Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”

– Goethe

In our commitment to the well-being of each and every child, we’re hosting conversations and sharing information about our diversity as a strength.

We’re listening for ideas that can be useful in our attempts to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, and ways we can include these values in what we do with and for young children.

We are inspired to do more than hope for a more just and inclusive world for our children. We want to participate in building it.

Current Fellows

Cassandra Schmid

VTAEYC Exchange Fellow 

Read Cassandra's Posts


VTAEYC Exchange Fellow 

apply today

Resource Library

Webinars, Panels & Video Discussions

More than Hope 2.0” featuring Hannah Assefa, Afa Dworkin, Leyla McCalla, and Regina Carter

A Conversation with Laleña Garcia” featuring Hannah Assefa and Laleña Garcia

A Talk with Teachers” featuring Hannah Assefa, Myle Truong, and Jennifer Knowles

Parent Panel: Confronting Cultural Bias at Home and in Educational Settings” featuring Hannah Assefa, Lara Scott, and Tessa Anderson.

“The creation of this document was inspired by the work of Victoria Alexander who created the Anti-Racist Resource Guide.  Her guide “was created to be used as a resource for anyone looking to broaden their understanding of anti-racism and get involved to combat racism,  specifically as it relates to anti-Blackness and police violence” (Alexander, 2020).

The Anti-Racist Resource Guide for Educators has been created to provide resources to educators who want to think and learn more about how their teaching can perpetuate misinformation, stereotypes, and educational inequities; ways in which they may celebrate, teach, and provide diversity in their classroom; and begin to plan ways in which they will inspire their students to not only be aware of historic and/or current events but be active citizens by using this information to make the change they want to see. This initially began as a series of Facebook posts shared with close friends and family. However, requests for more public sharing of resources prompted the creation of this guide.

Please share widely with friends, family, students, and colleagues.  You may also use this guide as a reflection tool or discussion starter with your professional learning community (PLC) and/or school community. Thank you!”

This document is a free resource but does require a great deal of labor to create and update. Please contact Hannah Assefa if you are interested in supporting this project further.

Abolitionist Teaching Network: Website | Twitter | Instagram

Anti-Defamation League: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | LinkedIn
Lesson Plans

Bank Street College of Education: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
Black Lives Matter at School Week Symposium

Books For Diversity: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Brightbeam: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Chalkbeat: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
Student Takeover: At this pivotal moment in America, Chalkbeat wanted to elevate the voices of students and hear from them directly. How are they feeling about protests against racial injustice? How do today’s marches make them think about the future?

Clemmons Family Farm: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube
Windows to A Multicultural World (K-12 Field Trips & School Engagement opportunities)

Dismantling Racism Works Web Workbook: Website
Toolkits, For Parents and Teachers, Organizing and Training, Books/Videos/Articles.

Education Post: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Educators for Antiracism: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
Google Drive folder to access colleagues lessons

Educolor: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Facing History and Ourselves: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Great Big Story: Website |Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | Vimeo

Leading Equity Center: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Podcast | LinkedIn

Learning to Give: Website | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Pinterest

Milton Inclusion & Diversity Initiative: Website | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

National Museum of African American History and Culture: Website | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube
NMAAHC Talking About Race

PittWire-Diversity and Community: Website | Subscribe to emails

Pride and Less Prejudice: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook
Request Free books for your classroom (I did!)

Racial Equity Tools: Website | Facebook | LinkedIn

Rethinking Schools: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Speak Up: Opening a Dialogue With Youth About Racism: Website | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

Teacher Democracy Project: Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

Teaching For Black Lives: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
Read the introduction (Personal opinion… it’s profound)

Teaching for Change: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Civil Rights Teaching: Website

Teaching Matters: Website | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

Teaching Tolerance: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

The National Association for Multicultural Education: Website | Twitter | Facebook

The Pragmatic Mom: Website | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | LinkedIn

Scaffolded Anti-Racist Resources: Google Document | Accountability and Actions Document

We Need Diverse Books: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | Pinterest

Where Change Started: Website | Instagram

Woke Kindergarten: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Youtube

Zinn Education Project: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

In August of 1619, a ship carrying more than 20 enslaved Africans arrived in the English colony of Virginia. America was not yet America, but this was the moment it began. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the 250 years of slavery that followed. On the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is time to tell the story.

“1619” is a New York Times audio series hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones. You can find more information about it at

What’s CODE SWITCH? It’s the fearless conversations about race that you’ve been waiting for! Hosted by journalists of color, our podcast tackles the subject of race head-on. We explore how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between. This podcast makes ALL OF US part of the conversation — because we’re all part of the story.

Exercise your ears and sharpen your brain with The Mind Online, hosted by Teaching Tolerance Managing Editor Monita Bell. Through conversations with teachers, librarians, scholars and reporters, Monita explores the critical aspects of digital literacy that shape how we create and consume content online. Discover what educators and students alike need to know—and how we can all become safer, better informed digital citizens.

What we don’t know about American slavery hurts us all. From Teaching Tolerance and host Hasan Kwame JeffriesTeaching Hard History brings us the lessons we should have learned in school through the voices of leading scholars and educators. It’s good advice for teachers, good information for everybody.

The Shine Brighter Together Podcast is a place where we share the challenges, complexities and sheer joy of building healthy relationships and doing the heart work for true diverse unity.

You can expect to hear solo episodes by Monique Melton who is an anti-racism educator, published author, international speaker and creator of the Shine Brighter Together community, and guest episodes with people from different walks of life sharing diverse perspectives on relationships and diversity.

Welcome to the People’s Historians Podcast from the Zinn Education Project. In light of the popularity of our online mini-classes centered around teaching the Black Freedom Struggle, we’ve converted our online sessions to a podcast with the hope of increasing the teaching of Black lives in the classroom and beyond.

Rothstein’s new book, The Color of Law, examines the local, state and federal housing policies that mandated segregation. He notes that the Federal Housing Administration, which was established in 1934, furthered the segregation efforts by refusing to insure mortgages in and near African-American neighborhoods — a policy known as “redlining.” At the same time, the FHA was subsidizing builders who were mass-producing entire subdivisions for whites — with the requirement that none of the homes be sold to African-Americans.
Rothstein says these decades-old housing policies have had a lasting effect on American society. “The segregation of our metropolitan areas today leads … to stagnant inequality, because families are much less able to be upwardly mobile when they’re living in segregated neighborhoods where opportunity is absent,” he says. “If we want greater equality in this society, if we want a lowering of the hostility between police and young African-American men, we need to take steps to desegregate.”

86% of teachers in the U.S. are white. Most of you listening to this episode are therefore white. Conversations about race are super prevalent right now and for many white people, and it feels like stepping onto a minefield.
They have literally no idea what to say, or feel like they don’t understand the history enough to contribute much to the conversation. Or, they say something they think is totally valid but inadvertently offend people of color in the discussion or get their own feelings hurt because they feel “attacked”, vowing to never, ever enter another conversation about race again. (Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers)

Voices4Ed is an Education Post podcast where we bring in voices of students, parents, and teachers to talk about what’s really happening in our public schools. It’s a different conversation about public education.

Suggested Episodes:
Episode 33: No Country For Black Men (feat. Dr. Kimberly Underwood & Dr. Eddie Moore Jr.)
Episode 32: The Strength To Let Kids Struggle (feat. Dr. Sonja Santelises)
Episode 29: The White Progressive’s Dilemma
Episode 27: Is Your State Serving Black Students? (ft. EdTrust)

Without LGBTQ history, there is no American history. From Teaching Tolerance and hosts Leila Rupp and John D’Emilio, Queer America takes listeners on a journey that spans from Harlem to the Frontier West, revealing stories of LGBTQ life we should have learned in school.
This podcast is produced in partnership with University of Wisconsin Press, publishers of Understanding and Teaching U.S. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History. It is the first book designed for high school and university teachers who want to integrate LGBTQ history into their standard curriculum. From now until the end of the year, the University of Wisconsin Press is offering a 30 percent discount for Queer America listeners who order the recently updated, second edition of this collection. Use the promotional code, QAPODCAST.

A Tale of Two Teachers
Melissa Crum | TEDxColumbusWomen

From Difference to Distance: Rethinking Diversity and Inclusion
Fred Falker | TEDxClayton

Is My Skin Brown Because I Drank Chocolate Milk?
Beverly Daniel Tatum | TEDxStanford

Missing Adventures: Diversity and Children’s Literature
Brynn Welch | TEDxEHC

TrillEDU: Culturally Responsive Pedagogy…
Jeffrey Dessources | TEDxNewJerseyCityUniversity

Why diversity is not enough to reach real integration in schools
Prudence Carter | TEDxStanford

The difference between being “not racist” and antiracist
Ibram X. Kendi

Dismantling White Supremacy in Education
Noelle Picara | TEDxYouth@UrsulineAcademy

PBS Series: Tools for Anti-Racist Teaching

Deepening Your Understanding of Race and Racism
As educators, we have a deep responsibility to confront racial injustice, and ensure that we create anti-racist classroom environments. This includes our own ongoing reflection and learning. In this one hour event we will explore the role media plays in our collective understanding about race and racism, and how educators can use media to disrupt white supremacy and systemic oppression of Black people in America. This is a live event, so you will have the opportunity to ask our guests questions. Come prepared for a rich, deep, and honest conversation that will not only help you gain a deeper understanding of the roots of systemic racism, and how anti-Black racism impacts our daily lives, but also guide you as you reflect on your own role and responsibilities as an educator.

Using Media to Know Better, Teach Better | Tools for Anti-Racist Teaching
When conversations of racial injustice and equity arise, many educators find themselves reacting in the moment. In this one-hour webinar, a panel of experts discuss how teachers can analyze and evaluate media to provide important context for students and support anti-racist classroom planning and practices. Teachers can also find advice for using media literacy tools to empower students and inform their personal practice.

Focusing on Young Learners | Tools for Anti-Racist Teaching
In this webinar, we’ll discuss how and when to use media as a tool in anti-racist teaching for young learners. Learn ways to integrate media into classroom lessons, practice, or literature as a method of guiding students in developmentally appropriate, anti-racist learning.

Talking to Children Authentically about Race and Racism
This PBS KIDS for Parents-hosted conversation features fellow parents, educators, child development and trauma experts who join us to share tips and resources for how to talk with young children about racial injustice and violence against Black people. Explore questions such as: How can parents of Black children continue to instill confidence and pride in young kids while also explaining the racial inequity and barriers that continue today? And, how can parents of non-Black children help young kids understand their role in confronting anti-Black racism? Hear questions from fellow parents and learn tips and resources you can use to continue to have these meaningful conversations now and into the future.

Excerpt of the Frontline documentary, “A Class Divided” provided by ©1985 WGBH Educational Foundation. All Rights Reserved. A production of Yale University Films for FRONTLINE. Also available on PBS Learning Media.

Excerpt from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” provided courtesy of The Fred Rogers Company.

For additional resources, visit the Talking to Young Children About Race and Racism collection on the PBS KIDS for Parents website: Talking To Young Children About Race and Racism

Upcoming Webinars from
Thursday, March 18, 2021 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EST
Wednesday, July 8, 2020 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EDT
(Live Webinar is full but you can register to get the recording)

National Educator Anti-Racism Conference

You may attend the National Educator Anti-Racism Conference online. Click the link above to see the list of events.  They are mostly free (some are donation based) and are happening between August 8th and August 13th.

Thu, 8/13/2020 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM EDT

More Than Hope

‘More Than Hope’ is part of holding regular conversations about racial justice. We are setting aside time for these conversations, to hear ourselves, and to hear from others.

Let’s Talk! Discussing Black Lives Matter With Students

Broadcasting live this September and October, our four-part webinar series Let’s Talk! will cover a range of critical topics that can be difficult to discuss with students and colleagues. The first webinar will explore Black Lives Matter, an activist group that media, schools and communities often struggle to understand. You’ll learn about the roots of Black Lives Matter, its platform and its connections to past social justice movements. You’ll also gain tools for engaging students about the Black Lives Matter movement in the classroom.

Earn credit: When you complete 95 percent or more of the webinar, a certificate of completion will be available for you to download and print from within the webinar platform. Since Teaching Tolerance is not a credit-granting agency, we encourage you to check with your administration to determine if your participation will count toward continuing education requirements.

Teaching Tolerance webinars

Teaching Tolerance webinars offer helpful guidance and great ideas from our experienced teaching and learning specialists and from innovative educators in the Teaching Tolerance community. Watch these FREE on-demand webinars at your own pace and share them with colleagues!

The Color of Law

Indigenous Peoples’ History

Teaching Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage

Latinx History Is Black History

Teaching Hard History in Grades K-5

LGBTQ Best Practices: Classroom Culture and CurriculumWhat Is White Privilege, Really?

Fun Social Justice Activities for Elementary Students

Speak Up at School

Let’s Talk! Discussing Race, Racism and Other Difficult Topics With Students

Let’s Talk! Discussing Whiteness

Beloved Community Talks by The King Center

The Beloved Community Talks (BCT) mission is to create an environment conducive to open, honest, and unapologetic conversations that are civil; bringing people out of their comfort zone to promote understanding and to influence equitable change to the national infrastructure.

We envision that individuals and communities will find commonalities that bring them together in order to work on initiatives in their respective communities. The BCT will provide an environment within communities where people can get to know each other, seeking first to understand and then to be understood.

Visit the website to access more.

Webinars from Ed Week

Examining the Evidence: Supporting Immigrant-Origin Students and English-Learners
February 19th, 2021

Immigrant-origin children and English-learners are among the fastest growing school-age populations in the U.S. As two distinctly different groups of students with overlapping challenges, both immigrant-origin students and English-learners (ELs) often must navigate limited access to at-home educational resources while being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Many students have seen their access to direct language instruction decrease in this time as a result of districts’ competing priorities, and students and their families have trouble navigating resources when they aren’t available in their native language.

Given these challenges, what can the research evidence tell us about the practices districts, schools and teachers can use to build inclusive learning environments that support immigrant-origin and EL students’ educational success and build inclusive learning environments and reduce the widening opportunity and achievement gaps between this group of students and their peers?

Join us for a lively discussion moderated by Education Week’s Debbie Viadero, assistant managing editor. The panel will draw on the evidence from two new EdResearch for Recovery briefs, “Supports for Students in Immigrant Families,” and “Supports for Students Who Are English-Learners.”

The 4 Biggest Challenges of MTSS During Remote Learning: How Districts Are Adapting
February 9th, 2021

As districts forge ahead with supporting learners virtually during the COVID-19 public health crisis, common challenges and themes are emerging—from adapting interventions for delivery online, to gaining visibility into students’ holistic needs, to providing equity of support for every student. Hear MTSS, accountability, and counseling leaders share their journey in overcoming the biggest obstacles of adapting a multi-tiered systems of supports (MTSS) or response to intervention (RTI) framework in a hybrid or remote learning environment.

This webinar will cover how to:

  • Modify existing universal and targeted interventions for virtual use
  • Deeply understand the whole child, even when students are at home
  • Establish new norms and systems for collaborating remotely around student supports
  • Evaluate existing systems of support through an equity lens

A Time to Amplify the Student Voice: Strategies for Teaching and Empowering Young Minds to Create Sustainable Change
July 21, 2020 @1:00PM ET
Access the presentation slide deck

A collection of free and premium virtual broadcasts, including upcoming and on-demand webinars. Browse our premium webinars here. All webinars are accessible for a limited time after the original live streaming date.

From Davis Squared Consulting

Teachers on the Frontlines: Dismantling White Supremacy from Within the Classroom
July 23rd, 2020

Are our schools actually failing? Or are they working just as they were designed to?

Despite reforms, despite funds from well-meaning donors, our schools routinely underserve Black students.  It doesn’t matter what you name it (the achievement gap, the opportunity gap, the education debt), Black students end up at the bottom of every measure of academic success. ​It’s time to name the elephant in the room.


Schools are not just institutions of knowledge, they are institutions of indoctrination. But this challenge is also an opportunity. What if schools raised a new generation of change agents who are equipped to dismantle white supremacist institutions? What if classrooms led students towards liberation for themselves and their communities? Teachers, stand on the frontlines of the fight for racial equity. You are uniquely positioned to change our future. You were made for these times.

TEACHERS ON THE FRONTLINES is a free webinar for educators who are ready to transform their classrooms into spaces of liberation.

What to Expect at Pitt’s Diversity Forum, Advancing Social Justice: A Call to Action

July 28th-30th

Hosted by Pitt’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Diversity Forum 2020, titled Advancing Social Justice: A Call to Action is a first-of-its kind virtual event at Pitt that’s free and open to the public. It will be held July 28-30. The forum will spark conversations among people across disciplines and with diverse life experiences to suggest ways to dismantle systemic racism in our communities. To take part and receive access to the virtual sessions, complete this registration form.

Culturally Responsive Leadership

Teach Like… A Human (this is not a free training)
August 3rd

Join Joe Truss, founder of Culturally Responsive Leadership, and the Washington Post bestselling authors of Hacking School Discipline, Brad Weinstein and Nathan Maynard, as they take a deep dive into how racial bias influences relationships and restorative practices. This training will be especially impactful for groups looking to change practices at their schools and districts.

Topics will include:

  • How racism and bias can be a barrier to restorative practices
  • How to get started with staff
  • How to facilitate conversations about race in classrooms
  • Restorative practices basics
  • What to do before facilitating restorative practices
  • How to build strong and true rapport
  • How to facilitate conversations to seek-to-understand driving behaviors
  • How to utilize circle work for tough conversations with staff and student

Preparing Teachers for Anti-Racist Teaching: Transforming Teacher Preparation Programs

August 7th | 4-6pm PST (7-9pm EST)

Anti-racist struggle and pedagogies have a long and important history in the US. For over 40 years, the field of research on anti-racist teaching has developed but with little impact on the systematic preparation of teachers, public school curricula, and classroom practices.  This panel brings together experts to dialogue on the following questions: How do we best prepare teachers for anti-racist teaching? What does the present moment teach us about where teacher preparation programs need to go?

Empowering Educators: A Convening on Racial Equity in Education

August 19, 2020 | 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. EST

The AU Antiracist Research and Policy Center is proud to partner with First Book and Pizza Hut to present Empowering Educators: A Convening on Racial Equity in Education. Featuring National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jason Reynolds, as well as award-winning educator Liz Kleinrock, and AU scholars, this event will support K-12 educators in engaging in effective, courageous conversations about race and social justice.

Welcome | 11AM
Session One | Practical and Actionable Guidance for Educators | 11:15AM
Keynote | Teaching Humanity with Jason Reynolds | 12:30PM
Session Two | The Importance of Antiracist Teaching | 1:30PM
Closing Remarks | 2:45PM

Teaching For Black Lives During the Rebellion

Friday, August 21 at 11am PT, 1pm CT, 2pm ET

Join Teaching for Black Lives co-editors Dyan Watson, Jesse Hagopian, and Wayne Au for an urgent discussion on teaching and organizing for racial and economic justice in our schools during the rebellion.

Dyan Watson is a former high school teacher and teacher educator. Currently, she serves as the Director for Inclusion at the Oregon Episcopal School and is a Rethinking Schools editor. Some of her works include: Teaching for Black Lives,Rhythm and Resistance: Teaching Poetry for Social Justice, and Rethinking Elementary Education.

Jesse Hagopian teaches Ethnic Studies and is the co-adviser to the Black Student Union at Garfield High School in Seattle. He is a Rethinking Schools editorthe co-editor of Teaching for Black Lives, the co-editor of the forthcoming book, Black Lives Matter at School, and editor of More Than a Score: The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing.

Wayne Au is a professor in the School of Educational Studies at the University of Washington Bothell. He is a long-time Rethinking Schools editor, editor of Rethinking Multicultural Education, co-editor of Teaching for Black Lives, and author of A Marxist Education: Learning to Change the World.

Cierra Kaler-Jones is the Education Anew Fellow at Teaching for Change and Communities for Just Schools Fund. She is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy, and Leadership at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her work examines how Black girls use arts-based practices as forms of expression, resistance, and identity development.

This event is hosted by Rethinking Schools and sponsored by Teaching for Change.

Participants will need access to Zoom.

Teaching Racial Justice in PK – 12 Schools • A Learning Series

The VT-HEC has secured a block of 75 participant slots for this event, hosted and facilitated by our colleague, Paul Gorski, in conjunction with the Equity Literacy Institute.​

In this 4-part series, racial justice educators share key philosophical, practical, pedagogical, and theoretical insights about how to teach racial justice in PK-12 schools. We will explore what it means to engage youth of various ages in critical conversations that transcend “celebrating diversity”; how to cope with resistance from colleagues, parents, and others; where to find powerful resources; what it means to approach teaching for racial justice in “age appropriate” ways; and how to make sure we’re teaching racial justice in the most transformative, pedagogically sound ways.

21 Anti-Racism Videos To Share With Kids

The United States has a racism problem. The idea of tackling such complicated and hurtful topics in our homes and classrooms is daunting, but we can’t look away. We MUST face it. Fortunately, we live in a time when technology provides resources, such as the anti-racism videos below, designed to support us as we navigate these difficult and painful conversations.

Precious Knowledge

PRECIOUS KNOWLEDGE illustrates what motivates Tucson High School students and teachers to form the front line of an epic civil rights battle. While 48 percent of Mexican American students currently drop out of high school, Tucson High’s Mexican American Studies Program has become a national model of educational success, with 93 percent of enrolled students graduating from high school and 85 percent going on to attend college. However, Arizona lawmakers are shutting the program down because they believe the students are being indoctrinated with dangerous ideology and embracing destructive ethnic chauvinism.

Learn more | Visit Dos Vatos Films (and order DVD)

What We’re Watching

Dim the lights and get ready to learn with these TT-approved films!

Owned: A Tale of Two Americas

Through the stories of a retired New York City cop, an eccentric Orange County realtor, and an aspiring real estate developer in Baltimore, Owned explores the promise of US housing policies, the systematic oppression in many of America’s “chocolate cities,” and the communities that these systems have created. The film suggests that ultimately, these communities have more in common than they might expect.

An Outrage

An Outrage, a film by Hannah Ayers and Lance Warren, is available for streaming only, exclusively for registered Teaching Tolerance members.

Black Lives Matter movie list from Netflix

Black lives matter. Learn more about racial injustice and the Black experience in America with this collection of films, series and documentaries. (Netflix, 2020)

Suggestions: 13th, Becoming, I Am Not Your Negro, LA 92, and Teach Us All.

As we begin the work of educating ourselves about racism, bias, and best practices to meet the needs of all of our students we must keep in mind the process that is becoming anti-racist. Ibram X. Kendi has stated that saying one is “not racist” is not enough and that we must commit to being anti-racist. This shift in wording implies action and the chart to the left illustrates some of the first steps. As someone moves from the Fear Zone to the Growth Zone, they become more comfortable talking about racism, they have phrases at the ready to respond to implicit/explicit biases and racist remarks, and they are actively seeking more information and sharing that information with their peers, colleagues, and community.

Thank you for committing to this work!

Action and Allyship: An On-Ramp Towards Equity

This guide has been adapted and aggregated from public and private sources, and should be considered preliminary information for people seeking to learn about equity. Many of the concepts here that specifically discuss racial equity can be applied to equity for other historically marginalized groups, including people living with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ community, people living in poverty, religious communities, and others. Perhaps most important, equity measures often tend to benefit several of these groups at once, for several reasons: First, many people carry intersectional identities, so equity measures often touch those intersectional communities. Second, the same social, economic, and legal structures are often used to discriminate against various groups, so reforming those systems often has widespread impacts across these groups. The information contained herein is not exhaustive, and is reflective of policies that have been demonstrated to be successful in numerous jurisdictions and across political lines. (The Racial Equity Advisory Panel)

Advocating for Racial Equity in Our Schools

Like many states across the country, Minnesota has no formal, consistent professional development pathway for educators to enter and/or continue their journey of living equitably and in turn, authentically disrupt systems of racism and racial inequities in the classroom. In comes Education Minnesota.

The FIRE program leads and organizes Minnesota educators in a movement to live equitably and practice recognizing and responding to racial inequities and injustices.

This includes the Racial Equity Advocate program, plus a series of trainings (see box below) that help Minnesota educators develop an anti-racism mindset and learn how to interrupt and dismantle institutional racism.

The program appeals to educators for a variety of reasons. Carlson, for example, found a shocking lack of curiosity among most white people around race and was looking for a place where the perspectives of people of color were present, centered, and honored. (Alvarez, 2019).

Advocating for My Students Means Calling Out Racist Statements From Educators

Districts should continue to invest in professional developments that focus on implicit biases, but these trainings should not be a one day, one-hour training. Beliefs and biases are ingrained and developed over the course of a lifetime. A one-hour training is surely not enough to delve deep within oneself. Cultural competency training is the first step in the right direction. However, it is not enough to be culturally competent, we need to be actively anti-racist.

Anti-Racist Work in Schools: Are You in it for the Long Haul?

This article encourages readers to reflect on the following questions related to anti-bias anti-racist (ABAR) practices and policies in schools:

  • If this is the first time your school has focused on ABAR, why is it a priority now?
  • How will you ensure ABAR is not just a box to check, and that no one is able to opt out?
  • ​How will BIPOC be centered in this work?
  • ​How will BIPOC be supported in this work?
  • ​How are you working to create long-lasting change in your community?

Anti-Racist Educator Questionnaire and Rubric

Anti-Racist Student Self-Questionnaire

Aren’t they too young?

As educators, we need to recognize our own positionality and its implications for how we teach. We may wonder whether young children are developmentally ready for multicultural education, yet few would argue with the idea that best early education programs are child-centered.

Let us start with NAME’s definition of Multicultural Education:

Multicultural education advocates the belief that students and their life histories and experiences should be placed at the center of the teaching and learning process and that pedagogy should occur in a context that is familiar to students and that addresses multiple ways of thinking.

A “colorblind” approach to early education may make diverse students’ strengths, knowledge and abilities invisible. Multicultural Education is a mandate if we are to provide equitable educational opportunity for all students.

Are You An Anti-Racist Educator? Here are Seven Questions to Help You Decide.


  1. Have you acknowledged your White privilege?
  2. Are you aware that your implicit biases play an integral role in the way that you teach, engage with and discipline your Black students?
  3. Are you aware that your implicit biases can impact your ability to actively engage and partner with parents of your Black students?
  4. In what ways do you incorporate the cultural diversity of your Black students into your lesson planning, curriculum work and instructional practice?
  5. When determining learning resources (ex. books, articles) to use with your Black students, do you take the time to assess the historical accuracy or cultural validity of the content?
  6. In what ways are you building positive relationships your Black students and educating yourself about the realities of your Black students’ lives outside of school?
  7. Do you assess the intellectual capabilities of your Black students through a deficit-based lens or focus more on their potential to thrive academically? (Sarfo-Mensah, 2020)

Color Blindness

By stating that one is “color blind” or that they “don’t see color” can be as offensive as saying a blatant racist remark. Even with the best intentions, these statements can be detrimental to a student’s sense of belonging and the relationship they may have with their teacher.  “When race and ethnicity are ignored, teachers miss opportunities to help students connect with what is being taught. Recognizing that a student’s race and ethnicity influences their learning allows teachers to be responsive to individual differences. In some cases, ignoring a student’s race and ethnicity may undermine a teacher’s ability to understand student behavior and student confidence in doing well in a school culture where expectations and communication are unfamiliar. An individual’s race and ethnicity are central to her or his sense of self but they are not the whole of personal identity. Moreover, how important an individual’s race and ethnicity is to her or his identity will vary and teachers need to take that into account as they seek to learn more about their students.” (Teaching Tolerance)

Colorblindness: the New Racism?

The fear of appearing racist also throws up roadblocks. Ross recalled a workshop participant who said she’d been taught to ignore race when she’d gone to college in the 1950s. Now, the woman lamented, she was being urged to practice behavior she considered bigoted.

But claims of colorblindness really are modern-day bigotry, according to Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, a sociology professor at Duke University. In his book White Supremacy and Racism in the Post-Civil Rights Era, Bonilla-Silva argues that racism has become more subtle since the end of segregation. He considers colorblindness the common manifestation of the “new racism.”

“Whites believed that the Sixties was the end of racism,” says Bonilla-Silva, who is a Puerto Rican of African descent. “In truth, we have to admit that struggles of the Sixties and Seventies produced an alteration of the order.” (Scruggs, 2009)

Confronting the Weaponization of Whiteness in Classrooms

But weaponizing whiteness happens in classrooms every day, and it’s not perpetrated only by educators who are openly racist or explicitly biased against students of color. As we’ve witnessed in viral videos, individuals who consider themselves progressive or non-racist also exhibit this behavior. White supremacist or anti-Black attitudes don’t belong to one ideology, one political party or a particular geographical location. Since both anti-Blackness and white supremacy are baked into America’s foundation, they often play out in our daily lives.

The weaponization of whiteness typically happens this way: There is a sense of entitlement, anger and need for retaliation, then feigned fear and, finally, white fragility.

Black students aren’t exempt from this experience. White educators must acknowledge this pattern of behaviors so that they won’t inflict harm on Black students. (Dillard, 2020)

Creating an Anti-Racist Classroom

Even well-intentioned teachers can perpetuate the structural racism built into the fabric of our education system if they are not conscious and do not take active steps to address their own biases, and recognize how those biases can affect practice and decision-making.

Critical Practices for Anti-bias Education

Critical Practices for Anti-bias Education is organized into four sections: Instruction, Classroom Culture, Family and Community Engagement, and Teacher Leadership. In each section, you can explore recommended practices, find helpful explanations and learn how each practice connects to anti-bias education. Drill down further for specific strategies you can try in your own classroom.

How to Be an Antiracist Educator: An Interview With Ibram X. Kendi

In education, nothing is “neutral” when it comes to race. Lesson plans, edtech tools and learning environments either create more equity among students of different races, or more inequity.
That’s what scholar Ibram X. Kendi told EdSurge in an interview Nov. 30 during the 2020 virtual conference of the International Society for Technology in Education. (ISTE is the parent organization of EdSurge.)

Kendi, the bestselling author of books including “How to Be an Antiracist” and “Stamped from the Beginning,” is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, as well as the founder and director of the institution’s new Center for Antiracist Research.

During the conversation with EdSurge, Kendi shared his perspective about inequitable education outcomes and how antiracist policy changes could benefit the students who grow up with the least access to resources in their homes and schools. (Koenig, 2020)

How to Be an Antiracist Educator
  1. Engage in Vigilant Self-Awareness
    Some questions to ask yourself include: How does your identity provide or prevent access to necessary resources? How does your power and privilege show up in your work with students, take up space, or silence others? What single narratives are you telling yourself about students, and how does that affect grading, behavior management, and other interactions? Do you and the academic materials you use uphold whiteness or lift up the voices and experiences of people of color?
  2. Acknowledge Racism and the Ideology of White Supremacy
    Acknowledging the social construct of race and racism and the ideology of white supremacy recognizes the problem so that we are not harmful in our ignorance and so that, together, we can strive for solutions. For educators of color, the work means continuing to call out racism and recruiting white coconspirators to join in antiracist work.
  3. Study and Teach Representative History
    No matter what subject you teach, history (including African American history, which is U.S. history) is important. Knowing our country’s whole history helps us make sense of how our current education system perpetuates inequity.
  4. Talk About Race with Students
    To open up conversations with young people, use stories from history and literature as a starting point, and ask students to take on the perspective of a character about whom they are reading. Reading literature and role-playing enhance empathy and other social cognitive skills.
  5. When You See Racism, Do Something
    Most important, when we see racism—whether at the individual or policy level—we must have the courage to act. White Fragility author Robin DiAngelo provides guidance for engaging in gentle but firm conversations with offenders that prevents the defensiveness that race conversations inspire. (Simmons, 2019)

Five Ways to Encourage and Celebrate Diversity with Early Learners

It is also important for adults to eliminate the taboo of talking about these important topics. Remove the “shhhs” and whispers around topics related to race, gender, religion, or family structure. If something is said that seems embarrassing, correct it, share facts, and ask questions. If you demonstrate that you are comfortable (even if inside you may not be), your children are more likely to be as well. (Roberts, 2020)

How to Talk to Kids about Race and Racism

When children begin growing curious about the world around them, they usually look to their parents to explain. But, what if you honestly don’t know what to say? Benites says, “Parents need to know it’s okay not to know. It can be natural to want to have all the answers, but sometimes the best answer is, ‘I’m not sure. But let’s look into it and learn about it together.’” This way, you’re not just showing your children the importance of admitting when you’re uncertain about something, but also keeping the conversation moving forward in a positive direction. Additionally, it’s okay to return to a question if you don’t know what to say right away, Winkler says. There’s always time to loop back; we’ve never “missed the moment.”

Intersectional Identities: Do Educators Empower or Oppress?

Educators must recognize their students’ identities to avoid this. Christina Torres, who teaches seventh- and ninth-grade English, told Teaching Tolerance, “When I don’t consider intersectionality, I run the risk of oppressing my kids. When we stop seeing our kids as whole people—as nuanced people, with context to gender and race and class—we stop seeing them as real people.” This includes religion, too.

To my past educators who ignored my identities, aren’t I a whole person? (Asengua, 2019).

It’s Still Good to Talk About Race

​While I’m not suggesting that we start identifying people solely on race, I don’t think we have to fear it. Race is one of many facets that identify a person. We want to be aware. Not like comedian Stephen Colbert who says that he doesn’t see race, but people tell him he’s white and he believes them because police officers call him “sir.”
As a teacher, I have a lot to learn about the subject of race. Sometimes I’m afraid of how a conversation will sound, coming from a privileged white person. So I avoid it. At other times, I have wanted to skip immediately to the lesson for the day and ignore the students’ questions and ideas. But that is when I need to take a deep breath and be engaged. (Harris, 2012)

Racial Healing Handbook–Excerpt from The Racial Healing Handbook

You can see that becoming an antiracist is an ongoing practice and process, exactly opposite of color blindness. You want to be able to see and identify everything about racism. You want to know what your part in racism is. You continuously raise your race-consciousness. And you do this alongside a multitude of different types of people on the same journey. You expect the feelings of anger, frustration, sadness, rage, irritation, grief, and other emotions as you challenge racism, as we discussed in chapter 4.

Robin DiAngelo on Educators’ “White Fragility”

White teachers must understand that there is a deep history of harm between children of color and the institution of schooling. Our schools have not done right by children of color; they have reproduced profound racial inequality. Our schools are vastly unequal. They are funded and staffed differently. Poor black children get the worst of the worst in those terms. The school-to-prison pipeline is a classic example of this; there’s disparity in discipline rates, in who gets sent to special education, who gets expelled, and how we interpret curiosity versus disruption.

Parents of color are delivering their precious children into an institution that has consistently harmed them. White teachers need to understand that parents’ distrust is rational and has been earned across history. Rather than demand trust, you need to earn it. You need to show them that you’re different, not tell them that you’re different. These parents are simply advocating for their children; find ways to work with them rather than refuse to engage with their fear and mistrust. (McKibbon, 2019)

Summer Institute on Education, Equity, and Justice: Uplifting Women & Girls of Color Through Antiracist Pedagogy, Practice, & Policy

American University’s School of Education (SOE) is committed to equity and excellence in education. Our vision is to create meaningful impact by advocating for inclusive learning environments through our research, teaching, service and community outreach.

This year’s theme is Uplifting Women and Girls of Color Through Antiracist Pedagogy, Practice, and Policies.

The institute’s workshops, conducted by experts in the field, focus on educational, legal, and health implications for young people of color. Sessions are designed to change both mindsets and practices (i.e. alternatives to suspension/punishment; strategies to instill a culture of engagement). The overall goal of SIEEJ is to build a community of practice singularly focused on the strengths, challenges, and opportunities in the lives of young people of color and the communities in which they live.

Systemic Racism Explained

Systemic racism affects every area of life in the US. From incarceration rates to predatory loans, and trying to solve these problems requires changes in major parts of our system. Here’s a closer look at what systemic racism is, and how we can solve it.

Talking to Kids About Racism, Early and Often

Ultimately, words and books should not be the end of your child’s education about race and racism. “The best advice I can give parents is to be models for the attitudes, behavior and values that they wish to see in their children,” said Nia Heard-Garris, M.D., an attending physician at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. (Grose, 2020)

Milton Elementary School faculty participated in reflective circles after reading this article. Here are some questions we reflected on:

  1. ​When are you most conscious of your race? Share an experience of being particularly conscious of your race.
  2. When are you most conscious of the race of others?
  3. Is there a time where you avoided a question from a child about race or difference? If you could change your response, what would you say?

The Antiracism Starter Kit

The purpose of The Antiracism Starter Kit is not to teach you the skills it takes to become antiracist. It is to help you navigate your next steps after answering the call to become antiracist. It is meant to be used as a blueprint as you find your own rhythm in this work that is sustainable and practice for how you learn as an individual. You should use the Starter Kit to guide your next steps as you explore education options to further your understanding of antiracism and what is expected of you. Read it thoroughly and revisit it often along your journey to see whether you’re in alignment with the goals you’ve set for yourself.

The Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture

Below is a list of characteristics of white supremacy culture which show up in our organizations. Culture is powerful precisely because it is so present and at the same time so very difficult to name or identify. The characteristics listed below are damaging because they are used as norms and standards without being pro-actively named or chosen by the group. They are damaging because they promote white supremacy thinking. They are damaging to both people of color and to white people. Organizations that are people of color-led or a majority people of color can also demonstrate many damaging characteristics of white supremacy culture. (Jones & Okun, 2001)

The Difference Between Racism and Colorism

In the meantime, skin color will continue to serve as the most obvious criterion in determining how a person will be evaluated and judged. In this country, because of deeply entrenched racism, we already know that dark skin is demonized and light skin wins the prize. And that occurs precisely because this country was built on principles of racism. It cannot be overstated that if racism didn’t exist, a discussion about varying skin hues would simply be a conversation about aesthetics. But that’s not the case. The privileging of light skin over dark is at the root of an ill known as colorism. (Tharps, 2016).

Tool: Recognizing Microaggressions and the Messages They Send

Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership (from Diversity in the Classroom, UCLA Diversity & Faculty Development, 2014). The first step in addressing microaggressions is to recognize when a microaggression has occurred and what message it may be sending. The context of the relationship and situation is critical. Below are common themes to which microaggressions attach.

What Anti-racist Teachers Do Differently

To fight against systemic racism means to buck norms. Educators at every level must be willing to be uncomfortable in their struggle for black students, recognizing students’ power and feeding it by honoring their many contributions to our schools. Teachers need to insist on using their own power to consistently reveal and examine their practice, and seek input from black stakeholders; they must invite black parents to the table, listen to their concerns and ideas, and act on them. (McKamey, 2020)

When black people are in pain, white people just join book clubs (PDF Copy)

What they do is never enough. This isn’t the time to circle up with other white people and discuss black pain in the abstract; it’s the time to acknowledge and examine the pain they’ve personally caused. Black people live and die every day under the burdens of a racism more insidious than the current virus that’s also disproportionately killing us. And yet white people tend to take a slow route to meaningful activism, locked in familiar patterns, seemingly uninterested in really advancing progress. (Johnson, 2020)

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack Peggy McIntosh

My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will. My schooling followed the pattern my colleague Elizabeth Minnich has pointed out: whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal, so that when we work to benefit others, this is seen as work that will allow “them” to be more like “us.” (McIntosh, 1988)

White Teachers at the Crossroads

To play a significant role, White teachers need to learn specific strategies of curriculum inclusion, culturally sensitive (relevant) pedagogy, and skills for promoting understanding, tolerance, friendship and respect for diversity in particular communities. Working in communities of color, White teachers need to hone these skills in close partnership with more experienced colleagues who have the community’s best interests at heart. (King, 2000)

Op-Ed: White Teachers Need to Check Their Racism Before Teaching It

As a Black educator and instructional coach who has spent the past 10 years in the public education system, I have witnessed how white teachers and white students benefit from racism while many claim to not be a part of the problem. What is important to understand is that, at the very minimum, their presence is their privilege.

For white teachers of white students, conversations about race and racism live within an invisible cloak of privilege. From my perspective, it seems like many white people have adopted this idea of, “What we refuse to see, isn’t there, and if it is there, we simply do not need to discuss it because it doesn’t affect us.” But racism does affect them, it just affects them differently. How? Because they benefit from it. (Gross, undated)

Scaffolded Anti-Racist Resources

This is a working document for scaffolding anti-racism resources. The goal is to facilitate growth for white folks to become allies, and eventually accomplices for anti-racist work. These resources have been ordered in an attempt to make them more accessible. We will continue to add resources. UPDATED 06/12/20

Looking for immediate action steps? Click here: Resources for Accountability and Actions for Black Lives

Why NEA Members Are Talking About Racism

Most people don’t want to confront their own implicit biases—the kind that drive unconscious discipline decisions, or class placement. “For a teacher, [implicit bias] might affect who gets suspended because ‘you need to be taught a lesson’ and who’s given a second chance because ‘all of us make mistakes,’” says Eskelsen García, “or who gets counseled into college-level courses and who gets tracked into remedial reading.”

Implicit bias also blinds us to institutional racism, “so that sometimes we don’t see what needs to be disrupted and dismantled,” she says. We have to seek the truth, see it, and talk about it—even if it is uncomfortable. And then we have to act. Information is fine, but “if it’s not a step to action, it doesn’t count.” (Flannery, 2019)

Why Conversations About Racism Belong in the Classroom

But Olsen Edwards, who also works as an anti-bias consultant for K-12 schools, likes to flip that last excuse on its head.

“Kids love to hear [that] bad things happen and people change it,” she said. “People can make injustice into justice. There are heroes — real heroes — in the world. … And it’s that framework that makes it really useful to children.”

Dwayne Reed, a fifth-grade teacher in Chicago, said that as difficult as it may seem, educators need to have these conversations.

“Race and privilege and bias and prejudice — these are part of our life,” he said. “So, let’s talk about it.”

7 Most Common Myths About Racial Equity

If you’re willing to acknowledge that privilege exists, then it doesn’t necessarily mean you should give up your advantages, but it does suggest you have the opportunity to help those who are disadvantaged. That could mean mentorship, sponsorship or advocacy on behalf of a Black employee to help them overcome certain obstacles when they are in — and out of — the room. It could also mean going as far as Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit, who stepped down from the board of Reddit and urged the board to fill his seat with a Black candidate. (Pickett, 2020)

This article is mostly related to businesses and their systems but it the lessons are applicable to education. How might you embody these lessons in your practice or day-to-day interactions?

A Strategy for Overcoming Equity Issues in Gifted Programs

Universal screening, some school districts say, makes access to gifted education more fair—but costs can be high.

Anti-Racist Work in Schools: Are You in it for the Long Haul?

This article encourages readers to reflect on the following questions related to anti-bias anti-racist (ABAR) practices and policies in schools:
If this is the first time your school has focused on ABAR, why is it a priority now?

  • How will you ensure ABAR is not just a box to check, and that no one is able to opt out?
  • How will BIPOC be centered in this work?
  • How will BIPOC be supported in this work?
  • How are you working to create long-lasting change in your community?

At Emotional Meeting, Winooski Students Demand Anti-Racism School Reform

The students laid out their demands in a six-page letter addressed to the school board and district leadership.

They include:

  • the formation of a Racial Truth and Reconciliation Commission tasked with hearing about past occurrences of racial bias and prejudice in the Winooski School District;
  • the formation of an Anti-Racism Committee in the 2020-21 school year through which students can report discrimination;
  • the replacement of the school resource officer with two trauma specialists;
  • an action plan for hiring teachers of color;
  • the requirement to incorporate components of an ethnic studies curriculum and anti-racism pedagogy in the K-12 curriculum;
  • the formation of a committee to evaluate current curriculum, teaching practices and policy to ensure they conform to contemporary ethnic studies and anti-racism standards;
  • biannual workshops to educate and support students and their parents on advocating for themselves;
  • and a mentorship program for English language learners that connects those students with community mentors to help with language skills and advocacy.

After the statements, school board president Michael Decarreau addressed the students.

Award-Winning Teachers Demand 4 Anti-Racist Policies to Ensure Schools Are a Place of Liberation

Black Lives Matter. Thus, Black Lives Matter at school. Because of this resolve, we must ensure schools are a place of liberation. We demand the following:

  • End the School-to-Prison Pipeline
  • Equitable Funding and Resource Allocation
  • Responsive Curriculum and Systems of Evaluation
  • Recruit and Retain Educators of Color

High school students are demanding schools teach more Black history, include more Black authors

Students have advocated for curriculum reform before in American history. But this moment is unique in several ways: For one thing, it’s taking place in the midst of a pandemic that has plunged the nation into crisis. Still, the shifting of human interaction online has actually played into students’ hands — more adept at social media than adults, teens are making canny use of sites such as Facebook and Instagram to plan reforms, put pressure on school officials and draw inspiration from other activists.

Using Data to Advance Racial Equity

It’s important to keep in mind that racial equity issues also intersect with matters relating to other demographic groups, such as gender and class. Breaking up data only by race may reveal that Black students disproportionately receive disciplinary action, as is true in many schools across the country. But adding in gender may uncover connections between race, gender, and specific disciplinary policies, such as how school dress codes often discriminate against Black girls. Collecting and then disaggregating for a variety of demographic factors can help uncover such inequities. (Ford, 2020)

It Will Take More Than a Name Change to Rid Your School of White Supremacy

To some, white supremacy only means extreme violence and calculated menace from an era we have left behind—white hoods gathered at night beneath burning crosses. Time may have passed, but white hoods have transformed into police uniforms, teaching attire, corporate suits and business casual garb on the streets of our nation.

In our education system, it shows up in school policies that ban Black children from wearing their hair in natural styles or when schools don’t bother to translate important communication for non-English speaking families. It shows up as a noticeable difference in vendors who resemble the student population and serve the school community in a social sense—not simply business. It shows when districts post equity statements and continue to ignore widening achievement gaps between their white students and students of color—or low literacy rates among their African American students. (Jones, 2020)

The Politics of Creating Diverse Schools

A new upsurge in polling data on school integration offers some broader context for what I heard in Richmond. Overall, 53 percent of Americans say the federal government should take steps to reduce racial segregation in schools. Marked variations by race are apparent, though: 43 percent of white respondents thought the federal government should intervene to reduce racial segregation compared to 78 percent of black and 76 percent of Hispanic respondents, according to a Gallup poll released in the fall of 2019. When asked if it was important that children of different races go to school together, about 81 percent of families, on average, agreed, according to a separate Harvard-based poll from the same time period. Support was roughly even across geography (e.g., urban, suburban, rural), political parties, race, and gender. And there were signs that support for racially diverse schools was rising in today’s divisive political climate. (Siegel‐Hawley, 2020)

The Secret Shame: ​How America’s Most Progressive Cities Betray Their Commitment to Educational Opportunity for All

Public education is central to American democracy. Ideally, children from every area of our country can graduate from effective and well-resourced schools that prepare them equally for active citizenship and meaningful lives. Yet, the conditions in our schools are not ideal. Schools across the U.S. tend to struggle with educating black and Latino students when compared to their white peers. This is the case even in cities where there is notable progress on other important issues like immigration, health care and neighborhood revitalization. In fact, as we show in this report, highly prosperous cities with progressive residents have particularly poor outcomes for children living at the margins. It is ironic that this is happening for children living in cities that are best positioned to reverse the nation’s shameful education “achievement gap.” (Brightbeam, 2020)

To see recommendations, click here.

We can draw school zones to make classrooms less segregated. This is how well your district does.

But this exact strategy — gerrymandering school districts to include certain kinds of students and exclude others — can also be used to integrate a school, rather than segregate them.

In America, there is already a massive amount of residential segregation, shaped by a long history of racist government policies. This is why everyone going to the nearest school perpetuates very segregated classrooms. But using school zones, we can actually gerrymander these lines so we’re not recreating the underlying segregation. (Chang, 2018)

We All Must Call Out Inequitable Grading Practices

This work of disrupting inequities needs to be done because the privileged and those in power continue to widen the gap between themselves and those without opportunities. As educators, we must seek justice and equity for our students. It is our responsibility to call out flaws in our education system without fear or apprehension. And, as grading policies are systemic structures that have contributed to racism and injustice, it is also our responsibility to call out inequitable grading practices.

Black Lawmakers Must Prioritize Educational Opportunity for Black Families

That is why, on July 14, we sent letters to members of the Congressional Black Caucus urging support for a proposal to expand educational freedom and opportunity. In a time of crisis, those entrusted with the power to protect and serve our communities must rise to the occasion and ensure learning continues for all children in America. They know that a high-quality education has the power to change the life of a child in unassailable ways, just as a low-quality, inequitable education has the power to stifle the minds of students, especially those from low-income and minority communities. By law, parents face arrest for not sending their kids to school, but the law doesn’t provide a choice for parents to send them to a quality school.  (Merriweather and Blanks, 2020)

Teaching children to be antiracist: Award-winning author Ibram X. Kendi discusses his latest book, ‘Antiracist Baby’

Antiracism scholar Ibram X. Kendi doesn’t believe it’s possible to be “not racist.” The award-winning author, director of Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research, and the 2020/2021 Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study said during a recent TED interview that “the heartbeat of racism itself has always been denial, and the sound of that heartbeat has always been ‘I’m not racist.’ And so what I am trying to do with my work is to really get Americans to eliminate the concept of ‘not racist’ from their vocabulary and realize, we’re either being racist or antiracist.” Kendi, author of “How to Be an Antiracist” and the National Book Award-winning “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,” has just released “Antiracist Baby,” a board-book primer for children and parents. The Gazette spoke with Kendi about his latest work, how to start difficult conversations about racism with children and adults, and how to go about dismantling racist policies.

Classroom Libraries as Windows and Mirrors: Ensuring Diverse, Representative Books for Our Students

Classroom Library Questionnaire

This tool can also be completed by students (upper Elementary/Middle/High School) to critique their classroom library collection (or school library) and provide feedback as to what gaps are present.

Can children’s books help build a better world?

I feel the idea of “us and them” lies at the root of many problems in the world. When a group of people see themselves as “us”, and reject everyone else as “them”, prejudice, exclusion and violence often follow. You can see this happen with nationality, ethnicity, religion, class, gender, sexuality, ability. You can see it at every level of human life: from playground gangs to countries at the UN.

I think books can help transcend “us and them”. Fiction lets us experience another existence as if it was our own, because readers bring stories to life in their own minds, each in their own way. That’s why reading books increases empathy: something neuroscientists have now proved.

Diverse Leveled Bookrooms

Lee & Low Books is proud to be the nation’s largest publisher of multicultural children’s books. With the launch of our new Diverse Reading Bookrooms, districts across the country will now be able to bring more equity, inclusion, and diversity into their leveled bookrooms. We will work with you to ensure your students have access to hundreds of award-winning, culturally responsive, contemporary books at the levels they need.

Learn more at:

Guide for Selecting Anti-Bias Children’s Books

Children’s books continue to be an invaluable source of information and values. They reflect the attitudes in our society about diversity, power relationships among different groups of people, and various social identities (e.g., racial, ethnic, gender, economic class, sexual orientation, and disability). The visual and verbal messages young children absorb from books (and other media) heavily influence their ideas about themselves and others. Depending on the quality of the book, they can reinforce (or undermine) children’s affirmative self-concept, teach accurate (or misleading) information about people of various identities, and foster positive (or negative) attitudes about diversity. Children’s books teach children about who is important, who matters, who is even visible. Consequently, carefully choosing quality children’s books is an indispensable educational and child-rearing task. (Derman-Sparks, 2016).

How to Actually Implement More Diverse Libraries at Your School

Book Smarts

Both Nuñez-Janes and Sanchez say that the storytelling process is central to classroom publishing. Their students join a story circle to share their experiences and help each other decide where their strongest stories lie. Then they write. It’s a delicate process, says Sanchez.“You don’t really know what’s going to happen because you don’t know what’s in the room until you ask.” (Pettway, 2015)

Missing Adventures: Diversity and Children’s Literature | Brynn Welch | TEDxEHC

Children’s literature allows us to imagine a world of adventures, both ordinary and extraordinary. So what does it say about our imagination that most characters in that world are white? In this talk, Brynn Welch argues we are all responsible for the adventures that are missing.

Dr. Welch’s research and teaching interests are in applied ethics and social/political philosophy. She has published in Social Theory and Practice, Journal of Medical Ethics, Journal of Political Philosophy, and Economics and Philosophy. Her work focuses on whether and to what extent public social justice goals should constrain private individual family decisions, such as what we owe our parents, whether to have children, where to send those children to school, and even what children’s books to purchase.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Picture This: Diversity in Children’s Books 2018 Infographic

As with the 2015 infographic, we relied on the multicultural publishing statistics compiled by the librarians at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) that were “about” particular populations: American Indian/First Nation, Latinx, African/African American, and Asian Pacific Islander/Asian Pacific American.

One important distinction between the 2015 and 2018 infographics is that we made a deliberate decision to crack a section of the children’s mirrors (Rudine Sims Bishop, “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors,” 1990) to indicate what Debbie Reese calls “funhouse mirrors” and Ebony Elizabeth Thomas calls “distorted funhouse mirrors of the self.” Children’s literature continues to misrepresent underrepresented communities, and we wanted this infographic to show not just the low quantity of existing literature, but also the inaccuracy and uneven quality of some of those books.

Reading Diversity Lite: A Tool for Selecting Diverse Texts (Teacher’s Edition)

Reading Diversity: A Tool for Selecting Diverse Texts (Extended Edition) 

Selecting and Rating Titles for Social Justice Books

Here are examples of guiding questions we share with students who are examining books (text and illustrations) in their home or school libraries. We use these same questions (and many more) when developing the book lists and selecting book reviews for this website.

  • How many books by or about people of color and Native Americans do you see?
  • Does this reflect the diversity that you see in your school, community, and/or the world?
  • Are people of color engaged in a range of activities and in contemporary settings? (Or just in historic injustices?)
  • If the books are about a famous person, is it someone you have not heard of or one of the same few people already on your bookshelf?
  • Is change made by an individual hero or a group effort?
  • Are there examples of “ordinary” people organizing and challenging injustice?
  • Are the root causes of inequities included or just the symptoms?
  • Are the books affirming, honest, age-appropriate, and read-me-again interesting?
  • What is the relationship of the author to the people and theme of the book?

The Black-Owned Bookstores You Should Be Supporting Right Now

Along with protesting and donating, many non-Black people are also taking the current Black Lives Matter demonstrations as inspiration to educate themselves — an action that is long overdue. The past week marks a breaking point in U.S. history, with millions of people demanding action in response to the ever-mounting list of instances of police brutality against Black Americans. As Angela Davis said, it’s not enough to not be racist, you must be actively anti-racist, the distinction between which can be learned by reading books by Black authors and scholars. With that in mind, it’s important to think about how Black people are supported and prioritized in every aspect of non-Black people’s actions moving forward. If you’re looking for books to educate yourself on Black history and anti-racism, make sure you’re buying them from Black-owned businesses. (Lindsay, 2020)

Transformational Texts: Using Children’s Literature to Open Doors on Historical and Current Events

Speakers: Jinnie Spiegler, Director of Curriculum and Training, and Libby Otto, Associate Director of Curriculum and Training, ADL
Books for young children about historical topics like enslavement, the Holocaust, Japanese-American internment, voting rights, segregation and genocide present these subjects with both sensitivity and insight. When it comes to current event topics there are many excellent books about immigration and the refugee crisis, racial justice, transgender rights, marriage equality and activism among others. Viewers will explore these compelling picture books from our Books Matter collection. and learn how they can be used to build empathy, provide the groundwork for both historical and literary analysis, and identify questions for further research.

Anti-Racism Calendar

A Vermont teen found a way to creatively help others grow into becoming better allies for the people of color in their communities with an anti-racist calendar.
Sixteen-year-old Tilly Krishna thought that there was a need for a simple resource to help people become more aware of Black history and bias in their own lives and communities.

“Before recently, when people said racism, people think it’s just saying the N-word or very explicit things like that, but… it’s not just one person making a snide comment, it’s systemic things and institutionalized oppression we still have,” Krishna told CNN. (Johnson, 2020)

Mix It Up at Lunch

Mix It Up at Lunch Day is an international campaign that encourages students to identify, question and cross social boundaries. Schools can register to host a Mix It Up event on any day of the year!

Visit this link to get more information and access to resources.

#USvsHate challenge

#USvsHate is a program led by young people and the educators who work with them, and its goal is as simple as it is ambitious: to stand up against bigotry and create safe and welcoming schools for all.

Learn from action research

Seek Professional Development

Participate in the 21-Day Challenge

For 21 days, do one action to further your understanding of power, privilege, supremacy, oppression, and equity.

Plan includes suggestions for readings, podcasts, videos, observations, and ways to form and deepen community connections. Suggestions are in the following categories: ReadListenWatchNoticeConnectEngageActReflectStay Inspired

Use the tracking chart provided below to stay on course. You can drag the image to your desktop and print, or you can access a digital version here and copy it for editing.

We think understanding white privilege and white supremacy is a powerful lens into the complexities of doing social justice work, so we’ve focused our resources on that specific issue.

Adaptable to all forms of social justice.

Can be done individually, with friends and family, or organization-wide.

Like our Facebook page. Use it to get ideas as well as share your 21-Day experience with the 21-Day community.

*For adaptation ideas and examples of how communities are adapting the challenge to meet their specific social justice focus, click HERE.

Re-Think, Re-Connect, Re-Imagine

Congratulations! You are about to embark on a journey of discovery, which may lead you to re-think your privilege, re-connect with your students and re-imagine a world where everyone is valued for who they are.

Start following the Anti-Racist Teacher Planner
Reflect on Your Experience and Teaching
Why Teaching Black Lives Matter Matters | Part I

When the Black Lives Matter movement comes up in conversation, it is often characterized in one of two ways: as the work of strategic activists drawing attention to and combating issues that harm black people, black communities and humanity at large, or as a movement marked by violent outbursts and driven by an exclusionary, racist, anti-police agenda.

This split gives some educators pause when it comes to teaching about BLM. Others embrace the topic, recognizing it as an opportunity to teach about collective action and to link past racial justice movements to the present. But all educators, by virtue of the fact that their students have either direct or mediated exposure to Black Lives Matter, should know the basic facts about the movement’s central beliefs and practices.

Not all of us are like Thompson; the students who sit in front of us daily are not always directly affected by the killing of unarmed black people or any of the other injustices that plague our nation. But as teachers who function as caretakers, truth-seekers and advocates of justice, we can acknowledge how the threat of justice in one community is, to borrow from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a threat to justice in every community. We have a civic responsibility to be educated about Black Lives Matter and, as we learn, we must teach. (Pitts, 2017)

Bringing Black Lives Matter Into the Classroom | Part II

Teaching about BLM isn’t just about police brutality and the ways an organization is seeking to end it. Bringing this movement to the classroom can open the door to larger conversations about truth, justice, activism, healing and reconciliation.

The work required to teach about Black Lives Matter is extensive and heavy, but this topic can be addressed effectively in classrooms—at any grade level. (Pitts, 2017)

Black Lives Matter at School Resource Toolkit (Recognized February 17th)

As educators, we need to have courageous, honest dialogues about race, and about what is happening in our society and in our students’ lives. Building strong relationships with students and colleagues is a critical component of our work to know “Every Student By Face and Name. Every School, Every Classroom. To and Through Graduation.” This document is intended to provide you with resources to use in preparing to participate in this day of affirmation. Thank you for partnering with us in this work to improve the Rochester community.

Why You Need to Stop Saying “All Lives Matter”

Why do those who counter black lives matter act as though black people aren’t aware of the glaring disproportionate statistics of police brutality, of health care racism, and of mass incarceration? This is our reality. You deciding to ignore it for your own comfort doesn’t make it any less true.

If a patient being rushed to the ER after an accident were to point to their mangled leg and say, “This is what matters right now,” and the doctor saw the scrapes and bruises of other areas and countered, “but all of you matters,” wouldn’t there be a question as to why he doesn’t show urgency in aiding that what is most at risk?

A District Profile | Black Lives Matter at School

The committee drafted and presented a resolution before the Rochester Teachers Association’s Representative Assembly. The resolution states, “[S]chools should be places for the practice of equity, for the building of understanding, and for the active engagement of all in creating pathways to freedom and justice for all people.” It passed unanimously, with the association endorsing and encouraging district teachers to participate in a “day of understanding” that affirms that black lives matter at school.

Shortly thereafter, the Rochester Board of Education and Association of Supervisors and Administrators of Rochester voted to adopt similar resolutions, making “Black Lives Matter at School” an official initiative of the district.

In a letter to all staff, the district superintendent and senior district leaders articulated the vision for the day: “Through our collective participation … students will learn that their school district: understands inequities based on race; affirms that the lives of people of color matter; believes that we all have a responsibility to work for equity.” (Lindberg, 2017)

Responding to Common Anti-BLM Phrase

Teaching #BlackLivesMatter

In support of the Movement for Black Lives, we share this collection of teaching ideas and resources. The Movement for Black Lives challenges the ongoing murders of African Americans by the police and the long history of institutionalized racism. This resource collection was originally published in August of 2014, after the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. See additional resources compiled for the Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action. Updated February 2018.

Teaching in Solidarity

“I think the pedagogy in the classroom is important, but it rings hollow if you’re telling your kids, ‘Here are the great movements for social and racial justice’ and engaging them in those conversations, but then not doing it yourself in your own life,” Hagopian says. “I think it’s incumbent upon social justice educators who are teaching this stuff to also live it, and that means getting involved with the Black Lives Matter at School movement, to get involved with the movements for structural change. (Dillard, 2019)

Why are school police twice as likely to arrest Black students in Indiana than white students?

More than a quarter of the 1,217 arrests in Indiana schools in 2018-19 were of Black students, even though they only made up 14% of the state’s student population, raising questions of racial bias and educational inequity.

The consequences can be dire: Students who are arrested are less likely to graduate or succeed academically and more likely to be involved with the criminal justice system in the future, research has found. (Wang & McCoy, 2020)

5 Keys to Challenging Implicit Bias

Challenge implicit biases by identifying your own, teaching colleagues about them, observing gap-closing teachers, stopping “tone policing,” and tuning into such biases at your school. (Safir, 2016)

Anti-Bias Education

Anti-bias curriculum is an approach to early childhood education that sets forth values-based principles and methodology in support of respecting and embracing differences and acting against bias and unfairness. Anti-bias teaching requires critical thinking and problem solving by both children and adults. The overarching goal is creating a climate of positive self and group identity development, through which every child will achieve her or his fullest potential.

The book, Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves, by Louise Derman-Sparks and Julie Olsen Edwards, offers practical guidance to early childhood educators (including parents) for confronting and eliminating barriers of prejudice, misinformation, and bias about specific aspects of personal and social identity; most importantly, it includes tips for adults and children to respect each other, themselves, and all people. Below you will find recommended books for young children, teachers, and parents for each chapter as well as additional resources on anti-bias themes and topics.

How Implicit Bias Impacts Our Children in Education

The first step in overcoming implicit bias is to identify and acknowledge the bias. The next step is to stop the bias while it is occurring. The third step is taking action to change the bias. Studies have shown that we all have implicit bias as it is part of our subconscious and everyday life. We need to acknowledge that bias in ourselves through self-awareness. Next, we need to question ourselves when one of our own stereotypes manifests itself and replace it by asking ourselves to look at the situational circumstances that could have impacted a person’s behavior rather than our stereotype that we hold. We need to change our prejudiced habits by asking questions and engaging with others who are different from us.

Project Implicit from Harvard

Forget Implicit Bias, Let’s Talk about Explicit Bias in Education

Explicit bias underlies the troubling conclusion from TNTP’s Opportunity Myth report that “classrooms that served predominantly students from higher-income backgrounds spent twice as much time on grade-appropriate assignments and five times as much time with strong instruction, compared to classrooms with predominantly students from low-income backgrounds.”

These aren’t some deep-down inside, subconscious, “I had no idea what was doing” beliefs. These are actual actions of explicit bias that occur every day and carry far more drastic consequences than the occasional viral picture or Facebook post of racist teachers. And these every day actions of explicit bias are equally, if not more deserving of our outrage because these have real consequences for our children. (Seale, 2019)

Four Ways Teachers Can Reduce Implicit Bias
  1. Cultivate awareness of their biases
  2. Work to increase empathy and empathic communication
  3. Practice mindfulness and loving-kindness
  4. Develop cross-group friendships in their own lives

Implicit Bias vs. Explicit Bias: What’s the difference?

Listen as Dr. CI breaks down the difference between implicit bias vs. explicit bias!

Implicit bias is something that is unconscious- you don’t know you are doing it. An explicit bias is a conscious bias you are aware of. There is a difference- an implicit bias can transfer to an explicit bias when you consciously aware of your prejudice.

Peanut Butter, Jelly and Racism

Understanding Anti-Bias Education: Bringing the Four Core Goals to Every Facet of Your Curriculum

“These types of cultural biases are like smog in the air,” Jennifer Richeson, a Yale psychologist, wrote in an email, citing an analogy often used by a former president of Spelman College, Beverly Daniel Tatum. “To live and grow up in our culture, then, is to ‘take in’ these cultural messages and biases and do so largely unconsciously.”

In the context of race, implicit bias is considered a particularly important idea because it acknowledges forces beyond bigotry that perpetuate inequality. If we talk less about it, as Mr. Pence suggested — this “really has got to stop,” he said Tuesday night — we lose vocabulary that allows us to confront racial disparities without focusing on the character of individual people. (Badger, 2016)

We’re All a Little Biased, Even if We Don’t Know It

“These types of cultural biases are like smog in the air,” Jennifer Richeson, a Yale psychologist, wrote in an email, citing an analogy often used by a former president of Spelman College, Beverly Daniel Tatum. “To live and grow up in our culture, then, is to ‘take in’ these cultural messages and biases and do so largely unconsciously.”

In the context of race, implicit bias is considered a particularly important idea because it acknowledges forces beyond bigotry that perpetuate inequality. If we talk less about it, as Mr. Pence suggested — this “really has got to stop,” he said Tuesday night — we lose vocabulary that allows us to confront racial disparities without focusing on the character of individual people. (Badger, 2016)

Neil deGrasse Tyson on being Black, and Women in Science

Neil deGrasse Tyson was asked: Why aren’t there more women in science?He points out that he’s never been a woman, but he does know what it’s like to pursue a career in a field that defied the expectations of society. He tells the audience that when he would tell teachers he wanted to be a scientists, they would ask him why he didn’t want to be an athlete. Tyson pointed out that a black kid choosing a field in science was “hands down the path of most resistance” and that it was only through a constant struggle that he got to where he wanted to go. He then wonders aloud about the many other kids who didn’t make it, because of the societal forces that put up barriers for them at every turn.

That, he concludes, is where we should be looking for the answers to the “male-female” and the “white-minority” gaps that pervade scientific fields. Start there.

“Before we start talking about genetic differences, you got to come up with a system that is equal opportunity. Then we can have that conversation.”

Trailer for Hidden Figures

The film “Hidden Figures,” based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly, focuses on Katherine Johnson (left), Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan, African-American women who were essential to the success of early spaceflight. NASA embraces their legacy and strives to include everyone who wants to participate in ongoing exploration.Words from NASA’s From Hidden to Modern Figures website.

How Culturally Responsive Lessons Teach Critical Thinking

​In the following excerpt from the 2019 collection Democratic Discord in Schools: Cases and Commentaries in Educational Ethics, Clint Smith responds to a case study titled “Bending Toward—or Away From—Racial Justice?” The study follows an instructional support specialist tasked with implementing a new, culturally responsive curriculum. The specialist faces challenges from families demonstrating white fragility and educators unwilling or unprepared to teach the new lessons.

Culturally Responsive Learning Environments for Black Girls In the Digital Age

Dr. Joshua Schuschke will discuss “Expectations, Opportunities, and Futures: Culturally Responsive Learning Environments for Black Girls in the Digital Age” Bring your lunch and join us!

Teaching Young Women of Color: Antiracist Practices and Strategies

This session focuses on antiracist and culturally responsive strategies that the audience can utilize in learning environments. Presenters: Dr. Jenice View (George Mason University) and Dr. Meredith Anderson (United Negro College Fund). Facilitated by Dr. Samantha Cohen, Director of AU EdD Program.

Girls Leadership Report Finds Black and Latinx Girls Are Ready to Lead

Black and Latinx girls need anti-racist, culturally responsive learning environments. They need the support of relatives and of mentors — especially teachers — who look like them. And they need to not be punished for speaking up about their beliefs and opinions.

This Moment Demands a New, Race-Conscious Approach to Education

First, culturally relevant and rigorous curriculum. Second, students experience belonging as scholars in the intellectual community of school. Third, students experience a socially-emotionally and intellectually safe learning environment. Last, listen to students. (Gonzales, 2020)

What Culture Day Gets Wrong

It’s a time-honored school tradition—a day of food and fun celebrating all the cultures represented at your school. Mexican folkloric dance! Korean hanbok fashion show! Spanikopita taste-testing! Unfortunately, however well-intentioned, Culture Day is a misguided effort. And, as you’ll see, these events often have the opposite of their intended effect.

​I say all this acknowledging that I’ve participated in plenty of culture fairs at school. I’ve staffed booths at PTA events for countries I’ve visited (*cringes*). I even orchestrated an entire Amazing Race where students experienced music, food, and holidays from around the world. (Fink, 2020)

Black Minds Matter

When Black students exhibit negative behaviors or become withdrawn, educators often label them as problems and subject them to reactionary, zero-tolerance policies and other practices that disproportionately affect Black students but don’t address the root causes of such behavior.

​This harm manifests in a number of ways: adopting curriculum that isn’t culturally responsive, lowering academic expectations, tracking Black students into remedial or special education classes and seeing Black youth as older and less innocent than their white peers—a bias known as adultification. (Dillard, 2019)

Antiracism in Social-Emotional Learning: Why It’s Not Enough to Talk the Talk

The content of these conversations feel eerily similar to some of education’s favorite social-emotional learning (SEL) slogans: mindfulness, resilience and grit. Mindfulness implores students to remain calm, and take 10 deep breaths when they feel themselves getting angry. Resilience encourages students to hold their heads high despite mistreatment. Grit tells students to persevere in the face of obstacles.

​Some educators believe that mastery of these traits can guarantee a student’s success. But what they overlook is something that every Black parent is painfully aware of: A Black child can do every single one of these things perfectly, and still not make it home. (Weaver, 2020)

Social-Emotional Learning for Black Students is Ineffective When it is Culture-Blind

The ‘educating the whole child’ mantra floats around many districts and is common in reports such as this one by The Learning Policy Institute. I 100% agree with the philosophy of holistic development but have found that culture is seldom central and fundamental to this body of work. Given that most educators and mental health professionals are White and too few have extensive formal preparation in equity, diversity, and inclusion, I am not surprised by the void, but I am disappointed and alarmed. I am concerned for Black students who need SEL guidance (Ford, 2020).

How SEL Can Help Students Gain a Multicultural Perspective

Having a multicultural perspective requires SEL skills, and neither can be conveyed didactically. Both the perspective and skills become developed through guided, lived experience, even in schools that may appear to be lacking diversity — at least on the surface.

​When it comes to developing students’ multicultural perspective, what are your thoughts and ideas?

Why We Can’t Afford Whitewashed Social-Emotional Learning

In addition, many popular SEL approaches do not explicitly confront these forms of violence or other social inequities. Recoiling from topics that divide us—when SEL skills could help us get along better—diminishes SEL’s promise. Why teach relationship skills if the lessons do not reflect on the interpersonal conflicts that result from racism? Why discuss self- and social awareness without considering power and privilege, even if that means examining controversial topics like white supremacy?

​Maintaining a safe space that prevents triggering students is crucially important when infusing SEL opportunities with the sociopolitical context. (Simmons, 2019)

When SEL is Used as Another Form of Policing

Healing, for Black and Brown young people, should be centered in SEL. We must not lose the importance of co-constructing spaces with young people to lean into creative expression and joy — to shift conversations to what Dr. Shawn Ginwright calls a healing-centered perspective, where young people are reminded that they are not just their trauma, but rather all of the ways they continue to dream, imagine, hope, and grow. Let them dance, sing, laugh, play, scream, organize, and encourage all the brilliant ways they show up. SEL devoid of culturally-affirming practices and understandings is not SEL at all.

What Is Social Justice Education Anyway?

“One can agree that education is a great human equalizer, yet there are still schools that have significantly fewer resources and less funding than others. There are still many students, predominantly Black and Brown, who are stereotyped as “below standard” before they are loved, taught, and respected. Teachers are still underpaid and overworked, often blamed for all of the failings of the public education system. However, the problems of the public education system are layered and connected to policymakers, school districts, parents, teachers, students, and deeply entrenched racist ideologies. A surefire way to penetrate the racialized and class-based problems of urban school systems is by adopting a social justice pedagogy.” (Belle, 2019).

Why White Students Need Multicultural and Social Justice Education

A common myth regarding multicultural education is that it is about helping students of color see themselves within the content. But multicultural education is about more than just race: It refers to any form of learning or teaching that incorporates the histories, texts, values, beliefs, and perspectives of people from different cultural backgrounds (Glossary of Education Reform). And even if the majority of your students are White, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t teach from a multicultural perspective. (Eakins, 2020)

Ideas for a Social Justice Framework in all subjects ​

Ideas for a Social Justice Framework in all subjects (Part II)

If You’re Still Wondering Why We Have to Teach Social Justice, Here’s Your Answer

We have to create an environment where they are unafraid to take risks, where they believe that they can be anything. We have to have high expectations. We have to show them that we believe in their ability to be successful. We show them these things through rigorous work tasks and support—if we give them a task, we must show them how to do it. We need to show them that they are loved. We need to show them that they have power.

​Real change, social justice and the school-to-activism pipeline start in our classrooms. If we want to change the world, we have to start with ourselves and then with our students. Tupac Shakur said, “I’m not saying I am going to change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world.” We have that power, educators. We might not change the whole world, but if we just spark the mind of one child in our classroom, we can make a difference. (Wing, 2019)

Selecting and Rating Titles for Social Justice Books

Here are examples of guiding questions we share with students who are examining books (text and illustrations) in their home or school libraries. We use these same questions (and many more) when developing the book lists and selecting book reviews for this website.

  • How many books by or about people of color and Native Americans do you see?
  • Does this reflect the diversity that you see in your school, community, and/or the world?
  • Are people of color engaged in a range of activities and in contemporary settings? (Or just in historic injustices?)
  • If the books are about a famous person, is it someone you have not heard of or one of the same few people already on your bookshelf?
  • Is change made by an individual hero or a group effort?
  • Are there examples of “ordinary” people organizing and challenging injustice?
  • Are the root causes of inequities included or just the symptoms?
  • Are the books affirming, honest, age-appropriate, and read-me-again interesting?
  • What is the relationship of the author to the people and theme of the book?

Social Justice in Higher Education: Contemporary Perspectives from Black Scholars

Dr. Brian McGowan sits down with Dr. Connie Jones, Dr. Katrina Overby, Dr. J.T. Snipes, and Dr. LaWanda Ward to discuss Social Justice in Higher Education.

Social Justice Projects in the Classroom

Successful social justice projects require raising students’ awareness about issues and providing advocacy and aid opportunities.

​“As educators, we’re charged with preparing our students to be successful in life and to be productive members of society. But with all the focus on standardized tests and core curriculum, we’ve forgotten that the concept of literacy should also include culture and tolerance of diverse people and backgrounds.” (Hernandez, 2016)

Teaching Young Children About Bias, Diversity, and Social Justice

Use young children’s understanding of differences to teach social justice through age-appropriate literature, news stories, anti-bias lessons, familiar examples, and problem solving (Spiegler, 2016)

Social Justice Standards

The Social Justice Standards are a set of anchor standards and age-appropriate learning outcomes divided into four domains—identity, diversity, justice and action (IDJA). The standards provide a common language and organizational structure: Teachers can use them to guide curriculum development, and administrators can use them to make schools more just, equitable and safe. The standards are leveled for every stage of K–12 education and include school-based scenarios to show what anti-bias attitudes and behavior may look like in the classroom.

​Teaching about IDJA allows educators to engage a range of anti-bias, multicultural and social justice issues. This continuum of engagement is unique among social justice teaching materials, which tend to focus on one of two areas: either reducing prejudice or advocating collective action. Prejudice reduction seeks to minimize conflict and generally focuses on changing the attitudes and behaviors of a dominant group. Collective action challenges inequality directly by raising consciousness and focusing on improving conditions for under-represented groups. The standards recognize that, in today’s diverse classrooms, students need knowledge and skills related to both prejudice reduction and collective action.

​The Social Justice Standards support the Perspectives for a Diverse America K–12 curriculum. For more information about Perspectives, visit

Talking With Kids (And Parents) About Systemic Racism

An interview featuring Erin Maguire director of equity, diversity and inclusion at the Essex Westford School District and Christie Nold, a social studies teacher at Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School in South Burlington. Both provide essential insight to this work and invite educators (from all backgrounds) to reflect on the systems we have in place and how that affects the learning of our students.

When and how Black caregivers should discuss race and racism with a white family

One of the biggest hurdles when talking to white parents about race, especially as a Black nanny or babysitter, is addressing the myth that race isn’t something they need to acknowledge with their children. “A lot of white parents are steeped in colorblind ideology, and they really think their kid doesn’t notice race,” Pahlke explains.

​When faced with these conversations, it’s important to stress to the parents that children asking about racial differences is not necessarily a reflection on poor parenting, but rather a very normal part of a child’s development. Kids notice race, whether parents talk to them about it or not. (Shabazz, 2020)

Evolving Our Narratives About Race in Schools

The goal in teaching about race and racism is certainly not to whitewash the history of racial terror in this country, but to offer a more complex narrative in which White students can see a different way forward other than being either silent or oppressive, and Students of Color can see themselves outside of the relentless stereotypes that continue to pervade the curricula in U.S. education. It is not an either/or world. So we need to stop offering students simplistic and inaccurate versions of history and racial identity, often relying on myths and stereotypes as the frame for conversations on race in school. We need teachers, in other words, to develop more critical and accurate narratives, nuanced portraits that embrace racial identity and challenge racism. (Mills, Chandler, & Denevi, 2020).

A Student Who Is Ineffectively Taught by an Anti-Racist Teacher Is Not Receiving Justice

Teachers cannot go about their work thinking their classrooms are beacons of justice and antiracism without fully understanding the system students are up against. (Wright, 2020)

A Talk to Teachers

The purpose of education, finally, is to create in a person the ability to look at the world for himself, to make his own decisions, to say to himself this is black or this is white, to decide for himself whether there is a God in heaven or not. To ask questions of the universe, and then learn to live with those questions, is the way he achieves his own identity. (Baldwin, 1963)

Black History Month Teaching: Miseducation or Empowerment?

Too often, African-American students will show frustration and an understandable sense of heaviness when learning about their history, since the narratives that teachers provide are frequently centered around slavery and oppression. These lopsided classroom and societal narratives create inaccurate and imbalanced notions of black identities. By not discussing African Americans of the past with the full range of human experience in mind-never teaching the triumphs with the trials-these narratives feed this perpetual lie of white superiority that we should be working hard to break with our teaching.

While oppression is part of black history and black present, it is imperative that teachers don’t make that the whole story. It is not OK to skip over the innumerable contributions of African Americans to the United States. Black children also need to engage with images and narratives of their people and ancestors as survivors, revolutionaries, artists, scientists, creators, musicians, dancers, astronauts, politicians and pioneers. All students need to engage with black history in this way. (Pitts, 2020)

Black Male Educators Speak

In partnership with Education Post, the Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA) has launched the Black Male Educators Speak video series, focusing on the stories of four Black male teachers in four different cities and exploring the innovative teaching methods they use to engage Black students.

Black teachers matter, for students and communities

But there’s more at stake than the educational benefits of having black teachers for black students. Ultimately, all students benefit from teachers of color, as exposure to individuals from all walks of life can reduce stereotypes, prevent unconscious bias, and prepare students to succeed in a diverse society.

When high-profile incidents of racial hatred occur — as in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015, when nine people were shot and killed during Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, when an alt-right march precipitated the death of an antiracist protester — there is a tendency to circumscribe white supremacy and racism to their most extreme and explosive forms. However, we should not let racism at its most violent distract us from the mundane practices and quiet systems that can help foster notions of white superiority. So I’ll say it again: Representation matters. Not seeing qualified, competent black folk in positions of authority may reinforce the belief, conscious or unconscious, that black people are less worthy in some way than white people. And practices that push black people out of very visible jobs, such as teaching, are harmful to society as a whole. I often say that losing black teachers is proof of the slow leak of democracy. (Perry, 2019)

Don’t Just #RunWithMaud, #Teach4Maud

Teach students that every act against bigotry, no matter how big or small, is powerful. Stop ignoring the prejudiced commentaries at your own dinner table. Stop looking the other way when people in your network make underhanded, thinly-veiled bigoted comments and call out the behavior. We all have a responsibility to stop everyday bias when we #Teach4Maud. As an educator, do the necessary work of examining your own bias and seek to weed out those areas of bias in your life. (Wing, 2020)

Don’t Say Nothing

Moreover, the silence on the part of white teachers who teach black and brown children is insulting. Imagine seeing white people, the perceived dominant race, loving and appreciating black culture when it is pretty—enjoying the music, food, culture and beauty of our people—but remaining silent about our oppression and refusing to see how the beauty of our culture was largely born out of necessity. It hurts students when their teachers only acknowledge what black people have done for this country and not what this country has done to them.

But how encouraging is it to know that we stand in a powerful and political position where we can directly influence and break this silence?

Begin by confronting your own biases—about yourself, your students, your fellow educators, the world. This process is essential; if educators don’t do this, think about how much damage we could do to the open, vulnerable minds of our students. In particular, examine your feelings about the police. And, regardless of your personal feelings about law enforcement, it is critical to understand that many black and brown students have incredibly negative perceptions about the police. This difficult understanding on the part of teachers can hopefully lead to dialogue and healing in schools. (Pitts, 2016)

Ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Zero tolerance and other exclusionary school discipline policies are pushing kids out of the classroom and into the criminal justice system at unprecedented rates. Too many students are lost to our communities this way. Disciplined at disproportionate rates and with heightened severity for minor infractions that used to warrant a trip to the principal’s office, students of color are most impacted.

First Encounters With Race and Racism: Teaching Ideas for Classroom Conversations

This is a guest lesson from Jinnie Spiegler, the director of curriculum at the Anti-Defamation League. She has written for us previously on 10 Ways to Talk to Students About Sensitive Issues in the News.

You might choose to use this lesson with our related Student Opinion question, “Why is race so hard to talk about?” (Spiegler, 2017)

If You Really Want to Make a Difference in Black Lives, Change How You Teach White Kids

If you let them tell it, Black kids are in terrible shape while White children are doing gloriously. But how can White kids be doing okay when they’re growing up to be police officers, district attorneys, mayors, judges, media, mothers, fathers and presidents who take away Black life and call it justified? As Black bodies drop like flies around us from physical, medical, economic, and material deprivation and violence at White hands, how can we in any of our minds or metrics conclude that the Whites are alright? What kind of warped standards are these?

​Because let me tell you something …

  • A child who grows up to put their knee on someone’s neck and kill them in front of a crowd is “culturally deprived.”
  • A child who jumps in a car with their parent and chases down and executes a stranger is a “super predator.”
  • ​A child who grows up to shoot people while they are worshipping is “at-risk.”
  • A child who can grow up and never be confronted with how they benefit from racist violence is “levels behind”. (Webber, 2020)

Intersectional Identities: Do Educators Empower or Oppress?

As educators, you can either empower or oppress students by the way you choose to teach and see them. Your intentional decisions to incorporate some communities and identities into the classroom while leaving others out show which side you choose.

The absence of education that incorporated various identities—and my subsequent, subconscious acceptance of others’ mistreatment of my intersectionality—shows me that the educators in my life chose to oppress.

Mixed-Race Students Need Support

Since the early 1990s, scholars have studied mixed-race and multiracial identity development among college students. While more work needs to be done in this area, researchers continue to grapple with how mixed-race and multiracial students experience higher education. Some have sought to understand mixed and multiracial students’ level of engagement across and within different institutional types.

This work is important because navigating higher education as a mixed or multiracial student comes with unique challenges in areas such as the admissions process, campus life and co-curricular involvement. Some mixed and multiracial students struggle with answering questions about race during the college admissions process and express concerns about the implications for identifying or not identifying with certain racial backgrounds. (Barone, 2018)

On ‘Difficult’ Conversations

This framing also furthers the fiction that when women, first-generation students, low-income students, students with disabilities, transgender students and so forth are in the classroom, faculty members must put aside identity-neutral content and attend to identity. The reality, however, is that all students benefit when a multiplicity of identities are reflected in the classroom, whether in the curriculum or elsewhere.

“Difficult” allows us to dismiss and avoid — to further marginalize those who surface identity by labeling them myopic or as promoting identity politics. Yet all course content reflects identity politics. (Grant, 2020)

Politics In The Classroom: How Much Is Too Much?

Do politics belong in the classroom at all, or should schools be safe havens from never-ending partisan battles? Can teachers use controversial issues as learning opportunities, and, if so, to teach what? And then, the really sticky question: Should teachers share with students their own political viewpoints and opinions?
In their book, The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education, Diana E. Hess and Paula McAvoy offer guidelines to these and other questions, using a study they conducted from 2005 to 2009. It involved 21 teachers in 35 schools and their 1,001 students. Hess is the dean of the school of education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and McAvoy is the program director at UW-Madison’s Center for Ethics and Education.

Schools, they conclude, are and ought to be political places — but not partisan ones. I talked with them recently about how, in today’s highly polarized society, teachers can walk that very fine line. (Drummond, 2015)

Progressive Cities Have Larger Achievement Gaps Than Conservative One

On average, conservative cities own a 26-point gap in black-white math scores, and a 27-point gap for reading — still nowhere near ideal outcomes, but roughly 15 points and 13 points lower, respectively, than what we see in progressive cities.

The embarrassingly inequitable outcomes in progressive cities should ignite the residents of those cities to demand education systems that work equally well for every child, not just because their values demand it, or because the success of the city depends on it, but because addressing it is critical for the children in their cities.

Racial Bias Test (from Harvard)

In the book Blindspot, the authors reveal hidden biases based on their experience with the Implicit Association Test. Project Implicit is graciously hosting electronic versions of Blindspot’s IATs. These should work properly on any desktop computer and on several touch-screen devices including iPads, Android tablets, Nook tablets, and the Kindle Fire.

Reopening schools with a focus on equity

While the list below doesn’t characterize every school in America, some common paradigms dominant in our system include:

  • Deep and persistent disparities in achievement based upon race and class
  • Disproportionate discipline and special education placements for children of color
  • Emphasis on control and compliance
  • Excessive reliance on pressure and fear of failure as motivators
  • An impersonal and often punitive school culture
  • Learning is often characterized by covering material, not enough deep engagement, curiosity, stimulation
  • Take a moment to reflect: Does this accurately describe your school or district? The downside of this paradigm is that it does not lead to better learning outcomes. It simply isn’t working for a majority of our students.

Can schools instead be places where:

  • A child’s race or economic status does not predict how well they will do in school?
  • The culture and language of children are treated as assets and resources to be valued rather than negated by assimilation?
  • Children are inspired, their curiosity is encouraged, and their dreams are fed?
  • Teachers feel appreciated and are able to teach with joy, passion and inspiration? (Noguera, 2020)

Recent High School Graduates Share Suggestions To Combat Systemic Racism in Schools

“You can’t have a school that’s not systemically racist in a society that is systemically racist. Schools are a part of the system. If society changes, it would happen in the school, but I don’t know that schools could change first and impact society. My mind can’t process it happening that way. Schools are a microcosm of the world. But there’s no way you can change the society without including changing in the schools where children are being educated.” (words of Aingkhu Ashemu, Graduated from Denver School of the Arts, 2017. Age 20.)

“I saw my high school as the mirror image of our nation, but I wondered how “inclusive” it truly was if classes pertaining to African history were occasionally offered as semester electives, as if Black students were an accessory to the administration’s vision. I want more for my country and the students who attend school after me.” (Words of Leah Hunter, Hume Fogg Academic Magnet High School, Nashville, TN, graduated 2020. Age 17)

Skin Color – The Way Kids See It

Listen to students talk about differences and preferences based on skin color.

Supporting Students to be Independent Learners: State and District Actions for The Pandemic Era

School climate surveys show too many students of color, English-learners, and students from low-income families say that school is not for them: they don’t feel safe in school or feel like they belong, and they aren’t asked to do challenging or interesting work.1&2 The COVID-19 pandemic is drawing attention to and exacerbating prior, inequitable conditions, introducing new challenges and new opportunities. An intentional policy stance that values culturally and linguistically responsive education (CLRE) is essential to addressing the inequities in expectations and opportunities that have been laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teaching as Activism, Teaching as Care

Teachers can teach hard history—and the present—and teach the ways that marginalized groups have always worked to honor their dignity and humanity. Teaching and exposing the realities of what is happening now may be very difficult for students, so balancing teaching the “hard stuff” with action or activism helps. Teachers can teach lessons that expose oppression and also teach lessons that are rooted in action, activism, care, joy and healing.

When crafting lessons and curricula—even now—I ask teachers to look for the holes, the gaps, the voices in the text that are silenced, the current events that can be transformed into powerful lessons that lead to critical thinking and action. What do we do, today, in the moments of pause and wonder and frustration when we can remember those who are, in fact, without? Those who we feel we are unable to reach from our homes, from our reclusive places and spaces. Where do we pair stories within the stories?  (Pitts, 2020)

Teachers Must Hold Themselves Accountable for Dismantling Racial Oppression

We must commit to teaching in a way that totally disrupts and dismantles the system of oppression we have been operating within for over 400 years.

We will change the narrative by:

  • Holding ourselves individually and mutually accountable: When you see something, say something. It does not matter if it is at your dinner table, the hallways of your school or on an outing with friends. We must combat racism by facing everyday bias head-on. Teaching Tolerance provides great resources to do just this. We can no longer be silent about the things that matter!
  • Ensuring representation is at the forefront: Look around your committee, your table, your office, your curriculum—who is there? Who is not there? Why? Challenge yourselves to ensure that the people not currently at the table are represented on your committee, in your images, and in your curriculum because representation matters!
  • Caring about more than ourselves: It does not matter if this is not personally impacting you. It should matter that Black people are still underpaid, mistreated, underrepresented. It should matter that Black men are so feared by police officers that a routine traffic stop can quickly turn into a death sentence. It should not matter if you have students of color or not, you still should care. (Wing, 2020)

Teaching Toward Consciousness

To create equity in their schools, educators must seek to validate and acknowledge students, expose and reveal the unseen, encourage questioning, and facilitate reflection (Block, 2016)

The Diversity Test

For example, the Vermont Department of Education knows exactly how the reading skills of this year’s third graders compare to last year’s. It calculates how seventh graders from rural districts perform in social studies compared to their urban counterparts, and how the math skills of nonnative English learners measure up to those of native speakers.

Similarly, school districts routinely track their own stats, from the attendance record of students in the free and reduced price lunch program, to how much money they’re spending on books, travel and heating fuel.

Yet we can’t answer the most basic questions about Vermont schools: Who are our teachers and where do they come from? Why can’t we? Because no one has ever been assigned that “homework problem.” In many parts of the state, it’s not even in the lesson plan. (Picard, 2010)

The U.S. Has Been Silencing Black Girls’ Voices for Decades

The overt silencing of Black girls’ voices arises in the broader context of over-policing and police abuse. Even a science experiment by a Black high school student led to arrest and felony charges when a mixture of chemicals caused a small explosion, popping the top off of her water bottle. (The charges were later dismissed.)

Black girls make up just 16% of the female student population in the country, but account for more than one-third of all school-based arrests. A 2007 report in the journal Youth and Society found that Black girls were penalized for deviating from social norms of female behavior, and in particular for being “loud, defiant, and precocious.” Research from Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality has also found that, compared to white girls of the same age, Black girls are perceived as more adult and less in need of nurturing, protection, support, and comfort.

The State of Racial Diversity in the Educator Workforce

This document was published in 2016 and is a snapshot of the racial diversity of educators in elementary and secondary public schools.  At the time, The U.S. Department of Education was dedicated to increasing the diversity of our educator workforce, recognizing that teachers and leaders of color play a critical role in ensuring equity in our education system. You can read the summary of the findings on page 9.

This Juneteenth I’m Challenging Educators to Emancipate Themselves From a Colonized Curriculum

For Juneteenth 2020, I am challenging educators to emancipate themselves from this colonized curriculum that tells history solely through the lens of White people. For real change to happen in society, we have to change the way we are teaching our students, all students.

Unfortunately, with the social unrest and demands for justice after the murder of George Floyd, some educators only think they need to take action if they have Black students in their class or school. Even schools with no Black students need a liberated curriculum free from the grips of white supremacy and colonization. Those students may move to another city or town that is more diverse and become just like Amy Cooper—threatened by the presence of a Black man. All educators must be engaged in this work

Video #8 How to Address Inequities in Early Childhood Education

Addressing Inequity in Early Childhood Programs; Personal Experiences and Perspectives​; Inequity in Early Childhood Education; Early Childhood Education Undervalued; Historical Traumas; Inequities in Policies and Practices; Promoting Equity in Early Childhood Programs.

Why Teachers of Color Matter for Students of Color to Succeed

Research shows that having a teacher of color can help students of color reach better outcomes; but the benefits extend to all young people, preparing them to live and work in an increasingly diverse society.

When Educators Understand Race and Racism

What becomes possible when educators understand race and racism? This question guided an expert panel of public and private school teachers and administrators assembled recently by the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education. The panel was part of a day-long summit to build racial and cultural competency among educators. ​(Anderson, 2014)

Teaching Resources
Peace Corps Educator Resources

The Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools program fosters an understanding of other cultures and global issues by providing online educational resources based on the Peace Corps experience and facilitating communication among U.S. learners and current and returned Peace Corps Volunteers.

15 Classroom Resources for Discussing Racism, Policing, and Protest

​”Teachers cannot be silent during this time,” said Patrick Harris, a 6th and 7th grade English and social studies teacher at the Detroit Achievement Academy. “Teachers have to take a stand. Students are absorbing this, [and] they’re going to ask themselves later on in life or even now, ‘What was my teacher doing during this time?'” (Schwartz, 2020)

A Framework for Anti-bias Education

The Social Justice Standards are a road map for anti-bias education at every stage of K–12 instruction. Comprised of anchor standards and age-appropriate learning outcomes, the Standards provide a common language and organizational structure educators can use to guide curriculum development and make schools more just and equitable.

A Powerful Invitation to Reimagine Our Work

Early in my career, it was a white woman that gave me access in the field. She opened the doors for me and made space for me at different tables. She brought me along and put me on different platforms. It was a Black teacher that gave me skill, training, and courage to walk through those doors, sit at those tables and stand on those platforms. If I am honest, my entire career has been this way. There was always someone white that gave me access and a person of color that encouraged me and nurtured me and built my skill. I was asked by Chris, another one of our Conveners, “how do we lay the planks on this bridge of trust?” I say we need both the white ally and the person of color. We need the access and the courage to go through the door. Simply put, in this journey of reimagining we need each other. But we need to deconstruct and reconstruct what we look like when we are together. What would the table look like if power were not the construct? (Norwood, 2020)

A Teaching Tolerance Guide: Let’s Talk–Discussing Race, Racism and other difficult topics with students

Use the strategies in this resource as you prepare to facilitate difficult conversations about race and racism. You can also use them to build competency when discussing other types of discrimination, such as gender bias, ableism, and religious or anti-LGBT persecution. We hope you find the resource useful, and that you will share it with colleagues. And don’t forget to check out the list of additional PD suggestions and classroom activities starting on page 13.

Activities from EdChange

This site provides resources for teachers around strategies and preparation for intergroup learning, icebreaker activities, and introspective activities.

Black History

A timeline of two millennia of world-shaping individuals and momentous events that define Black history.

Black Lives Matter at School Resource Toolkit (Recognized February 17th)

As educators, we need to have courageous, honest dialogues about race, and about what is happening in our society and in our students’ lives. Building strong relationships with students and colleagues is a critical component of our work to know “Every Student By Face and Name. Every School, Every Classroom. To and Through Graduation.” This document is intended to provide you with resources to use in preparing to participate in this day of affirmation. Thank you for partnering with us in this work to improve the Rochester community.

Becoming an Anti-Racist Educator

For example, Singh suggests that becoming an anti-racist as a white person means taking responsibility for your power and privilege, acknowledging the feelings you have to increased multiculturalism, cultivating a desire for understanding and growth, etc.

Becoming an anti-racist as a person of color means recognizing that there are important class differences between people of color, understanding that all racial groups are struggling in some way under White supremacy, realizing that people of color groups are not always united in solidarity, and challenging internalized White supremacy, etc. (Wheaton College Massachusetts)

Bouncy Maps

A regular map shows you how large countries are. Bouncy Maps take a different angle. They transform the map to show how large countries would be if not area were the key, but another criterium. For each dataset different countries will be large or small. Bouncy Maps visualize these new proportions.

Countries (or states or provinces) are exactly as large as their weight in the dataset. They can therefore be compared. A country which is twice as large on the map as another country has a value that’s twice as large as the other one’s.

This type of map is called a cartogram, or anamorphosis. Traditionally, cartograms show countries as contiguous shapes, attached to their neighbors. Because of the changes in size, distortion of the country shape will be necessary. For Bouncy Maps we choose to safeguard the shape of a country, detaching it from its neighbors. Our algorithm calculates positions for all countries to maintain as much as possible the angles and distances between them.

Celebrate the Lives of Two Change Makers

Today we celebrate the lives and work of Rep. John Lewis and the Rev. C.T. Vivian. We’re eternally grateful for their lifelong, courageous activism. As we remember these leaders’ relentless pursuit of equality, we hope educators will join us in continuing to work for justice and liberation for all. And we hope young people will join us in holding Representative Lewis, the Rev. Vivian and other change makers as models for who we can be when we decide to make “good trouble.”

Civil Rights Done Right

Civil Rights Done Right offers a detailed set of curriculum improvement strategies for classroom instructors who want to apply these practices. In five discrete steps, we identify specific suggestions and procedures for building robust, meaningful lessons that cultivate a deeper understanding of modern civil rights history.

We invite you to begin the process and thank you for your efforts to teach effectively about this great movement for freedom, opportunity and democracy. By using this tool, you can give students the tools they need to create a better future and to continue the march.

Civil Rights Teaching (from Teaching for Change) Lessons and Resources

Find below selected lessons and resources from the upcoming edition of Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching. Some resources are already available for online access.

Do you have the 2004 edition? Here are the companion handouts.

Curriculum for White Americans to Educate Themselves on Race and Racism–from Ferguson to Charleston

There are no doubt complexities that come with White Americans working for racial justice. White privilege can lead to a chronic case of undiagnosed entitlement, creating poor listeners, impatient speakers who talk over others, and people unaccustomed to taking orders. Nevertheless, the movement for racial justice needs more White Americans to get involved. And it’s our responsibility to help each other get involved–and get involved productively. (Greenburg, 2015)

D.C. Area Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action

On this page you will find links to suggested lessons, films, books, readings, and general teaching guides for Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action and beyond.

Digging Deep Into the Social Justice Standards: Justice

The Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards are the anchor standards and learning outcomes created to guide educators in curriculum development and to make schools more just, equitable and safe. Our standards are designed to be used alongside state and Common Core State Standards in all content areas to reduce prejudice and bias and advocate for collective action.
These standards are divided into four domains: Identity, Diversity, Justice and Action. This PD Café is the third in a series walking educators through the domains of the Social Justice Standards. Please see PD Café in the Spring and Fall 2019 issues of Teaching Tolerance for more information about the Identity and Diversity domains. Read on to learn more about our Justice domain—and how you might share it with students.

Developing Critical Literacy

We share here articles and ideas that parents and teachers can use to help children develop critical literacy skills that will help them as citizens and consumers for years to come.

Diversity resources from Edutopia

Find resources to help build an inclusive school community for students from different cultural, socioeconomic, and linguistic backgrounds and for children with unique instructional needs.

Early Childhood & Elementary Resources

This page includes many resources for educators related to Black Lives Matter guiding principles for young children, lessons, videos, and general teaching guides.

Educational Equity and Diversity Professional Development Providers (2019)

This list contains vendors who provide various forms of professional development that address educational equity, diversity, and/or culturally responsive practices.

How to Start Meaningful Conversations About Race in the Classroom

Imagine if the teachers of those officers who responded to the call on May 25 had been in classes where racial literacy was explicitly taught. If they would have had the opportunity to talk about race and racism in their instruction, could George Floyd’s life have been spared? Students need to feel that the classroom, no matter what it looks like next year, is a safe space to discuss the complex feelings that the recent events may elicit. By doing the work now to examine our implicit biases, teachers can be better equipped to have tough conversations and make concrete changes to curriculum in the fall.

Jigsaw Method

This cooperative learning strategy increases student engagement, encourages collaboration, and results in better learning. Learn how to use the basic Jigsaw method, another variation called Jigsaw II, and get tips for troubleshooting, like what to do if you can’t divide students evenly.

Lessons From Home

In asserting personal authority, the key is not to look to change who you are. Instead, there are certain areas one can focus on to seek solutions when problems arise. For example, turning a directive into a question — “Would you like to sit down now?” or “Isn’t it time to put the scissors away?” — is a polite form of speech that is a mainstream, particularly female, structure. Many kids will not respond to that structure because commands are not couched as questions in their home culture. Rather than asking questions, some teachers need to learn to say, “Put the scissors away” and “Sit down now” or “Please sit down now.”

This issue is complex, but, in brief, many of the difficulties teachers encounter with children who are different in background from themselves are related to culturally different discourse styles and interactional styles. (Delpit, 1998)

Let’s Talk! Discussing Race, Racism and Other Difficult Topics with Students 

​Use this graphic organizer to think ahead about how you can create emotional safety in your classroom. The suggested strategies are general; use your knowledge of yourself, your students and your classroom culture to create a specific and personalized plan.

Leveled Texts Are ‘Exhibit A’ for the Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations

And right now, they aren’t getting it. In a recent report titled The Opportunity Myth, TNTP researchers observed nearly 1,000 classrooms across a diverse set of districts and charter networks. They found that students were only asked to meet grade-level expectations on their assignments a mere 17% of the time. We can and must change that by first giving students the opportunity to read and respond to knowledge-rich challenging texts.

Exposure to complex text engages readers. So, in first grade, that might mean reading aloud books such as “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” by William Kamkwamba. In fourth grade, students might read compelling works of literature, such as “Walk Two Moons” by Sharon Creech. Later, in seventh grade, a memoir like “Farewell to Manzanar” by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston is captivating.

Considering and discussing the ideas, words, and experiences found within pages of these books draw students in and prepares them to read widely both works of literature and technical non-fiction by teaching them how to navigate complex texts. Students reading lower level texts are denied these opportunities. (Schmidt, 2020)

Multicultural Education in Your Classroom

Just because we’re facing an uphill battle doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take those first steps. To integrate multicultural education in your classroom and your school, you can:

  • Integrate a diverse reading list that demonstrates the universal human experience across cultures
  • Encourage community participation and social activism
  • Go beyond the textbook
  • By supplementing your curriculum with current events and news stories outside the textbook, you can draw parallels between the distant experiences of the past and the world today.
  • Creating multicultural projects that require students to choose a background outside of their own
  • Suggest that your school host an in-service professional development on multi-cultural education in the classroom (Garcia)

Native Land Map

Native Land Digital is a Canadian not-for-profit organization, incorporated in December 2018. Native Land Digital is Indigenous-led, with an Indigenous Executive Director and Board of Directors who oversee and direct the organization. Numerous non-Indigenous people also contribute as members of our Advisory Council. The Board of Directors govern finances, set priorities, and appoint staff members as required.

This map does not represent or intend to represent official or legal boundaries of any Indigenous nations. To learn about definitive boundaries, contact the nations in question.

Also, this map is not perfect — it is a work in progress with tons of contributions from the community. Please send us fixes if you find errors.

If you would like to read more about the ideas behind Native Land or where we are going, check out the blog. You can also see the roadmap.

Click here to access the Teacher’s Guide on how to use the map

NASA Modern Figures Toolkit

The NASA Modern Figures Toolkit is a collection of resources and educational activities for students in grades K-12. Each educational activity and resource includes a brief description, as well as information about how the activities and lessons align to education standards. Resources highlighted include videos, historical references and STEM materials.

People’s History Lessons for Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

We are thrilled that teachers across the country are meeting, collaborating, and building curriculum based on Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. This YA book is based on Kendi’s 2016 Stamped from the Beginning.

Both books center the lives of key individuals to help readers sort out both the origins of racist ideas and to differentiate between segregationist, assimilationist, and antiracist positions. These individuals — Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, William Lloyd Garrison, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Angela Davis — offer examples that we’re happy students will encounter in the project of antiracist education.

We hope educators supplement these texts with an equally rich people’s history of racism and antiracism. Toward that effort, we have suggested lessons that complement key chapters and moments in Reynolds’ and Kendi’s Stamped. In most cases, we’d recommend doing these lessons before having students listen or read the chapter, since many of our activities leave the “what really happened” unanswered until the end.

Say Their Names: A toolkit to help foster productive conversations about race and civil disobedience

This includes suggestions and strategies for educators and parents on having conversations with young people in school and at home about race, racism, racial violence, understanding biases, and how to take action for racial justice. ​

Searchable Student Texts From Teaching Tolerance

Our searchable library of short texts offers a diverse mix of stories and perspectives. This multigenre, multimedia collection aligns with the Common Core’s recommendations for text complexity and the Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards.

Choose from informational and literary nonfiction texts, literature, photographs, political cartoons, interviews, infographics and more. You can also filter by text type, grade level, subject, and topic.

“The leveled texts have really helped me engage students and introduce them to complex topics in a way they can understand.”

Reflecting on George Floyd’s Death and Police Violence Towards Black Americans

This Teaching Idea is a guide for teachers to begin conversations with their students about George Floyd’s death and the events that surround it. Such conversations are always difficult for teachers to facilitate, and distance learning presents added challenges to teaching sensitive material. Despite these challenges, it’s critical to make space for students to process the difficult and deeply painful events of the past week.

​Talking With Students About Ferguson and Racism

As Melinda D. Anderson points out in her latest post, it is crucial for educators to understand how race and racism can impact our students of color. And in a school system with students who are increasingly diverse but teachers who remain majority white, it’s especially crucial for white teachers like me to seek out productive ways to talk about race and racism with my students.

So even though these conversations sometimes make me nervous, I try to signal to my students that it’s okay to talk about race and racism in our classroom. It means I end up facing some really difficult and important questions from my students. Questions like “Are white people afraid of black people?” and “Why is it mostly white people in the suburbs?” It also means that we can begin to articulate the ways that racism impacts us and start to look for ways to address it. Students share stories of teachers who have misunderstood them, of police officers who have made painful assumptions about them, of media messages that malign them.

Training For Change

Training for Change is a training and capacity building organization for activists and organizers. We believe strong training and group facilitation is vital to movement building for social justice and radical change.

On their website, they feature various free articles and tools falling under a variety of categories.

Teaching Materials and Resources Related to Teaching for Black Lives

Note: Educators and community members, below you’ll find links to role plays, mixers, and other teaching materials for use in the classroom and elsewhere related to Teaching for Black Lives. Just click on the article you’re hoping to find teaching materials for. For some of the materials, you’ll need to be a member of the Zinn Education Project. If you’re not already, it’s free and easy to sign up!

Teaching Resources from Teaching for change

Teaching about Race, Racism, and Police Violence

In 2014, the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in New York City, Tamir Rice in Cleveland and too many others caused waves of nationwide protest and appeals for stronger protections against police brutality.

These events—along with the lack of accountability for the police officers who shot and killed these unarmed victims—also prompted educators to seek resources on how to address these subjects in the classroom.

The resources below can help spur much-needed discussion around implicit bias and systemic racism, but they can also empower your students to enact the changes that will create a more just society. (Teaching Tolerance, 2020)

The Revolution Will Be Tweeted

Last week, Chicago middle school teacher Xian Barrett had his students insert their voices into conversations about these cases by creating a special activity: After reviewing and discussing the details of each case in class, tweet about them. He then shared these tweets on his own Twitter feed (while maintaining students’ anonymity) (Teaching Tolerance Staff, 2014)

Racial Equity Lessons

Self-paced courses to help you understand how systemic racism operates.

Crisis after crisis reveal the racial inequities baked into our national systems.

And in your still quiet moments, a small voice reminds you that we don’t need to live this way. Something different, something better is possible. You dream of equitable societies that fearlessly face the sins of their past to create a healthy foundation for their future. You dream of societal systems that are trauma-informed, joy-filled and center the needs of those who are hurting the most.

You were made for these times.

But before you can build a solution, you have to understand the problem. Learn how racism is embedded in United States’ systems and our individual psyches, so you can build a world where we all can thrive.

Racial Justice In Education–Resource Guide

This resource covers this the following topics.

  • Why Racial Equity & Justice?
  • Talking Race
  • Tools for Assessment, Strategic Planning, and Action

Resources/Tools on STTP (School-to-prison-pipeline)

Racial Justice Tools and resources

Understanding Race

Differences… they’re a cause for joy and sorrow. We celebrate differences in personal identity, family background, country and language. At the same time, differences among people have been the basis for discrimination and oppression.

Yet, are we so different? Current science tells us we share a common ancestry and the differences among people we see are natural variations, results of migration, marriage and adaptation to different environments. How does this fit with the idea of race?

Looking through the eyes of history, science and lived experience, the RACE Project explains differences among people and reveals the reality –and unreality – of race. The story of race is complex and may challenge how we think about race and human variation, about the differences and similarities among people (RACE Project).

Vermont Department of Libraries Racial and Social Justice Resources

On this page you will find Vermont Projects and Organizations, History Resources (Vermont and National), Booklists, and Resources.

Write to the Source

Write to the Source performance tasks and rubrics ask students to rely on textual evidence when responding to writing prompts about identity, diversity, justice and action.

Zinn Education Project: Teaching Materials
A Farewell Letter to DEI Work

These departments, centers, divisions and programs are spaces of impossibility; they cannot do the things they are tasked with as they are not empowered to hold community members accountable when they fail to uphold stated investments in equity. They operate on a hope that edifying others with best practices means that those people will implement such practices. They exist not to create systemic change but as evidence that the work has already been done. Here, organizations say, is our investment in equity: engage with it, ignore it or belittle it as you’d like. (McInnis, 2020)

Becoming an Anti-Racist Educator: Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL)

DCLA Diversity Statement:
The Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL) facilitates professional development for Dartmouth’s teachers. We embrace Dartmouth’s commitment to maintain a diverse and inclusive workplace and welcome all members of Dartmouth’s scholar-educator community to join us in cultivating a culture that values and rewards teaching. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment that welcomes diversity in many aspects, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, socio-economic status, class, and religion. We acknowledge we gather on the indigenous lands of the Abenaki. We welcome and strive to include all voices – those we already have and those we want to include. We encourage you to help us include a diversity of perspectives and experiences in our work.

We understand that Dartmouth students differ in terms of learning abilities and disabilities, and that these differences affect teaching and course design. We recognize classroom power dynamics associated with race, gender, ethnicity, class, and other identities, and understand how they can impede learning. We believe it is important for teachers to be aware of their own implicit biases, assumptions, values and expectations of students, and be able to articulate how these might affect interactions with students.

We recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion in teaching effectiveness, and therefore provide professional development that allows Dartmouth teachers to create learning environments that welcome, challenge and support all students. We also work to increase our own knowledge and capacity in this area and seek to partner with other staff and faculty who have expertise and conduct programs in these areas.

Training For Change

Training for Change is a training and capacity building organization for activists and organizers. We believe strong training and group facilitation is vital to movement building for social justice and radical change.

On their website, they feature various free articles and tools falling under a variety of categories.

Celebrate the Lives of Two Change Makers

Today we celebrate the lives and work of Rep. John Lewis and the Rev. C.T. Vivian. We’re eternally grateful for their lifelong, courageous activism. As we remember these leaders’ relentless pursuit of equality, we hope educators will join us in continuing to work for justice and liberation for all. And we hope young people will join us in holding Representative Lewis, the Rev. Vivian and other change makers as models for who we can be when we decide to make “good trouble.”

Academe’s Disturbing Indifference to Racism: College presidents are more concerned with reputation management than racial justice.

Look back to another moment when racial equality and civil rights were roiling campuses: the 1960s. In July 1963, President John F. Kennedy called on college presidents for assistance: “The leadership that you and your colleagues show in extending equal educational opportunity today will influence American life for decades to come.” Some academic leaders rose to the historic challenge, but many shrank from the task of directly addressing racism.

The Antiracist College: This may be a watershed moment in the history of higher education and race.

T​he statements from college presidents came in flurries, bullet-pointed and chock-full of promises. Most were issued last summer in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hands of the Minneapolis police. There were announcements of new committees, initiatives, and task forces. There was talk of transformation, roadmaps, and “action steps.” Many nodded toward sweeping curricular reforms. The president of Duke University wrote that the institution would “assess and remediate systemic biases in the design of our curricula.” Castleton University’s president pledged a review of courses that would seek to “combat systemic racism and implicit bias.” The president of Bates College assured members of the community in bold type that there would be “structural change across the entirety of the student experience.”

​Students Disengage From Controversy
The report found significant and “alarming” differences between Republican and Democratic students’ comfort speaking about current political events happening during the fall 2020 semester, said Melissa Stiksma, a contracted data analyst for the Heterodox Academy and author of the report. She noted that 44 percent of Republican students said they were reluctant to speak about the Black Lives Matter movement, versus 12 percent of Democratic students. This discrepancy was consistent when students were asked about discussing the presidential election — 46 percent of Republican students felt reluctant to speak about the election, compared to 23 percent of Democratic students, the report said.

Diversity and Inclusion Are Not Enough

To be sure, my efforts will continue to include a focus on the importance of engaging a wide range of viewpoints, perspectives and backgrounds as I go about the diversity, equity and inclusion work that’s so important to me personally and to the organizations I work with. But my focus will also be on the fight to eradicate systemic racism. This focus has been a source of contention in some of the organizations and environments where I’ve worked or consulted. The belief abounds that we can simply conflate the interrogation of systemic racism with conceptualizations of diversity involving gender, age, LGBTQ identity, disability and so forth. The argument often goes something like this: “Our organization respects all differences, and we work to create an environment where everyone feels included and can do their best work.” (Reese, 2020)

Envisioning Higher Education as Antiracist

It’s important to note that it is very difficult to identify and address every critical area in a course. Countless articles, some very extensive ones, cover the concept of inclusion and diversity. This short blog is only intended to get you thinking about key components of designing an online course with diversity in mind.

​If we acknowledge that diversity influences learning, then we may be able to create discussions that result in examples that are culturally relevant. Your work as an instructor sets the tone for a safe space in the classroom where students can share their experiences and perspectives. (Hollister, 2020)

Making higher education anti-racist (From the Harvard Gazette)

​Brown-Nagin wondered how to apply Kendi’s antiracist framework to the work of creating diverse and inclusive college campuses. The author took aim at the college admissions process, noting that standardized tests advantage those who can afford expensive test prep courses. Black students also often can’t access advanced placement courses at their high schools, Kendi said, or are simply steered away from them by guidance counselors. “So how is that admissions factor race-neutral when Black students can’t even necessarily compete?”

Diversity & inclusion in the online classroom

The outlook is bleak: American institutions have already ensured immense generational advantages for whites and disadvantages for people of color. And this will continue if we do nothing.
The time for all social institutions to become antiracist and sever all ties with systemic racism is long overdue. As Beverly D. Tatum, a scholar of race in America, reminds us, we are in an active cycle of racism. Being passive will only ensure that we will still have racial inequities far into the future. (Metivier, 2020)

How Higher Ed Can Fight Racism: ‘Speak Up When It’s Hard’

Speak up when it’s hard. In a faculty meeting, when somebody says to me something that’s rude, speak up. Or when we’re on a search committee and somebody says, about a candidate of color, “I just don’t see that they would succeed here” without any reason for why, I need my colleagues to say, “Well, what does that mean? How can we get them to succeed here?” (Words of Sirry Alang in an interview with Francie Diep, 2020)

Ready to Be an Ally for Black Academics? Here’s a Start

​Twelve ways that white faculty members can better support Black academics in their department and across the campus.

Talking Race in the classroom

She [Bernard] sees her classroom as one of these spaces. “I want to illuminate what already exists inside my students, which is the capacity to be human — and to enlarge their vision,” says Bernard, whose books explore historical examples of successful interracial partnerships.

Teaching Race: Pedagogy and Practice

From history to health fields, from sociology to school counseling, a wide range of disciplines address the historic and ongoing manifestations of racial inequality and injustice in the curriculum. These efforts are part of a broad educational movement of social justice education wherein educators equip students to analyze, understand, and intervene in systems of oppression in order to advance equity for all people.

Social justice education has implications for what we teach (curriculum) and how we teach (pedagogy).  Despite an increasing number of instructors bringing a critical analysis of racial in/justice to their curriculum, many report challenges in teaching this content effectively. To begin to address this need, this guide summarizes some of the common challenges instructors may encounter and offers five broad pedagogical principles for teaching racial justice, and three possible strategies for implementing each strategy in the classroom.

For the purpose of this guide, we are using ‘teaching race’ and ‘teaching racial injustice’ interchangeably, and using both terms as shorthand for courses that incorporate content related to race, racism, racial injustice, and movements for racial justice. (Thurber, Harbin, & Bandy, 2019)

Role of Academia in Combatting Structural Racism in the United States

​APTR calls upon post-secondary educational institutions in the United States—particularly health professions schools and their academic units that teach prevention and public health— to take action to reduce the impact of racism from within their walls and to assume proactive responsibility for teaching students and the general public about racism’s causes and effects.

Anti-Racism Toolkit

This toolkit was developed by APTR members to support the APTR Policy: Role of Academia in Combatting Structural Racism in the United States. APTR designed the toolkit resources to assist health professions faculty address and seek to reduce the effects of systemic racism in our society through their professional work: as teachers, as clinical and public health practitioners, as researchers, and as members of a university community. The toolkit has an organizing structure and provides resources such as websites, files, research articles and recommended readings. ​

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