August Readings

I keep saving posts (by saving I mean leaving them open in tabs until I can’t take it any more) that really speak to me in some way to share. Sharing them here is a way for me to reflect on them more and a way to, hopefully, help even more folks see them. Lately I’ve been thinking about all that I’m missing in this, however. I read twitter threads that hit me hard. I retweet them but should I be sharing them here as well? I don’t know yet. More for me to mull.

Back at the end of July, Marian Dingle gave the keynote at Twitter Math Camp and she shared the text and images of her speech. It gets at so much of what I think is wonderful about the MTBoS these days. I’ve been wowed by that community for a long time but in recent years there has been a greater focus on issues of equity in mathematics and education in really powerful ways. Marian takes it to a whole new level. If you haven’t yet seen this, I can’t recommend it enough.

A piece from Nate Bowling really got at some questions that plague me. There are so many things I am passion about, so many things that we need to do better, so many things that matter in education and in our society. It’s overwhelming. Nate hasn’t solved this for me, but he’s definitely made me feel more hopeful.

It’s easy for us to get tunnel vision around our own issues. It would frankly be easier for me to stick to class size, teacher salaries, and school funding. But now more than ever, people who desire a more just and equitable society must show solidarity.

My two decades in education have been in schools with significant numbers of students of color. In my five years (including this one) at my current school, I think I have taught two white students. However, both schools in which I’ve taught have had majority white teaching staffs. And not just majority, nearly all. I so appreciated Sherri’s take on working in a PWI (predominately white institution).

The director of the school (who is white) openly acknowledged that ours is a predominantly white institution and I have no idea how many people really got that, really understood what he was saying, but I sure did.

I have never had an administrator publicly acknowledge this. I’ve worked for five principals and a host of assistant principals and this has never been addressed. And I’ve barely noticed. That’s all very telling.

Again Shanna Peeples manages to write powerfully about a topic that is exceptionally difficult. This time it’s about immigrant families being separated. She connects it to a story by Ursula K. LeGuin in a way that is both horrifying and important to read. Fiction can often move us and make us feel things even more deeply and strongly. I think that happens here and I firmly believe we need to be feeling this as deeply and strongly as possible.

I am going to be spending weeks going through this piece from Tracy Zager, checking out links, bookmarking things, sharing with colleagues. Her writing here about why starting the year by assessing students is a terrible idea is beautiful. The collection of better options she offers is a immense gift.

N. K. Jemisin won the Hugo Award this year. Again. She has now won it three years in a row. In 2016 when she first won she was the first African American author to win a Hugo for best novel. Then she just kept doing it, for all three books in this series. I’ve only read the first so far, but will definitely read the others (when I can give them the attention they deserve). Her speech, on acceptance of the award, is worth reading (or watching). She knows why her wins matter. She knows the challenges still faced. She pulls no punches. I loved her before this. I don’t have words for how much I adore and respect her after seeing this speech.

Leave a Reply