We are appalled at recent neo-Nazi activism and the abject failures of people in power to condemn it. But as schools begin this year I have been reflecting on why the groundswells of disgust among those committed to issues of social justice are often reactive.
Our public education system does not serve our students of color. Segregated schools continue to disproportionately harm Black and Latino students and schools are becoming more and more segregated by race and socio-economic status every day, especially in states like California. This is a persistent issue of racism, inequity and social injustice. Where is our protest of this?
School segregation is just one of many examples of the institutionalized and long-standing racism that is sewn into the fabric of our society. This will persist until acknowledged more universally and unwoven. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that “what will be remembered is not the words of our enemies, but the silences of our friends.” When we choose to protest white supremacy, we must also question why we support and send our children to segregated schools. We must recognize that for many of us it is a privilege to be able to protest racism, prejudice, injustice, and hatred when it is convenient or safe. It is not ethical, however, to accept some parts of a racist society and not others.
At Trellis Education we believe the opportunity to learn STEM is a civil right, and thus that great STEM teaching is an act of social justice. Our community’s work is a daily protest of the inequitable access of students of color to effective, resilient teachers with whom they identify and trust. My friends, let us not be silent. Join us in this daily protest.
To transforming teaching together,
A Few Starting Places:
- Worlds Apart: Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City (Nikole Hannah-Jones, 2016)
- Longitudinal research on school SES and student achievement (Poverty & Race Research Action Council)
- Benefits of Socioeconomically and Racially Integrated Schools and Classrooms (The Century Foundation, 2016)
- "Dear Colleague" Letter: Resource Compatibility & Equal Access (U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, 2014)
Change the dialogue: Take the Two Tour Pledge
Jessica Smith is a Manager of Risk & Compliance at Yelp, Inc. and heads up the Yelp Diversity Employee Resource group. She began her career at Ernst & Young in the Advisory group working on projects throughout the US and Europe. In her free time she teaches Literacy at the Urban Ed Academy, leads the SF Chapter of NAABW (National Association of Adventurous Black Women), serves on the MISSSEY Legislative & Policy committee and mentors at Code2040. She is a graduate of the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business.
Krista's work in public education spans more than two decades.
Krista taught in public pre-K to high school settings, including 16 years of dual immersion/bilingual teaching, and has been featured multiple times on TeachingChannel. She has studied how experiences of affirmation, solidarity and critique for youth from marginalized communities or groups can be created and nurtured, and founded the non-profit Transformative Travel toward this end. Krista has a BA in Chicano Latino Studies and is the regional director of the National Association of Multicultural Education (NAME). She was one of 12 founding Trellis Mentor Fellows who are responsible for creating and growing the first, cross-district, STEM-specific mentoring professional learning community in the state. She lives with her son and daughter in Northern California.
This spring, Trellis was one of six organizations to win a full funding request from The Battery to support how we track and support teacher growth as we grow. We are honored to be among five other, incredible organizations working to support education to workforce pathways in the Bay Area.
We believe STEM Teaching is an act of social justice because so many students still have less access to STEM courses, majors, and careers than others.
Join us on Monday May 15, 6-9pm at Yelp Headquarters in downtown San Francisco to explore the question:
How can we ignite a spark for all students in STEM...and keep it lit?
Register - FOR FREE - here: http://trellisunconf2017.eventbrite.com
Trellis Education enthusiastically welcomes KARIN LITTLE to the leadership team as Trellis' first Chief Strategy Officer.
Karin comes to the position with a long history of working with school districts and non-profits to address the systemic contributors to educational inequity.
Karin has over 15 years experience in launching, developing and growing programs and organizations in the for-profit, non-profit and public education sectors at a regional and national level. Little worked in a number of roles for the San Francisco Unified School District – supporting human capital initiatives, performance management and strategic planning. She also developed reading and science courseware for educational software company, Riverdeep. Little earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Ohio University and a master’s degree in business administration from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. She lives in San Francisco and has two sons who love math and Pokemon Go!