Tag Archives: race

Back By Popular Demand

Hm: “White people don’t show hints of unconscious bias against blacks who belong to the same group as them, a new study suggests.” The Situationist


Yum: Fleur Verte, a perennial Rockridge favorite.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Separate and Unequal: Berkeley High

I’ve long had reservations about Berkeley High and the way its small schools function to divide students academically, which unintentionally tends to lead to further divisions along social and racial lines.  Earlier today I was talking to another teacher about how I’m working to address the achievement gap in my classroom, and happened to bring up my criticisms of Berkeley High.  After our talk I ran out to grab a coffee and what was the first thing I saw on the table at the coffee shop?  This week’s East Bay Express with the glaring headline on the cover:

Separate and Unequal at Berkeley’s Small Schools

Berkeley High embraced the small schools movement to close its staggering racial achievement gap. But evidence suggests that these schools are exacerbating the very problem they were supposed to solve.

Click here to read the full text of the article.  

At first I was excited to read the article–finally an indictment of the segregation at Berkeley High!  But, like so many in Berkeley, and I’m afraid so many powerful white teachers and parents, author Rachel Swan got the story all wrong.

Swan’s initial skepticism of the small schools movement is not unfounded.  Small schools, like their larger counterparts, are not without fallible teachers and administrators, or moments of pedagogy that miss the mark.  But Swan appears to view the issue similarly to the teachers at BHS who rail against the small schools.  

I’ve selected some of Swan’s own reporting to articulate what I see at Berkeley High, as a teacher, scholar, observer of BHS classrooms, opposer of segregation, holder of almost unattainably high expectations of all students, local resident, relative of a BHS student, and friend of many BHS alumni. 

Continue reading


Filed under Uncategorized

What’s Up With Black History Month

I’ve been thinking about BHM, and wanted to say something about it on ARL, so I did a little digging.  The first thing I came up with was Cynthia Tucker’s article that was published locally in the Chronicle on 2/9/09.  I think Tucker did a brilliant job elucidating the issues around keeping up the tradition, while simultaneously looking forward to better days.  I hope to share this with my students.  Let’s hear your thoughts.  

Black history is the nation’s history by Cynthia Tucker via the San Francisco Chronicle



Filed under Uncategorized

What I’ve been reading at nytimes.com this week

I can’t wait to read the Vena Cava blog.

I love Brussels sprouts.

The more I think about it, the more upset I am about this.

I’m so glad this is not my life.

The achievement gap is even wider between high-income high-achieving whites and high-income high-achieving blacks.

Let’s get more in-depth about how the stimulus will help schools that serve low-income students.  This is a start.

The sketchy 7-5 keeping another innocent man behind bars.  Justice is a joke. 


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Thoughts On Civil Rights

As you’ve noticed, MLK Day and President Obama’s inauguration have given me pause to reflect on the state of civil rights in our country.  Today I heard an interesting perspective and some disturbing facts regarding the subprime mortgage market crash and the affects it has had on black homeowners.  The report comes from commentator Amelia Tyagi on American Public Media’s Marketplace:


Amid hope, black homeowners struggle

As African Americans celebrate President Obama’s inauguration, a disproportionate number of them are struggling to avoid foreclosures on their homes. Commentator Amelia Tyagi says we should examine the practices that led many of them into this situation.


Listen to the January 20, 2009 Marketplace here or subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.  Tyagi’s piece appears at approximately the 14:42 mark.  

African Americans are two and a half times more likely to be in foreclosure than their white counterparts.  

Early in the 2008 race for the presidency, prior to Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Obama’s speeches on race, I was very concerned that we would have a popular black leader who only wanted everyone to forget that he is black.  My fears were in error.  Yet I don’t expect President Obama to be a civil rights leader.  I expect him to support a fight for expanded civil rights, I expect him to facilitate the movement, but not to lead it.  President Obama, a popularly elected executive of a democratic republic must unite.  Like he has said, his task is diplomacy, and appropriately so.

Now, as the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King urged us in “A Realistic Look at the Question of Progress in the Area of Race Relations,” we must celebrate our progress, but we must also never be satisfied with less than the total equality that we all share in God’s eyes.  

We need leaders to lead this fight; a fight that must take place in order for true equality to be achieved.  To fuel our mission we need writers to write these stories.  We need people to talk about the fight for civil rights that is happening now.  We need take the issue of civil rights out of history books (as if it were some static era that sprang up and then disappeared)  and put it back where it belongs–in 2009.

President Obama, will you help us?  

Let’s take the responsibility, let’s do our part.  We have a president who’ll support us if we make this our issue.  Let’s take this opportunity.

“…nobody thinks of [the foreclosures on black homeowners] as a civil rights issue, but maybe they should.”

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized



1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Dr. King’s Prediction

BBC World News America has unearthed a fascinating clip of Dr. Martin Luther King speaking to the BBC’s Bob McKenzie in 1964 in which Dr. King predicts an African-American president “in less than 40 years.” 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

I Never Thought I Could Love an Economist

Talk about love at first sight.  

Listen to Mr. Fryer’s words.  

The achievement gap is the number one civil rights issue in this country.  

AND the man is funny–he schools Colbert!  Beautiful.  Please watch this.  

Roland Fryer on The Colbert Report

I’m in love.


More links to learn more about Fryer and his project to address the achievement gap through paying Black students for high grades:

Click here for his contact information at Harvard.

Click here to view the project website: Edlabs.

Click here to read a Wall Street Journal article.

Click here to read an article in the London Times. 

Leave a comment

Filed under education, race

We Have A Lot Of Work To Do

You can’t all drop everything you are doing right now and become a teacher.

BUT you CAN and you MUST wake up tomorrow morning and pledge to do one thing, one small thing, for a needy public school.  


The children in our needy public schools are the children who are left behind, left behind enemy lines, not presented with opportunities, fail to learn, and end up the victims of our prison industrial complex.  This is the condition that perpetuates racism and injustice in our society.  

What you can do: 

…if you have $: http://www.donorschoose.org/homepage/main.html ANY amount is welcome.  $5 can help teachers fund projects and opportunities often beyond the reach of our public school budgets. 

…if you have time: walk down to your local public school and offer to volunteer: tutor, provide admin help, offer to speak to kids about your job.  Children need to see what is beyond the classroom walls and too often aren’t given the opportunity. If you need ideas, contact Saddleshoos, or visit http://www.idealist.org/ I typed in “San Francisco, School” and came up with dozens of opportunities.

Do it for a Rockridge Life.  There’s a complimentary copy of Dewey’s Experience and Education in it for the first reader who takes action.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Successful Teachers=?=Successful Students

This is an interesting model. 

CHRISTINE GRALOW also makes an important connection between two groups of kids that our schools consistently fail: low income children and special education children.  Often these two groups are one and the same.  We need to continue exploring these issues.

While charter schools are not a panacea for our struggling public education system, they are coming up with some interesting ideas.  I support that.  And I agree that in order to reform public education for the 21st century, we need to seriously reframe the way our society views teachers.  Teachers are leaders.  They should act like it and be compensated for it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized