderson, co-founders of #Edchat; Caroline Hendrie, executive director of the Education Writers Association. William J. Bushaw, executive director, PDK International Family; Rob Lippincott, senior vice president, PBS Learning Media; and The Northeast Foundation for Children.

The 2013 Bammy Awards were held at the Arena Stage at the Mead Center in Washington, D.C., on September 21(st). The awards were co-hosted by Dr. Mark Ginsberg, dean of the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University, and Errol St. Clair Smith, Emmy-winning correspondent, broadcaster and executive producer of the Bammy Awards.

This year’s celebration included a number of special presentations, including lifetime achievement awards to Randi Weingarten and Nancy Carlsson-Paige, special achievement awards to the founders of Edcamp and #Edchat, a special Bammy presentation to educators from Sandy Hook Elementary School, a salute by the BAM 100 celebrating connected educators, Bammy Awards for the best in education technology, and a very special Bammy Award honoring a truly exceptional student.

“The Bammy Awards were created in response to the relentless national criticism of America’s public schools, while all that is right in American education is largely ignored,” said Errol St. Clair Smith, Bammy Awards executive producer. Modeled on the broad scope of the Oscars, Grammys and Emmys, the Bammy Awards were created to be a cross-discipline honor celebrating the entire education village.

About the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences

The Academy is comprised of over 212 prominent education leaders, including Linda Darling-Hammond, professor of education at Stanford University; Diane Ravitch, former Assistant Secretary of Education; Timothy Shriver, CEO of the Special Olympics; and the executive directors of NAESP, AASA, PTA, NASN, ASBO and NASSP.

CONTACT: Academy of Education Arts and Sciences

Errol St. Clair Smith, 818-539-5971

http://www.bammyawards.org

Teach Trayvon: What’s not in the Common Core & how to close the education gap

Want to close the so-called “achievement gap”?

This gap–better described as the opportunity gap–would quickly narrow if standards were added about analyzing the continuity of the American judicial system in excluding Black jurors and acquitting people who murder African Americans–from Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin and beyond.  When you teach students about the major issues affecting their lives, and allow them to use the curriculum to help them solve these problems, you see education come alive for all students.  The fact that you can’t imagine a standard that addresses institutional racism in America  being added to the Common Core State Standards is a clear indication that they are not interested in truly raising the achievement of all.

This video of a speech I gave in the wake of Trayvon’s murder by George Zimmerman could serve as an opening lesson in the unit:

Followed by this lesson from Linda Christensen at Rethinking Schools, The Danger of a Single Story:

http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/26_04/26_04_christensen.shtml

Trayvon, I promise you, while Zimmerman was acquitted after murdering you in cold blood, this fight for justice isn’t over!

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