Seek 7 Sunday

  • In light of our discussions on communities, this article from John King Jr., the current Acting Secretary of Education, was interesting.  In the article, King discusses a new initiative, “Stronger Together” , which provides “ grants to support districts with strong voluntary, community-developed plans that increase socioeconomic diversity in their schools.”  My political science work may be shining through, but I always like to connect ideas to the bigger policy discussions going on outside of classrooms.
  • In a similar “big picture” vein was something mentioned it in my blog post for the week, was the Edge of Sports podcast interview with John Angelos, which I found fascinating.  The interview focuses on the aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray and the many responses in Baltimore.  I found it to be particularly germane to our discussions as the focus is on inequality and the structural factors that create and maintain those inequalities within communities.
  • I found a new blog this week that I’ve been reading through, called The Intersection, which focuses on culture, society and race in the classroom.  In particular, I found this post really moving.   It is an open letter to students who tend towards shyness and introversion…”I will not mistake your silence, your quiet moments, for apathy. I will do better to not just provide you safe space to learn, but learn to celebrate and nurture you as you are right now.”  Its a really great lesson for teachers (and everyone) who can lose sight of people who are less comfortable speaking out.
  • Last semester, I read this book, Radical Equations, by Robert P. Moses, and wanted to recommend it for anyone looking at community based learning on a large scale.  In the book, Moses talks about the struggles and successes of community based voting reforms he worked on during the 1960’s in the American south, and, using the same community based, grassroots techniques, spread his education initiative, the Algebra Project to cities around the country.
  • I think the ideas of social and emotional learning take up a similar space as community education, in that they are critically important and complicated for education systems to measure and evaluate.  This post from Edutopia makes the case that there are real, tangible ways that Social and Emotional Learning improve performance across a number of areas.  “Research shows that SEL not only improves achievement by an average of 11 percentile points, but it also increases prosocial behaviors (such as kindness, sharing, and empathy), improves student attitudes toward school, and reduces depression and stress among students”
  • I found this personal story from a high school math teacher to be a very interesting read.  The post outlines the constant struggles and misconceptions female math teachers can face.  It remains frustrating that traditional gender roles still play such a big part in how people view careers and areas of interest.  In her words, “I worry that as we fight for greater access for women to male dominated spaces, we’re only fighting half the battle unless we simultaneously begin to value more greatly the work being done by those in traditionally female careers”.
  • On the lighter/satirical side of things, I found this Onion piece equal parts funny and biting.  One way to help improve math scores? “Allow students to take a few integers home with them after school”.  Not to read too much into a satirical news source, but I do believe that humor can shed light on some of the absurdities in our society and obviously our schools as well.
Seek 7 Sunday

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