Collective responsibility

We obtained permission to reprint in our blog series a letter written by Rae Paris. The letter was originally published in blackspaceblog.com. Rae Paris addresses the historic and recent events of police brutality. It has been signed by over 1,000 Black professors around the world.

Photo caption: Black students and professors, Beaumont Tower, Michigan State University, December 6, 2014.

The citation for the original publication is:

Paris, Rae. (December 8, 2014). An Open Letter of Love to Black Students: #BlackLivesMatter. Retrieved from http://blackspaceblog.com/2014/12/08/an-open-letter-of-love-to-black-students-blacklivesmatter/

Rae Paris is from Carson, California. Her writing appears or is forthcoming in The Common, Guernica, Dismantle, Solstice, and other journals. Her work has been supported by the NEA Literature Fellowship, and residencies from Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, the Hambidge Center, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Hedgebrook, and VONA. Her poem “The Forgetting Tree” was selected as Best of the Net 2013, and she has been nominated for a Pushcart. She teaches fiction at the Bread Loaf School of English, and lives and writes mostly in East Lansing, Michigan where she’s Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Michigan State University. 

We are Black professors.

We are daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, godchildren, grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers, and mothers.

We’re writing to tell you we see you and hear you. Read more

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Rebeca Burciaga is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and a member of the Core Faculty for the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership in the Connie L. Lurie College of Education at San José State University. Dr. Burciaga’s research centers on understanding and challenging educational practices and structures that (re)produce social inequalities for historically marginalized communities, including/specifically Latino students.  Her research in schools and communities spans over 20 years and includes mixed-methods research on pathways from preschool to the professoriate, the experiences of students who leave high school before graduation, and the ways in which geographic regions structure inequalities. She specializes the study of qualitative research methodologies including testimonio and ethnography. Her current research and teaching is focused on cultivating asset-based mindsets in teachers and administrators that work with youth of color.  Dr. Burciaga is a co-founder and co-coordinator of the Institute for Teachers of Color Committed to Racial Justice. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz, a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Ph.D. in Education from the University of California at Los Angeles.  Her research has been supported and recognized by the Spencer Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Institute of Health, and the American Association of University Women. Her most recent scholarship can be found in Equity & Excellence in Education, the Association of Mexican American Educators Journal, and the Educational Administration Quarterly.

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Kim Anderson is the author of Culturally Considerate School Counseling:  Helping
Without Bias (2010), co-author of Creating Culturally Considerate Schools:
Educating Without Bias (2012), both published by Corwin Press and a contributor
to How to Teach Students Who Don’t Look Like You:  Culturally Relevant Teaching
Strategies, 2nd Edition (2012) and The Biracial and Multiracial Student
Experience:  A Journey to Racial Literacy (2008) by Dr. Bonnie M. Davis.
Ms. Anderson presents her eclectic work at numerous local, regional and national
events and venues, engaging her audience through compelling narrative, careful
research, evocative experiences, and instructive storytelling.  She is currently
working on a book based upon one of her clinical workshops entitled, Hour by

Kim Anderson is the author of Culturally Considerate School Counseling:  Helping Without Bias (2010), co-author of Creating Culturally Considerate Schools:  Educating Without Bias (2012), both published by Corwin Press and a contributor to How to Teach Students Who Don’t Look Like You:  Culturally Relevant Teaching Strategies, 2nd Edition (2012) and The Biracial and Multiracial Student Experience:  A Journey to Racial Literacy (2008) by Dr. Bonnie M. Davis.

Ms. Anderson presents her eclectic work at numerous local, regional and national events and venues, engaging her audience through compelling narrative, careful research, evocative experiences, and instructive storytelling.  She is currently working on a book based upon one of her clinical workshops entitled, Hour by Hour: Wholistic Practice in Clinical Social Work.

On December 14, 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut came under siege.  Not unlike the Columbine, Colorado shooters some thirteen years earlier, the only definitive truths we seem to know about Adam Lanza are that he was young, computer knowledgeable, and dressed in dissident fashion as he used automatic weapons to kill innocent and seemingly random children and adults.  Like the school assassins who preceded him, Lanza was immediately labeled an outsider, mentally ill, and antisocial.  His mother, also dead from bullets allegedly propelled by her own son, likewise was vilified.  These are horrible, graphic images and hideous notions with which we are left.

My diverse vocations and avocations (mental health professional, educational consultant, artist, writer, and life-long learner) prompt me to view this event holistically.  Our minds, bodies, psyches and spirits have all been assaulted by this historic trauma.  I recognize that we are trying to solve this particular problem when, collectively, we cannot think very clearly.  Our bodies shudder in empathy for the victims.  Our psyches attempt to integrate how we feel and what we know by our fervent attempt to understand.    In short, we attempt to make sense of the senseless. Read more

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Mike RoseMike Rose is on the faculty of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and the author of Possible Lives: The Promise of Public Education in America, The Mind at Work: Valuing the Intelligence of the American Worker, and his latest book Back to School: Why Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Education. Visit his website and blog at www.mikerosebooks.com.

This blog was originally published four during the last presidential election.  Four years later his words still resonate.

As the 2008 election moves center stage, I would like us to pause and ask ourselves the big question. Why do we as a nation yearly engage in the hugely expensive and culturally monumental ritual of sending children to school?
During most of my time in school, my father was seriously ill, and my mother worked two shifts to keep us afloat. I was a disconnected and dreamy child, vaguely fearful of our circumstances, full of longing but without much direction. There’s a lot of kids out there like me. And they need all that school can provide.

From everything we hear, it’s to prepare the next generation for the economy, and that preparation is measured through scores on standardized tests. This has been the primary justification for education for a generation. But our children are more than economic beings, and learning and development cannot be reduced to a few test scores. Education turned my life around, so I come at this issue in a very personal way. I long to hear more in our national discussion about the powerful effect education can have on young people’s lives.

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Kim Anderson’s career path has been a diverse and divergent one.  Prior to obtaining a graduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis, she was a free-lance writer, photographer and graphic artist with interests in “outsider art,” expressions of oppression and liberation beyond conventional artistic borders or boundaries.  After many years of private practice as a licensed clinical social worker, clinical supervisor and educator, Ms. Anderson received a post-graduate certificate and board certification in art psychotherapy.  She is the author of Culturally Considerate School Counseling:  Helping Without Bias (2010), co-author of Creating Culturally Considerate Schools:  Educating Without Bias (2012, released this week), both published by Corwin Press and a contributor to How to Teach Students Who Don’t Look Like You:  Culturally Relevant Teaching Strategies, 2nd Edition (2012) and The Biracial and Multiracial Student Experience:  A Journey to Racial Literacy (2008) by Dr. Bonnie M. Davis. Ms. Anderson presents her eclectic work at numerous local, regional and national events and venues, engaging her audience through compelling narrative, careful research, evocative experiences, and instructive storytelling.


Recently I presented an experiential workshop at a wonderful conference on Equity and Social Justice in Education.  I do this kind of workshop often but this one stands out not only as a prototype of my work, but as an archetype of sorts.  The strand in which I presented was “Othering.”

Borreo, Yeh, Cruz and Suda (2012) define “othering” as a personal, social, cultural, and historical experience involving a) cultural and racial ambiguity, b) categorization and labeling, c) hierarchical power dynamics, and d) limited access to resources.  At worst, “othering” is motivated by hostility; at best by indifference or even sympathy, but in each case, individuals are seen as “other,” rather than as part of the dominant and/or normative group (Lister, 2008).

As a non-academic researcher (not currently attached to a university), non-educator educational advocate (no experience as a classroom teacher), and person of non-normative aesthetics (facial scars), I often find myself in the company of teachers, administrators, and higher educational scholars.  In each identity, I am Other.

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Sleeter Photo Christine E. Sleeter, PhD. is Professor Emerita in the College of Professional Studies at California State University Monterey Bay, where she was a founding faculty member. She currently serves as President of the National Association for Multicultural Education. Her research focuses on anti-racist multicultural education and multicultural teacher education. She has published over 100 articles in edited books and journals such as Journal of Teacher Education, Race Ethnicity & Education, Teaching and Teacher Education, and Curriculum Inquiry. Her recent books include Professional Development for Culturally Responsive and Relationship-Based Pedagogy (Peter Lang) and Teaching with Vision (with Catherine Cornbleth; Teachers College Press. She has been invited to speak in most U.S. states as well as several countries. Awards for her work include the American Educational Research Association Social Justice Award, the California State University Monterey Bay President’s Medal, and the Central Washington University Distinguished Alum.

You have probably recently witnessed class sizes in schools surpassing reasonable thresholds, teachers losing their jobs, and university tuition increasing. For example, California Watch reports that not only have California’s class sizes risen by an average of 5 students at the primary level and 3 at higher grade levels (making 31 students the new average in classrooms from fourth grade on up), but almost 60% of the state’s school districts have shaved days off the school year. You have probably also witnessed pensions erode, libraries close, and social safety nets for impoverished families shrink. Read more

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Pugach PhotoMarleen C. Pugach is a Professor of Teacher Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she has been responsible for the preparation of teachers for urban elementary and middle schools since 1986.  Her areas of expertise include teacher education reform, collaboration in the preparation of special and general education teachers, and urban school-university partnerships. She is currently exploring how programs of dual certification in general and special education address diversity and the degree to which they represent substantial, transformative changes in teacher education.

This week I meet my first classes of the semester, one of which is a seminar for prospective teachers. These students are reaching the halfway mark in their teacher education programs and one of my most important goals is to create a sense of energy and motivation as they—for the first time—take on the responsibility of working with small groups and organizing instruction for whole classrooms of students in Milwaukee’s high needs urban schools. My seminar ties together courses students will be taking in the academic curriculum, assessment, and disability with their experiences in the field and places this all within a strong equity and urban-oriented focus that is the hallmark of our programs. Read more

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Anne Hynds photoDr. Anne Hynds is a Pākeha Researcher / Senior Lecturer in the School of Educational Psychology and Pedagogy, Faculty of Education at Victoria University of Wellington. She is also a Research Associate for the Jessie Herrington Research Centre at the Faculty of Education. As a teacher, Anne taught in primary, intermediate and secondary school settings, and in mainstream and Deaf education. Anne has a real interest in collaborative research / action research methodologies and has worked in a number of bi-cultural evaluation projects including the National Evaluation of Te Kotahitanga; the coordination of the Quality Teaching Research and Development in Practice Project (QTR&D) and the National Evaluation of Te Kauhua: Maori in the mainstream pilot project.

What is teacher collaboration really?

There are different terms associated with teacher collaboration, including collegiality, professional learning communities, and partnership work to name but a few. It is important to draw distinctions between teacher congeniality and collegiality. Congeniality refers to the comfortableness of teachers’ social relationships, while collegiality refers to the quality and impact of professional relationships and shared responsibility for change across classrooms through collaboration.

In culturally responsive schooling contexts, teacher collaboration must extend beyond the staff-room door, because the development of culturally responsive practices requires teachers to form reciprocal learning relationships with diverse groups of students and their parent/caregiver communities.  Friend and Cook (1992) state that “…collaboration is a style of direct interaction between at least two co-equal parties voluntarily engaged in shared decision making as they work toward a common goal” (p. 5). Teacher collaboration implies collective responsibility for improving all student outcomes within culturally responsive and inclusive environments. This means challenging deficit thinking and low expectations within classrooms and schools that prevent all students from realizing their full potential. Read more

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