I’m Rooting For Terry Crews

Should You Talk To Your Children About #MeToo?

“Making my way downtown—walking fast, faces pass and I’m home bound.

Staring blankly ahead– just making my way, making a way through the crowd.

And I need you. And I miss you. And now I wonder.

If I could fall into the sky, do you think time would pass me by?

‘Cause you know I’d walk a thousand miles if I could just see you tonight.”

I used to have a crush on Marlon Wayans.

It was a low point in my life, and he was funny. As with most celebrity crushes, I watched anything and everything he was in (even Senseless).

Yesterday I learned that Terry Crews (who played Latrell Spencer in White Chicks) is moving forward with his civil suit against Hollywood agent Adam Venit for sexual assault.

You can watch Crews’ testimony here. Continue reading “I’m Rooting For Terry Crews”

Should We Stop Saying Triggered?

The official term emerged after the end of the Vietnam War. In psychology, triggers are stimuli, often associated with the senses, that reproduce feelings of past trauma.

If tutoring is cancelled, I can spend my entire day only having to interact face-to-face with two people.

It’s an introverts dream!

Since I’m in a new role, and since I work with grade levels I’ve never worked with before, I spend a lot of time reading, researching, and reviewing best practices.

I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to help children develop and understand their ever-changing identities.

The more I read and listen, the more often I see and hear that someone has been “triggered.”

In high school my trigger words would have been ‘crazy’ and ‘selfish.’ I was a square peg coveting circles.  Continue reading “Should We Stop Saying Triggered?”

I’m Rooting For Titus Andromedon

Should you talk to your children about heteronormative standards?

He was from the south originally but moved to Chicago after college.

More than ten years later, he was still there– the only one from his family who’d ever left his home state.

We liked a few of the same things. We’d had a few similar experiences. Chit-chatting was hard, but he was talented and funny.

“Did you always plan to move to Chicago?”

We were waiting for friends and found ourselves alone at the snack table.

“No, not really. I would’ve preferred to stay in Alabama. I wanted to be closer to my family.”

“Oh, so why did you move?”

I’m rooting for Titus Andromedon. 

Continue reading “I’m Rooting For Titus Andromedon”

What We Can Do To Fight Against the Separation of Immigrant Families

Fact-check me. And screen these organizations.

Our Founding Fathers were immigrants.

More precisely, they immigrated illegally.

They were the first wave of “illegal” immigrants to claim citizenship in the “new” world.

A world that was already inhabited, for the record.

They migrated from Europe, bringing with them their children and families. They separated families under the guise of Christian evangelism.

Through brute force, sheer cruelty, and unmitigated violence they colonized, castrated, and killed our indigenous land owners.

Today,we separate families under the guise of Christian legalism.  Continue reading “What We Can Do To Fight Against the Separation of Immigrant Families”

Should You Talk To Your Children About How We Treat Immigrants?

On Sessions, 45, ‘I am a man,’ and ‘Ain’t I a woman?’

Most of the students I work with are immigrants. They are first or second-generation Americans.

They range in age and in levels from second to sixth grade. From time to time, I also work with a college-aged adult who needs help studying for the IELTS.

They hail from more than ten different countries and speak more than five different languages among them.

I tutor in the evenings and on weekends, so I’m always cognizant of the energy I put in. z

It’s a privilege to be entrusted with other people’s children, and I don’t take this privilege lightly.

A few months ago, one of my 3rd graders got really excited about a video he had seen.

He came into class chanting, “Build the wall! Build the wall!”

I asked him what he thought the wall was for and why he thought we needed it.

He said, “so we can keep out the dirty Mexicans!”

I asked him why he thought Mexicans were dirty.

He laughed.

I asked him how many Mexicans he knew.

He knew none.

You should talk to your children about how we treat immigrants.

You should talk to them if you, yourself, are an immigrant. You should talk to them if you, yourself, are not.

You should talk to them if your parents were immigrants or if your grandparents were immigrants.

You should talk to them about how we treat people we think “don’t belong.”
We’ve started separating children from their parents who cross the border illegally seeking asylum.

Parents are being arrested, and children are being carted away to government-approved detention centers and foster care. Since October 2017, thousands of children have been taken away from their parents.

We’ve seen and heard horror stories of children who cry themselves to sleep because they don’t know where there parents are—children as young as 18 months old. An immigrant father from Honduras recently killed himself in his detention cell after his child was ripped away from him.

Amid criticisms, Attorney General Jeff Sessions used the bible to defend this practice:

“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order,” he said.

“Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.” He quipped.

Americans have been taking children from families since the Transatlantic slave trade.

And throughout the late 1800s, thousands of Native Americans were forced to abandon their families to attend state-sanctioned boarding schools.

Army officer Richard Pratt contended: “Kill the Indian in him, and save the man.”

You should talk to your children about how we treat immigrants because America’s founding fathers were —spoiler alert—immigrants!

Before stealing the land from those indigenous to the region, they emigrated from Europe.

In our nation’s history, there have always been efforts to preference certain immigrant groups over others—as evidenced by the recent treatment of those from South and Central America.

You should talk to your children about how we treat immigrants.

To read more about America’s history of separating children from their parents:

Should Children Be Legally Required To Attend School?

Examining compulsory education around the globe.

Compulsory education delineates the number of years that children are required, by law, to attend school.

Laws vary among nations, with some nations offering no compulsory requirement at all. Children can be required to attend school because of their age (and in some regions, their gender), but compulsory attendance laws may exist as well.

These attendance laws not only require that children of a certain age attend school, they also must attend for a certain number of days each academic year. In the United States, children are typically required to attend school starting at age 5 lasting until about age 17.

In other countries, children may be required to attend school as early as age 4, but lasting up to age 10 only.

In the United States, compulsory education is traced back to philosophies that evolved during the Reformation. In 1524 Martin Luther proposed that mandatory school laws should be enacted so that Christians could learn to read the Bible on their own.

Massachusetts passed a similar law in 1647 while still a British colony; and then in 1852, it was the first state to enact a compulsory education law.

Parents who refused this new requirement could be (and sometimes were) stripped of their parental rights. Their children were apprenticed by other families.

Among the 196 countries that exist in the world, education policy differs on a range of issues: the age when children must enter school, the age when children must leave school, whether education is a fundamental right, how education is funded, how resources should be allocated among schools, what to include in the curriculum, and what the process should be for training and hiring educators.

Across the globe the average age for entering school is 5.9 years old; the average age for leaving school is 13.7 years old. In places like the Ukraine, the United States, and the Netherlands, a student’s education is typically complete by age 17. In Laos, Bangladesh, and Madagascar, education is complete by age 10.

*In some regions, students have the option to continue schooling even though it is not a requirement.

There is no compulsory education in Bhutan, Cambodia, Tokelau, Solomon Islands, or Oman.

In Kenya, primary education from age 6 to age 14 is compulsory, but secondary education is not.
The 2015-2016 Pearson report uses global data sets, paired with literacy and graduation rates across each country, to rank education systems throughout the world. There are separate standings for educational attainment and for cognitive skills development.

Pearson uses these data sets to support its rankings: The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), and Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS).

In the 2015-2016 report, education systems are ranked as follows:

1. South Korea
2. Japan
3. Singapore
4. Hong Kong
5. Finland
6. United Kingdom
7. Canada
8. Netherlands
9. Ireland
10. Poland

If we can take anything from the wisdom of other countries...

(and I think we can, and we should), it's important to consider a few key factors as we try to mold an education system in its likeness:

What’s the historical context that frames the country’s philosophy of education?

How does the country’s history of dominance or oppression factor into its creation of schools?

What is the curriculum meant to accomplish? To what ends is it successful?

What cultural, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs may impact school leadership or impact instruction?

What impact does diversity play on the skills attainment of members of underrepresented groups?

Should children be legally required to attend school? 

Should You Teach for America?

We didn’t start the fire.

A few years ago I had a bad first date with a youth pastor.

He offered to pick me up around 7pm so we could have dinner on the other side of town by 7:30pm.

Around 9:30pm he arrived without an apology or an acknowledgment of his lateness.

The restaurant was closed when we got there, so he drove around looking for other alternatives.

During the commute he skipped a few stop signs, drove through a few red (not yellow) lights, and stayed at least 20 miles above the limit on all the neighborhood streets.

“Shouldn’t you put your seat belt on?” I asked cooly.

“Nah, I don’t wear them.”

I tried to stay as upbeat as possible.

During dinner we chatted about the city, about family, about education policy, and about the best 90’s video games.

He mentioned that his grandmother had just passed away.

Tonight.

She had been instrumental in raising him and was more like a mother to him.

He lived with her, and only her, for the first sixteen years of his life.

He’d spent a few hours drinking before he picked me up, and a few hours driving after that.

Alternative Teaching Certification Programs are much like that.  Continue reading “Should You Teach for America?”

Should You Talk To Your Children About Beyonce?

“Be careful what you set your heart upon– for it will surely be yours.” -James Baldwin 

I have an irrational hatred for Beyonce.

I was at my aunt’s 60th birthday party recently, and I happened to catch my five year-old niece singing mid-song. It didn’t completely hit me until that moment.

Part of it is because she reminds me of my sister– a much younger, over-the-top version of my sister who was always Diana Ross when I needed someone rational and diplomatic.

Part of it is because we’re from the same town and we’re the same age, which means that she shouldn’t be more successful than me.

Part of it is because I have no real talent to exploit, and I always wanted to be a dancer.

Part of it is because she was invited to sing at President Obama’s Inauguration ball, and I took that shit personally.  Continue reading “Should You Talk To Your Children About Beyonce?”