The things we won’t say hurt the most
September 22, 2015
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by Tom Rademacher

Once we all get a bit more comfortable we can talk about race, and equity.

You know our focus is technology, is rigor, is test scores, and equity.

And really we talk about race when we talk about equity and what we mean by equity is all students and so really when we talk about anything at all it is about race, and, um, equity.

Another time though, we’ll totally get into it. We’ll talk about colonized classrooms and the kids we kick out and the kids that never come and the kids that sit and silently or loudly feel harm in our classrooms, and once we get through the agenda items about honor roll and parking spots, then we can talk about kids that are dying, and equity.

It’s at the end of the agenda, it has its own spot in the rubric, it’s the umbrella over everything that we always sorta address, I mean if you think about how often we say it, I think you’ll agree. But if you insist on asking and asking, I promise that next time we’ll really talk about how personal and systemic bias is really violence against students, would only be tolerated against kids of color and is failing and imprisoning and limiting them. We’ll really dig in on whiteness in our schools, I mean, first we have the other stuff we have to get to, and then equity.

But really all this other work is equity. So we can talk about funding and standards and tenure and salaries and it’s really all about us but really it’s all about the kids, and equity.

See? We can talk about it and never even have to talk about race, because we all know it’s back there somewhere, so we don’t really need to talk about teachers who are scared of their black boys, especially the really smart ones, who question the effectiveness of our practice, and equity.

And really we need more data, good data, better data, and more studies. The universities are really failing us, you know, just not studying this enough, but when they can tell us exactly how then we can start to think about a system that supports more teachers of color, about identifying what actively anti-racist classes look like and making sure it is unacceptable not to have one, we can know for sure how to make all students welcome and comfortable and supported and challenged, once we have the numbers, you know, about equity.

I mean, you know it gets a little sticky. You know it’s not something you can really look for, and everyone thinks about it in their own way, and we can’t really judge and we need to respect everyone’s journey, we can’t push anyone too far and really, when you think about it, isn’t it just pretty great that there are so many teachers even willing to kinda talk about these hard things, and equity?

We’ll get to it. We’ll get there. This will be a big focus soon, and we’ll have so many conversations. It’s on literally every powerpoint, and so you can tell we’re making it a priority, and sure we have to be pretty delicate, but we’ll keep pushing, we’ll keep digging. None of us, certainly none of us, is afraid of a real conversation about, you know, all that race stuff, and equity.

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