California Educator

December 2018 / January 2019

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Page 53 of 75

t Student CTA's Social Justice Symposium in early November, more than 100 aspiring educators col- lectively recalled some of George Washington's greatest hits, as taught to them in elementary school. Our first president: • chopped down a cherry tree; • had wooden teeth; • most certainly never told a lie. Except that never happened. The chatter comes to a halt when it is revealed that those stories from childhood are not what they seem — Washington didn't take an axe to a tree, a biographer made up the story about his truth-telling prowess, and as a wealthy white landowner, his mouth was filled with teeth bought from poor people and stolen from his own slaves. For many in the group, these revelations are not easy to swallow. "How do you have the heart to teach kids these lies?" said Lily Dueñas-Sosa, a student from CSU Northridge, asking herself as much as she was the rest of the room. "What do you do?" This examination of their own experiences in ele- mentary school is a lens into the pervasiveness of white supremacy culture and its many impacts — a jolting start to a welcoming weekend for future teachers, but it was intended. Brought together from teaching programs at colleges and universities across Califor- nia, these students aren't shying away from the SCTA goal that inspired the symposium: "Student CTA will Student CTA tackles white supremacy culture and how it affects what students learn STORY AND PHOTOS BY JULIAN PEEPLES Fight the Power More than 100 future educators attended Student CTA's Social Justice Symposium. A 52 Teaching & Learning

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