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Special education: how students and their teachers are shortchanged

Jia Lee, NYC special education teacher and union activist, talks about the unfairness of the Fair Funding Formula, the school-to-prison pipeline, and the tendency of schools to re-traumatize vulnerable students. She also highlights the contrast between NYC Chancellor Carranza’s call for more culturally responsive classrooms and the City’s newly-mandated MAP tests, and the gap between...

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Special education: how students and their teachers are shortchanged

Reframing masculinity: stopping violence against women and girls

Quentin Walcott (“Q”), a leading NYC and international anti-violence educator and activist, creates programs that help transform men and boys — even batterers — into activists against violence. He focuses on the intersections of violence — race, class, and gender — and its impact on marginalized communities. Q is Co-Executive Director of CONNECT, a nonprofit that...

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Reframing masculinity: stopping violence against women and girls

Ed schools as allies to new teachers of color

Dr. Harriet (“Niki”) Fayne of Lehman College School of Education describes strategies to support new teachers and “second stage” teacher-leaders. She discusses ways to attract teacher candidates, reduce early-years attrition, and help teachers grow while staying in the classroom. Lehman builds ethics into leadership training and maintains long-term relationships with its graduates and the schools...

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Ed schools as allies to new teachers of color

Paula Rogovin: Creating a social justice early childhood classroom

We speak with Paula Rogovin, who taught kindergarten and first grade in NYC public schools for 44 years. Paula empowered the youngest students to become researchers and activists. She encourages students to ask questions (“anything goes”) and research is interdisciplinary, comprising literature, social studies, art, music, and science. Cultural relevance evolves organically from the research. When...

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Paula Rogovin: Creating a social justice early childhood classroom

Prioritizing Mindsets: What New York State’s Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework Gets Right

Photo by Kiana Bosman on Unsplash Schools adhere to ideas of what is the “correct” way to be, act, learn, and communicate. They institutionalize these ideas through school policies, teaching choices, and curricula. But these norms are not neutral or arbitrary; they mirror the norms that allow society’s justification for why certain groups such as white, middle-class, and...

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Prioritizing Mindsets: What New York State’s Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework Gets Right

José Jiménez on gender diversity and sexual identity in elementary schools

We speak with José Luis Jiménez, principal of A.C.E. Academy for Scholars, PS 290, in Queens. A queer educator of color, he came out to his students during Pride Month in 2017. If a community is truly welcoming to all, he thought, “you don’t “check a part of yourself at the door.” José encourages his...

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José Jiménez on gender diversity and sexual identity in elementary schools

Kiersten Greene on technology in schools: “Are we doing our homework?”

We speak with Dr. Kiersten Greene, Associate Professor of Literacy Education at SUNY New Paltz, about classroom internet use. Electronic tech’s transformational possibilities can go unfulfilled as schools buy and use tools and materials without evaluating whether they are effective or meet teachers’ needs. Huge funding sources like New York’s Smart Schools bond issue fund...

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Kiersten Greene on technology in schools: “Are we doing our homework?”

Ujju Aggarwal on school choice, whiteness as property, and the “right to exclude”

We speak with Dr. Ujju Aggarwal, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Experiential Learning at the New School’s Schools of Public Engagement. Dr. Aggarwal explains how neoliberalism, with its emphasis on individual choice, includes a “right to exclude” and perpetuates discriminatory school admissions, not only to some charter schools but also to district schools and programs, describing in particular the experiences of parents in Manhattan’s District...

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Ujju Aggarwal on school choice, whiteness as property, and the “right to exclude”

Jesse Hagopian on bringing Black Lives Matter into schools

We speak with Jesse Hagopian, an editor for ReThinking Schools and a long-time teacher in the Seattle Public Schools. He is a co-editor of the book Teaching for Black Lives. Jesse discusses the groundbreaking annual National Week of Action in February that makes four demands of schools: replace zero tolerance discipline with restorative justice, implement...

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Jesse Hagopian on bringing Black Lives Matter into schools

Adjoa Jones de Almeida of the Brooklyn Museum on art as experience

We speak with Adjoa Jones de Almeida, Director of Education at the Brooklyn Museum. We discuss the significance of “art as experience.” Ms. Jones de Almeida describes art’s transformational power to educate and empower students of all ages, both personally and politically. The Museum partners with teachers across the academic spectrum and works to include...

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Adjoa Jones de Almeida of the Brooklyn Museum on art as experience

Melissa Rivers on Community-Based Education in Rural Alaska

We speak with Melissa Rivers, Principal of the Scammon Bay School in Alaska’s Lower Yukon, a mile from the Bering Sea. The isolated, tight-knit Yupik Eskimo community is subsistence-based, harvesting moose and salmon. Students are artistic and learn by making things, but also must prepare for standardized tests designed for very different environments. For the past several years, Scammon...

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Melissa Rivers on Community-Based Education in Rural Alaska

Mark Santow on Suing Rhode Island for Educational Equal Protection

We speak with Dr. Mark Santow, Chair of the Department of History at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. Dr. Santow and his middle school son, along with 12 other plaintiffs, are suing the state of Rhode Island in federal court under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for failing to provide civics curricula and other components of an adequate...

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Mark Santow on Suing Rhode Island for Educational Equal Protection

Ethical College and Career Decisions

John Dewey, arguably America’s greatest 20th century philosopher and educator, stressed the importance of teaching habits of rigorous ethical inquiry in the classroom and in the larger society. He argued that students should learn to consider the impacts of their individual and collective social, economic, and political choices. Fortunately, many schools and youth programs encourage...

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Ethical College and Career Decisions

Lev Moscow offers advice for secondary school teachers

We interview Lev Moscow who, for the last 14 years, has taught history and economics at The Beacon School in New York City. Lev reflects that advisory, done well, can serve as a venue for students to explore questions of ethics, purpose and happiness. He talks about balancing the history curriculum to include non-European perspectives....

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Lev Moscow offers advice for secondary school teachers

Leo Ackley on teaching in Finland’s consistently superior schools

Amy interviews Leo Ackley, who emigrated to Finland in the 1972. He taught art, history of architecture, design, and engineering in Finnish schools for 37 years. We discuss the Finnish system. Teachers have autonomy to develop their own curricula. Finnish administrators are answerable to teachers rather than the other way around. Homework is rare and...

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Leo Ackley on teaching in Finland’s consistently superior schools

Kym Vanderbilt on ethical early childhood teacher preparation

We interview Kym Vanderbilt, Lecturer and Professional Development Liaison in the Early Childhood/Childhood Department at CUNY/Lehman College. Kym describes her students’ concerns about meeting the needs of teacher assistants and parents as well as children. She talks about the test-heavy teacher certification process, which is both intimidating and expensive for aspiring teachers of limited means,...

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Kym Vanderbilt on ethical early childhood teacher preparation

Anna Allanbrook on Brooklyn New School: centering children, marginalizing tests

We speak with Anna Allanbrook, longtime principal of Brooklyn New School (BNS). Learning at BNS is inquiry-based and cross-disciplinary. As well, BNS is known as the “opt-out school” because 95% of families opt out of standardized testing. The school offers no test preparation. Find more about the Brooklyn New School on bns146.org

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Anna Allanbrook on Brooklyn New School: centering children, marginalizing tests

David Kirkland on New York’s State’s Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework

We speak with Dr. David E. Kirkland, Executive Director of NYU’s Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools. A leading voice in culturally responsive and sustaining education, the Metro Center helped write New York State Education Department’s new Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework. The Framework is founded on a view of education...

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David Kirkland on New York’s State’s Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework

Norman Fruchter on the pioneering alternative high school he and colleagues built in Newark in the 1970s

We speak with Norm Fruchter, long-time educational activist and thought leader, about Independence School, an experimental high school where the ideal was that someone walking into a classroom couldn’t tell the teacher from the students. We discuss lessons learned – and perhaps forgotten – about supporting students whose original schools failed them. Among the school’s...

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Norman Fruchter on the pioneering alternative high school he and colleagues built in Newark in the 1970s

Soledad Hiciano on nurturing and educating immigrant children in an age of deportation and deprivation

We speak with Soledad Hiciano, executive director of Community Association of Progressive Dominicans (ACDP), a multi-service community organization in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx. She describes the challenges of supporting children who may have experienced multiple traumas, including homelessness and the deportation of close relatives. Photo by Bruce Warrington

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Soledad Hiciano on nurturing and educating immigrant children in an age of deportation and deprivation

David C. Bloomfield on why we need a revolution in attitude to see education as a social good rather than an individual property right

We speak with Dr. David C. Bloomfield, Professor of Education Leadership. Law & Policy at Brooklyn College. David Bloomfield condemns the social Darwinism and “hoarding” mentality of our education systems. He explains how school resource allocation exacerbates segregation and inequality, a process deliberately abetted by the proliferation of school districts around the country.  Education policy and financing reinforce an us against them view of schools....

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David C. Bloomfield on why we need a revolution in attitude to see education as a social good rather than an individual property right

Silvia Canales on Relationship-Based College Counseling

We speak with Silvia Canales, who coordinates the college advisory program at Brotherhood/Sister Sol, an organization that provides comprehensive and holistic support services to underserved youth. Silvia talks about fully integrating college counseling into a program environment in which adults know young people well and students engage in systematic self-reflection. Find more about Silvia and...

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Silvia Canales on Relationship-Based College Counseling

Scarlett Lewis on the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement: A Sandy Hook parent’s SEL program

“Nurturing, Healing Love” was the message that Scarlett Lewis found on her kitchen chalkboard shortly before her son, Jesse, was murdered in his first-grade classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In order to become part of the solution to the violence, Scarlett founded The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement with a mission to ensure that...

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Scarlett Lewis on the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement: A Sandy Hook parent’s SEL program

Adán Vásquez on The Washington Heights Community Conservatory of Fine Arts: “I could be the one playing the cello!”

We talk with Adán Vásquez, executive and artistic director of the Association of Dominican Classical Artists and the Washington Heights Community Conservatory of Fine Arts, a unique free classical and folk music education program for the youth of Upper Manhattan. Adán Vásquez, a harpist, is an educator, an acclaimed classical musician, and a community activist....

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Adán Vásquez on The Washington Heights Community Conservatory of Fine Arts: “I could be the one playing the cello!”

The school that Bushwick built: the story of EBC High School for Public Service

Introduction I’m Shirley Edwards, and I was Principal of the EBC High School for Public Service, Bushwick for ten of its formative years.  Bushwick is an “inner city” community in Brooklyn, NY, and when I became principal – in 1993, the second year of the school – it was beset with all of the problems...

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The school that Bushwick built: the story of EBC High School for Public Service

Kids learn through relationships: a conversation with Pedro Noguera about building a culture conducive to teaching and learning

We talk with Dr. Pedro Noguera about public school models that work for students, parents and teachers, and how to build a social movement for a progressive education agenda. He talks about the social dimensions to learning and the mismatch between students’ needs and teachers’ skills. He argues that an obstacle to making change in...

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Kids learn through relationships: a conversation with Pedro Noguera about building a culture conducive to teaching and learning

Jason Warwin on The Brotherhood/Sister Sol: building strong Black and Latinx youth leaders for social change

Jason Warwin is the Co-Founder and Associate Executive Director of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol, an organization that provides comprehensive, holistic and long-term support services to youth who range in age from eight to twenty-two. Located in Harlem (NYC), Bro/Sis also has programs dedicated to developing Black and Latinx youth in Africa, Latin America and The Caribbean....

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Jason Warwin on The Brotherhood/Sister Sol: building strong Black and Latinx youth leaders for social change

Stephanie Carnes on Post-traumatic Growth and Resilience: cultural competence and creating safe environments for Central American immigrant children in today’s U.S.

We talk with Stephanie Carnes, a trauma-focused bilingual school social worker in a large public high school in New York’s Hudson Valley. Stephanie worked as the lead clinician in a federally-funded shelter program for unaccompanied children from Central America and as a consultant she challenges the districts and agencies with whom she works to re-envision...

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Stephanie Carnes on Post-traumatic Growth and Resilience: cultural competence and creating safe environments for Central American immigrant children in today’s U.S.

Mark Gordon on the Friends and Relationships Course: teaching and learning from people with intellectual disabilities about sexuality, interdependence, and inclusion

We talk with Mark Gordon, founder of the Friends and Relationships Course, a program in New Mexico that provides classes for adults with intellectual disabilities who want to learn how to form intimate and other relationships. He talks about what he’s learned over 15 years of teaching sexuality classes, learning along with his son about...

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Mark Gordon on the Friends and Relationships Course: teaching and learning from people with intellectual disabilities about sexuality, interdependence, and inclusion

Zoe Weil on humane education: the world becomes what we teach

We talk with Zoe Weil, the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education. She talks about providing young people with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to address our pressing challenges in order to transform unsustainable and unjust systems into ones that are humane, healthy, and peaceful. Find more about Zoe and the Institute...

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Zoe Weil on humane education: the world becomes what we teach

Deborah Meier on Public Education and Democracy: What makes an ethical school

We talk with MacArthur "genius" award winner Deborah Meier, a founder of the small schools movement, about what makes a good school. She talks about how to build and maintain trust and mutual respect among students, teachers, and families.

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Deborah Meier on Public Education and Democracy: What makes an ethical school

Eva Lopez on Act4Change: applying Theatre of the Oppressed to building social justice in The Bronx

We talk with Eva Lopez about Act4Change, a Theatre of the Oppressed project in the Bronx. Eva Lopez uses theater techniques to invite children and youth to envision liberation and to empower them to resist oppression. Audiences become spect-actors to examine root causes of bullying, domestic violence and other personal/societal crises.

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Eva Lopez on Act4Change: applying Theatre of the Oppressed to building social justice in The Bronx

Shirley Edwards on EBC High School: Building an educational community in Bushwick

We talk with Shirley Edwards about EBC High School for Public Service and the creation of an intentional educational community of students, teachers, parents, and East Brooklyn Congregations. Shirley Edwards was the founding principal. She came with a background as a teacher and a parent coordinator, and responded to parents’ desperation for a high school...

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Shirley Edwards on EBC High School: Building an educational community in Bushwick

Theater, Education, and Community

Strongly influenced by Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Brazilian activist and director Augusto Boal created Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) in the 1970s. TO comprises a series of techniques combining performance and participation, inviting audiences to envision liberation and empowering them to resist oppression. If successful, TO catalyzes social change.   Boal argues that traditional theater has been used as...

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Theater, Education, and Community

Feelings Charts Instead of Behavior Charts: Radical Love Instead of Shame

As practitioners and teachers of Emotionally Responsive Practice (ERP) at Bank Street College, we have the privilege and adventure of stepping into a wide range of settings in which grownups work with groups of children. We travel from daycare centers to independent schools, from charter schools to NYC public schools, seeing classroom practice with children...

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Feelings Charts Instead of Behavior Charts: Radical Love Instead of Shame

Ethical Environments: Robotics

Throughout my two decades teaching,  ethics has been central to what I view as my dual role of educator and mentor. Ethics, from the Greek “ethos,” meaning “character,”  comprise the principles and priorities that govern people’s actions and their relationships with others. What follows is an account of an effort to create on a small...

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Ethical Environments: Robotics

NY Opens the Door to SEL

In August, the New York State Education Department published Social Emotional Learning: Essential for Learning, Essential for Life, a detailed document calling for all NYS schools to incorporate social emotional learning into their daily instructional practice with fidelity and district-wide support.  The linked Social Emotional Learning Benchmarks, however, are voluntary, and the authors point to...

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NY Opens the Door to SEL

Critical Care, Cultural Humility and the Reflective Practitioner

As a social work educator trained as an education researcher, my understanding of the work of practitioners in schools and other community settings is informed by a number of conceptual frameworks. My practice career as a school social worker and my identity as a Latinx/Diasporican scholar have also informed the research questions I have pursued....

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Critical Care, Cultural Humility and the Reflective Practitioner

Holistic College and Career Advisement

I have worked in college and career counseling at The Brotherhood/Sister Sol in Harlem since 2001; during the past five years I have formalized the program and spent most of my time on it. In this article, I reflect on lessons learned and make recommendations to those either working in or developing college and career...

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Holistic College and Career Advisement

All Students Deserve an Education in the Arts

How do we, as educators and active participants in society, ensure that all children, not just those parents have money for elite schools, receive music and art education? How did music and other arts become expendable subjects? How can we get decision-makers to see that that the arts are just as important as math, English,...

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All Students Deserve an Education in the Arts