California Educator

June/July 2019

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How does it help educators do their job and be better teachers? Teaching through a racial equity lens expands educators' pedagogy — it broadens our view, it deepens our knowledge and our practice, it gives greater access to tools and resources for all students. For example, if I'm a physics teacher, it's beneficial for me to pursue indi- vidual learning and reading. But it's quite a bit more beneficial to engage in collective, symbiotic learning in the classroom and lab, where ideas are shared, tested and studied, along with engaging in dialogue with my peers. How can educators start? This is such a complicated issue — it's one of the most challenging and central issues to our society over last 400 years. We must commit to lifelong learning and increasing our knowledge, skill and capacity. There are a few programs and trainings that educators and schools can use, such as the Pacific Educational Group's Courageous Conversation ( The protocol engages, sustains and deepens interracial dialogue, and lets participants practice using strategies to identify and address policies, programs and practices that prevent students from receiving a quality education. There's also the SEED program, which are classroom or school proj- ects that address climate justice work from a racial justice — and class and gender justice — lens ( Creat- ing educational spaces where those who have a racial equity lens are encouraged to express themselves and utilize it in their teaching can allow those who don't have it to learn more. What should be the goal of teaching with a racial equity lens? Three main things: Teachers need to support stu- dents in thinking critically, about how justice works, how to discern along lines of power when looking from multiple perspectives. This is one of the fundamental needs of a democratic society, an indis- pensable element for equity in education and building community. We need to center compassion and empathy in our curriculum. Notions of compassion and empa- thy are not stressed enough in educational settings. Students don't have to be best friends, but they can be kind, thoughtful, and can engage with others. We need to help students learn to contribute to society as a whole, how to engage in larger society. Education is the practice of freedom. We have to remember that. What should drive us in racial justice work? What is most important? We need to remember that our rela- tionships — not any one relationship but our relational societal ethos — should be imbued with love and accountability. They are at the heart of racial justice work. Diversity, Cultural Competency and Social Justice/Equity Diversity • Awareness and appreciation of difference • Not about access to resources, power and privilege • Not about systems • (Vaguely used) Cultural Competency • Skill development for work across cultural lines • Not about access to resources, power and privilege • Not about systems Social Justice/Equity • Big picture and daily lives • Examines systems and history and how they impact individuals • Looks squarely at access to resources, power and privilege • Is hopeful — a steward of our best values © Heather Hackman Start Your Journey D R . H E A T H E R H A C K M A N believes no one resource, book or course has all the answers to what is a lifelong commit- ment to learn and use a racial equity lens. But the books below can serve as the start of an educator's journey. Readings for Diversity and Social Justice, Warren J. Blumenfeld et al., Routledge, 4th edition, 2018 The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys, Eddie Moore et al., Corwin, 2017 Courageous Conversations About Race: A Field Guide for Achieving Equity in Schools, Glenn E. Singleton, Corwin, 2014 For more resources, go to 50 Teaching & Learning

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