Teaching has definitely been taking over my life lately, so I guess it makes sense that this week’s reading list is pretty education heavy, and also a day late…With that said, I hope you have found brief moments of peace this week, and coffee…
The Firsts: The Children Who Desegregated America (multiple authors) via The Atlantic
There were a multitude of great articles out of The Atlantic this past week, so it was hard to choose just one to share with you. However, this particular one just stuck with me. It’s a collection of five stories following the children who were on the front lines of the move to desegregate schools in America. These kids were the ones who had to actually walk across those picket lines and into the classrooms that often didn’t want them. As the authors note, “in 1954, the Supreme Court decided that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional—but it was thousands of children who actually desegregated America’s classrooms. The task that fell to them was a brutal one.” Take some time to discover their stories this weekend. (Read the article)
Pandemic Teaching, In Their Words by Joe Heim via The Washington Post
You may have noticed I missed a week on my weekend reading list, and that’s because honestly teaching in a pandemic is much more exhausting than I expected it to be. There’s more to do, the students need more support, and things just take longer. Tasks that are simple in person, like passing back homework, or giving a vocab quiz, are a whole new bag of worms over Zoom. This article gives you a glimpse into the lives of a handful of teachers as they’ve gone back to work this fall. Let’s just say, we’re all tired… (Read the article.)
Origins of Neo-Nazi and White Supremacist Terms and Symbols via The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
I wish this was not a relevant source to be sharing, but here we are. As we come out of the most recent Presidential debate, and make our way into the last weeks before the election, it is crucial we are knowledgeable about the dangers around us. We already saw shouts of “blood and soil” in Charlottesville, and this week we saw the first major attempt at an attack on a public official in Michigan. We have a multitude of dangerous militia groups to deal with in America, beyond just the Proud Boys. This helpful glossary details the many ways in which white supremacists groups use symbols, branding and terminology to define themselves and recruit new members. (Read more)
Decolonizing the English Department by Carole Boyce Davies & Mukoma Wa Ngugi via Brittle Paper
The university has always been a place where we ask big questions, and seek out the difficult answers. Over the summer, campuses across the U.S. and beyond have been asking the big questions about diversity, racism, and inclusion not only in their campus culture but also in their curriculum and their departments as a whole. We have been having similar conversations at CUNY, working to make our department anti-racist, and to ensure all of student facing documents and curriculum are reflective of those goals. This article details the efforts of one particular department at Cornell University to make some major changes. (Read the article)
Fred and Me by Sara Benincasa via Human Parts
I don’t want to give too much away about this essay because it’s a fun journey that doesn’t take you where you think you’re going. Honestly, you could probably describe every Sara Benincasa essay that way. I start every semester with an essay from her titled “Do It Anyway.” My students connect with her writing in a way they don’t connect with other writers we cover. I think this has to do with her allowing herself to be accessible and open in a way other writers aren’t. On a personal level, I am so impressed by writers who can be so open and vulnerable in their writing. It’s something I am very often not, but it makes for such powerful essays.
Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education by Nathan D. Grawe
So, I actually read this book in February 2019. Even then it scared the crap out of me. It gives a pretty bleak outlook for colleges in the coming years, exploring the changing population in the U.S. and how that affects the demand for higher education. This is particularly felt by community colleges and four-year public colleges. Anyone who read this book was preparing for a coming drop in enrollment…and then 2020 hit. I am very curious to see if the authors will create new projections or updates on where they see enrollment and demographics going in higher ed after this year. Will the outlook be even more bleak?