Who Says Dreams Don't Come True?
And When They Do, We Must Make a Note of Them.
Fifty four educators came in school teams from 13 sites across United States and Canada to The Walker Center in Newton Mass where they spent 4 days from July 5th to 8th examining what it means to "put race on the table" in all aspects of their work as classroom teachers from Pre-K to 12, as school/ community/ parent liaisons, as diversity directors, as administrators, as student support personnel, as professional development specialists and as mentors of new teachers. Individuals from all of these schools had contact with Enidlee Consultants either through conferences or through on-site consultations at their schools where we have been working to create equity-centered classrooms with a focus on race, language, culture and power.
These four days at this institute brought to fruition a dream I have had for a long time. I wanted to have the teachers I worked with in California, Massachusetts, Providence Rhode Island and Indiana meet and exchange experiences and strategies and I wanted to connect Canadian educators with U.S. Educators. I also wanted teachers in private and public schools to have a dialogue about what it means to put race on the table in the process of educating all of our children to academically rigorous standards and to equip them to transform our societies into just and decent places to live and work. And we began that process at Equity Institute 2001.
Linda Mizell, doctoral candidate at Harvard Graduate School of Education and author of Think About Racism provided a framework for looking at Race, Class And Gender In The History Of Education and left everyone wanting more and reflecting on the difference between schooling and education and with the challenge to work for social transformation and not social reproduction
A. Peter Bailey, Co-author, The Seventh Child-a Family Memoir of Malcolm X highlighted some of the ways in which print media keeps White Supremacy alive and well.
Merryl Pisha, coordinator of the Lower School For Young Achievers, Boston Public School conducted a session in which teachers were grouped according to their race and the racial composition of the schools in which they teach and asked to consider the identical scenario. We made some interesting findings. Merryl used the tool, The Five Eyes for considering the scenario. For more information on the availability of this tool, please send an e-mail to this address.
Marcela Duran, an Equity Consultant, Formerly of the Toronto District School Board provided participants with a checklist for looking at all aspects of Schools and Classrooms from an Equity Perspective. She reviewed those actions which she called Ceremonies Of Repetition which must be undertaken every year by every teacher and administrator if the experience of Equity is to be a reality in schools. This checklist is also available through this website
Clem Marshall, senior Consultant with Enidlee Consultants, and Director of the Video All Eyes On Africa helped us to make important distinctions between the roles of friend and ally as we engage in anti-racist and other kinds of anti-oppression work. He also shared a portion of his video as an example of anti-racist curriculum.
We worked in race-based affinity groups, role-alike groups, work/support groups which combined our geography, our roles and our race. We planned in school teams to carry on the work back at school sites. We watched videos early in the morning, through our lunch break and into the wee hours of the morning
Let's create a new information order which reflects the work and thinking of dedicated, informed and constantly learning educators who are not interested in reproducing society in their classrooms but who are committed to transforming it.