October 27, 2015 by Bill Ivey

Some years ago, I became Twitter friends with retired principal Richard Lakin who used the handle @Thanks2Teachers. He had written a book, Teaching as an Act of Love, and though it was out in print, he was sharing an e-version for free with anyone who might want a copy. He was kind, friendly, supportive, and unrelentingly positive. A Jew, he moved to Israel to get involved with movements to bring peace to Israel and Palestinian children.

Two weeks ago, he was brutally attacked by a terrorist while driving a bus. Educators I knew from all over the country wrote to express their shock and sadness, to speak of his kindness, to offer their thoughts and prayers. Tragically, early this morning, having been sedated and unconscious the whole time, he died with his family by his side. His daughter wrote,

Dad’s basic views as expressed on his website were:

  • every child is a miracle
  • kindness and positivism are contagious
  • empowerment frees people to realize their potential
  • parenting and teaching are acts of love
  • schools must be caring learning communities where pluralism and opportunities for choice abound.

Filed Under: student voice, social justice, Feminism, Education, #educolor

Platform for Action

July 01, 2015 by Bill Ivey

In the aftermath of the Charleston shooting, I was both encouraged and unsurprised to see that Shawn Durrett, Dean of Faculty, had shared links to an article on the creation of a website called #CharlestonSyllabus and to the website itself. On Twitter, I had witnessed the ongoing emergence of #CharlestonSyllabus, designed to provide resources and support for teachers who wanted to follow up in a meaningful way, and had wondered how I would ever be able to keep track of everything. The website was exactly what I needed, and I wrote Shawn immediately to thank her for sharing the much-needed resource.

Filed Under: LGBT Support, intersectionality, anti-racism, social justice, Education, #educolor

Locked Arms

April 21, 2015 by Bill Ivey

Our words and activism can’t just reside behind lit screens and gray keyboards, but in the streets and the classrooms where our present and future learn. Until justice is truly served, not just for Ms. Zuniga, but for all social justice educators, fairly and equitably, we must lock arms. - José Vilson

Filed Under: activism, Education, #educolor

A Seat at the Table

March 26, 2015 by Bill Ivey

One of the dominant themes of the 2015 Teaching and Learning Conference was cultural competence, and for good reason. Students of colour are systematically underserved by our system, with systemic racism within our society leaving schools whose students are predominantly of colour underfunded, underresourced, and subject to a far higher teacher turnover rate than average. As Renee Moore has noted, post-Brown desegregation arguably served black students less well than the separate and not-remotely-equal system that preceded it, and we have not yet repaired that wrong. And as José Vilson has noted, the profession is becoming increasingly white even as our student population is becoming increasingly of colour. The percentage of black male teachers in particular has fallen from an already low 3% to 2%, with no signs of an imminent upsurge.

Filed Under: LGBT Support, intersectionality, anti-racism, social justice, Feminism, Education, #educolor

Seeking Intersections

January 28, 2015 by Bill Ivey

When progress reports are due, I’ve developed a comfortable routine of going from McCusker’s to Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters to Bread Euphoria to Starbucks to Rao’s back to Starbucks and so on until all my skills assessments and narrative comments are done and I’m ready to return to school and enter them in FileMaker. So each fall, when I see the first announcement of the GLSEN-Massachusetts Educators’ Retreat and it falls right at winter midterms, I feel - conflicted. Sad. This year, however, I simply decided it was by far my best opportunity to meet, learn from, and network with educators who, whether or not they personally are LGBTQ etc., want to support our students who are. So, with some trepidation at what I was taking on, I set out for Provincetown right after classes on Friday with my trusty laptop and a few changes of clothes.

Filed Under: LGBT Support, anti-racism, social justice, LGBTQIA Support, #educon, GLSEN, #educolor