Diversity Book Club – Exploring “Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People”

Peace educator Susan Gelber Cannon hosts a virtual Diversity Book Club on her blog where she summarizes books and provides classroom applications and resources for teachers interested in building welcoming and inclusive environments in their classrooms and schools. This particular session explores Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, a book of particular relevance to the Global Campaign for Peace Education and International Institute on Peace Education’s call for campus teach-ins on identity-based violence.

(Photo: © Ewha Womans University / ISVP)

How can education prevent school violence and bullying based on ethnic discrimination?

UNESCO organized a workshop on Global Citizenship Education as part of the International Symposium on School Violence and Bullying: From Evidence to Action that took place in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Illustration by Alex Williamson

Don’t Say Nothing: addressing race in the classroom

Many black and brown students are educated in school systems and classrooms where they, despite making up the racial majority, are taught how to understand a world by a staff comprised of a powerful minority. When their teachers choose to remain silent about moments of racial tension or violence—violence that may well touch students’ own communities or families—these children are overtly reminded of their inferior place in society.

Image of a peace campaign posted on Facebook created during a workshop. (Photo: Mary Pham)

Addressing Religious & Ethnic Violence Through Peace Education in Myanmar

This report, by Mary Pham, a fellow with the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, details her applied research examining best practices of civil society strengthening that can drive positive social change and increase justice, rights, peace and development in Burma.

(Image: Nidal El-Khairy)

As a Teacher and a Daughter: The Impact of Islamophobia

As educators, we know that our words carry a powerful weight. Although we can’t control how the media portrays Muslim people, we can encourage students to think critically about the messages that they receive from the media. We must also protect our students from classroom debates where they are singled out and feel like they have to defend their faith. One way to mitigate the impact of Islamophobia is to teach our students about it. We need to expose and critique the myths being constructed about Islam all around them in the media, in public discourse, and even in their classrooms.

(Photo source: YourBlackEducation.com)

U.N. Study Shows Mistreatment of Black Students Across The Country

The United Nations is weighing in on how black children are treated in schools in America, and their preliminary findings back most studies that indicate that there are a number of barriers that stand between black children and a quality education. While black children deal with societal issues at home, the UN Working Group also found that schools in poor neighborhoods are under-funded. Zero tolerance policies lead to excessive penalization, harassment, out of school suspensions, and expulsion of black children, which feeds the school-to-prison pipeline.

(Photo: Ford Foundation website)

Rethinking scholarships as a force for social justice

The Ford Foundation is promoting fellowships designed to support access to higher education and to advance social justice. Unlike traditional scholarship programs based primarily on academic achievement, social justice fellowships use non-traditional ways to recruit talented individuals already working toward positive change in their communities. The premise is simple: that extending higher education opportunities to leaders from marginalized communities helps further social justice in some of the world’s poorest and most unequal countries.

(Photo: The Atlantic)

The Black Girl Pushout (The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools)

The “good girl” and “bad girl” dichotomy, as chronicled by Monique W. Morris in Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, is a condition that has plagued black girls and women for time immemorial. Society’s deeply entrenched expectations of black girls—influenced by racism and patriarchy—has led to a ritual whereby these young women are often mischaracterized, and mislabeled because of how they look, dress, speak, and act. In short, black girls are devalued based on how others perceive them.

The stigmas many attach to black girls has far-reaching and damaging consequences, Morris writes, with devastating effects on their academic, social, and emotional lives. A veteran education, civil-rights, and social-justice scholar, Morris is the co-founder of the National Black Women’s Justice Institute, a group dedicated to combatting disparities affecting black women, girls, and their families. She recently shared some thoughts with The Atlantic on interventions to help black girls in schools.

Socialism, Popular Education, and the Fight Against Racism in the Soviet Union

Derek R. Ford, in this article for The Hampton Institute, demonstrates that the history of socialist struggle provides us with inspiring and effective examples of how we can fight against oppression. In particular, he gives two examples of the way that the Soviet Union mobilized popular education to confront racism.

Through Peace Education, Youth Can Become Vanguards of Peace in the Great Lakes Region

Over the past five decades, youth have played a central role in the numerous violent conflicts that have afflicted the African Great Lakes Region. The existence of deeply entrenched stereotypes based on ethnicity or nationality has been a key impediment for the prospects of peace. These stereotypes, marinated over the decades, have long been internalised by local communities and have regrettably been handed down to successive generations. We have a strong conviction that peace education offers the promise of nurturing a new generation of youth into vanguards of peace in the Great Lakes Region. It is on this premise that the ICGLR and Interpeace will bring together key stakeholders from the region to a Peace Education Summit in Nairobi on 3 – 4 March 2016.

The costs of inequality: Education’s the one key that rules them all

The revolutionary concept of free, nonsectarian public schools spread across America in the 19th century. By 1970, America had the world’s leading educational system, and until 1990 the gap between minority and white students, while clear, was narrowing. But educational gains in this country have plateaued since then, and the gap between white and minority students has proven stubbornly difficult to close, says Ronald Ferguson, adjunct lecturer in public policy at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and faculty director of Harvard’s Achievement Gap Initiative. That gap extends along class lines as well. By eighth grade, Harvard economist Roland G. Fryer Jr. noted last year, only 44 percent of American students are proficient in reading and math. The proficiency of African-American students, many of them in underperforming schools, is even lower. “The position of U.S. black students is truly alarming,” wrote Fryer, the Henry Lee Professor of Economics, who used the OECD rankings as a metaphor for minority standing educationally. “If they were to be considered a country, they would rank just below Mexico in last place.” Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) Dean James E. Ryan, a former public interest lawyer, says geography has immense power in determining educational opportunity in America. As a scholar, he has studied how policies and the law affect learning, and how conditions are often vastly unequal. His book “Five Miles Away, A World Apart” (2010) is a case study of the disparity of opportunity in two Richmond, Va., schools, one grimly urban and the other richly suburban. Geography, he says, mirrors achievement levels.

U.S. Deputy Marshals escort six-year-old Ruby Bridges from William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, La., in this Nov. 1960 file photo. (Image by © AP/Corbis)

Segregation Forever?

This article from Teaching Tolerance magazine observes that the history of slavery—which ended in the United States over 150 years ago—is still shaping contemporary patterns of school segregation through its influence on our social institutions and our reliance on historical precedent and local tradition. The history itself happened long ago, but its legacy is a contemporary phenomenon because our social realities today are informed by what happened yesterday—including our less flattering moments. So, although people today are not individually responsible for slavery, we are very much responsible for how we respond to that history. As academic researchers, we use this understanding to guide the questions we ask and attempt to answer. It is what led us to investigate whether counties with stronger attachments to slavery have a higher level of school segregation today. We found out the answer is yes, but not for the reasons you might think.

This article from Teaching Tolerance observes that it’s not unusual for educators to shy away from difficult topics and provides strategies for building teacher's confidence. (Illustration by Kyle Stecker)

Begin Within

This article from Teaching Tolerance observes that it’s not unusual for educators to shy away from topics like police violence, economic inequality, mass incarceration and white privilege. Some feel unprepared; others feel too emotionally involved. Use these strategies to build the confidence and fortitude necessary to facilitate conversations your students need to have.

Cypriot teachers work for peace and reconciliation through educational programmes

The need to have an educational system which promotes peace and reconciliation rather than perpetuating violence and war is the focus of a programme entitled “Education for a Culture of Peace”. In a joint interview with the CNA, Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot participants to the programme Loizos Loukaides and Süleyman Gelener point out that, at a time when efforts to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem are intensified, the need for change in the educational system in order to cultivate a culture of peace and anti-racism is imperative.

Refusing to Choose Between Martin and Malcolm: Ferguson, Black Lives Matter, and a New Nonviolent Revolution

(Matt Meyer, Natalie Jeffers & David Ragland) 2015 was not only a year of fear, brutality and injustice, it was a year of sustained resistance that honoured not only a strong national Black radical politics of organising, but also helped cultivate a new and thriving, nonviolent international movement for Black Liberation. As we enter 2016, the Movement for Black Lives must navigate itself in uncharted territory and hazardous spaces, but is accompanied by a vigourous knowledge of self, a thriving and committed community of activists and organizers who are cognizant of the need for guiding principles and the creation of a Black Radical national policy platform. Liberation educator Paulo Freire noted that “violence is the tool of the master,” and feminist poet Audre Lorde reminded us that “You cannot dismantle the Master’s House with the Master’s Tools” So, let us reimagine new ways to build a society where Black people can live freely and dream, and let’s find, as Barbara Deming implored, “equilibrium” in our revolutionary process.

Advancing Racial Justice in 2015: A Weekend of Movement Building in New Orleans.

Advancing Racial Justice in 2015: A Weekend of Movement Building in New Orleans

More than 700 students, parents, teachers, community activists, labor organizers, policy experts, and advocates of a multitude of issues came together Oct. 2-4, 2015 in New Orleans for a weekend of education, collaboration, and engagement. Organized by the Schott Foundation and the American Federation of Teachers, with more than a dozen co-sponsoring local and national organizations, the key theme was community and labor organizing together for racial justice.

Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected

Girls of color face much harsher school discipline than their white peers but are excluded from current efforts to address the school-to-prison pipeline, according to a report issued by the African American Policy Forum and Columbia Law School’s Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies.