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Ethical Schools

Autor: Ethical Schools

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Amy and Jon talk with educational innovators about creating ethical learning environments, helping students overcome the effects of trauma, and empowering young people to make change. Tune in weekly.
84 Episodes
We continue our conversation with Dr. Edwin Mayorga of Swarthmore College. We discuss the corporatization of schools that reduces students to their test scores. Dr. Mayorga encourages educators to center joy and healing. Schools should be liberatory rather than places that are too often focused on punishment and surveillance. Schools, as "localized nodes of political power,” should adopt democratic processes that cultivate voice, participation, and collaboration. As an organizer, he encourages coalitions of people resisting different aspects of racial capitalism, including those fighting destruction of the planet and exploitation of other species.
We speak with Swarthmore's Dr. Edwin Mayorga, who explains how abolitionist classrooms and schools create "freedom as a place" in contrast to racial capitalism. Teachers are the lead inquirers and try to "move at the speed of trust," helping to create classrooms full of joy. Edwin describes Philadelphia's Kensington Health Sciences Academy as a school where teaching and learning are based on establishing relationships of mutual respect.
Dr. Christiana Best, who spent thirty years in the New York City child welfare system before becoming a full-time academic, discusses her personal experience of being left behind in Granada while her mother settled in the US. Dr. Best, now an assistant professor of social work at St. Joseph’s, delves into the difficulties of providing holistic support to immigrant children and families, who are (justifiably) hesitant to trust government agencies.
Dr. Randy Capps, Director of Research for U.S. Programs at the Migration Policy Institute, surveyed Latinx high school students to see how fear of deportation – of their parents, relatives, friends, or themselves – impacts their mental health. The students, roughly half foreign-born and half US-born, suffered anxiety, depression, and PTSD at significantly higher rates than other students their age. Strong bonds immigrant students formed with one another were a source of mutual support. Students who engaged in public policy activism showed improved mental health.
Dr. Mandy Savitz-Romer of Harvard Graduate School of Education sees counselors as schools' academic conscience, the hub for providing holistic support to students. To be effective, they need a seat at the leadership table. Respondents in Savitz-Romer's 1000-counselor survey described obstacles and successes in serving students during the pandemic.
Dr. Kim Butler, who leads Rutgers's Africana Studies program, says that while we usually teach history and social studies in discreet, testable units, events are complex and interconnected. Slavery throughout the Americas was central to the development of capitalism. Dr. Butler describes how working class students often can't choose a liberal arts education because they have to focus on getting jobs.
Stacey Cervellino Thorp and Naima Moffett-Warden teach drama at Manhattan's famed LaGuardia High School, and Abigail Rivera is a senior in the drama studio. Although all LaGuardia students are extraordinarily talented, their families, neighborhoods, and middle schools have vastly different resources. Students and faculty, led by students of color, have won changes and are demanding more steps to make the school more accessible and the curriculum more culturally responsive.
We welcome back Lev Moscow of the Beacon School to discuss his approach to teaching political economy, which actually applies to any social science. It's not primarily about the numbers but about the human choices behind them. How do we determine who gets paid what and who gets to spend 80,000 hours in a lifetime engaged in meaningful work? Also, how our mantra of continuous economic growth will end life as we know it.
Daarel Burnette II of Education Week delves into the history of Black communities demanding education and school boards conspiring to deprive them of opportunities and resources. We zoom in on Virginia's reparations to Black citizens, now in their 60's, who were excluded from schools when Prince Edward County shut its schools to avoid integration. Mr. Burnette, a “military brat,” theorizes about why children of Black military families do so much better academically than their civilian peers.
We speak with Dr. Emily Penner, who studied the impacts of two programs in which students delved into their respective races, ethnicities, and communities. San Francisco's was designed for academically-struggling students of a range of ethnicities. Oakland's was designed for young Black men across academic achievement levels, as part of the district's "targeted universalism" approach. The results, in both cases, were dramatic.
We speak with Meira Levinson, Professor of Education at Harvard, about her website and books of “hard cases,” designed to help educators and youth workers think about the ethical implications of their decisions. Often, there are no perfect solutions, and  these decisions can have far-reaching consequences in children’s lives. A former teacher herself, Meira would like teachers to be able to consult with specially trained school ethicists.
Ellen McHugh, long time activist and Public Advocate Williams's appointee to the NYC Citywide Council on Special Education, delves into the challenges facing parents of students with special education needs. Ethical relationships among educators, parents, and the students themselves are crucial to these students' success. Too often educators minimize the importance of parental input even though the law requires that they be equal partners in their children’s educational planning. Remote and hybrid learning has added new obstacles to and opportunities for partnerships between parents and educators.
We speak with Mica Pollock about US vs Hate and Schooltalk. Student anti-racism messaging in any medium can catalyze youth activism. Comments embedded in teachers’ everyday communication can impact students’ lifetime trajectories.
We welcome back Monica Chen of Factory Farming Awareness Coalition. She describes the animal-agricultural complex that exploits workers in meatpacking plants and animals in factory farms and devastates communities and the environment. Monica introduces FFAC's culturally-competent virtual lessons and presentations for students from middle school through university, customized for all subject areas. Students who want to become social justice activists, with food as the hub that connects worker rights, sustainability, and environmental racism can apply to FFAC’s intern program.
Social studies teacher David Edelman and student Raúl Baez speak about their class's "Virtual Walking Tour of Slavery in New York City" and other projects in which students become teachers. David's goal is to instill curiosity and encourage students to connect history to their lived experiences. He shares suggestions for virtual teaching and teacher collaboration.
We speak with Monica Chen, veteran teacher and executive director of Factory Farming Awareness Coalition. Monica tells us how cow’s milk became a staple in school lunches even though most children of color do not have the ability to digest lactose, the main carbohydrate in dairy products. She explains how checkoff programs like Got milk? mislead the American public into thinking these are healthy foods for human children.
World renowned educational consultant Bill Stroud talks about schooling within our capitalist culture and the impact that on-line learning will have on teachers' autonomy and teacher-student relationships. He discusses similarities and differences among classrooms in different countries, the potential impact of the Movement for Black Lives on schools, and what envisioning a different system of schools would look like.
Dr. Alan Singer, Dr. Pablo Muriel, and Gates Millennium Scholar Dennis Belen-Morales, three generations of teachers, describe how they center student activism in their project-based social studies and history classes while giving students the tools to pass the NYS Regents exams. Dr. Singer was Dr. Muriel’s professor in college, and Dr. Muriel was Mr. Belen-Morales’ high school teacher and college professor in turn. Now all three are at Hofstra University. Part 2 of a two-part series that contains lots of specific strategies for teachers and passion for civics education.
Dr. Alan Singer, Dr. Pablo Muriel, and Gates Millennium Scholar Dennis Belen-Morales, three generations of teachers, describe how they center student activism in their project-based social studies and history classes while giving students the tools to pass the NYS Regents exams. Dr. Singer was Dr. Muriel’s high school teacher, and Dr. Muriel was Mr. Belen-Morales’ teacher in turn. Now all three are at Hofstra University. Part 1 of a two-part series that contains lots of specific strategies for teachers and passion for civics education.
Nia Morgan and Anahi Ortiz Fierros of Urban Youth Collaborative describe how police and metal detectors humiliate and traumatize students. The story of the "fork in the backpack" illustrates the system's absurdity. And while NYC school arrests are down overall, Black and Latinx students are arrested at much higher rates than white students. NYS legislature considers Solutions Not Suspensions Act. Campaigns for police-free schools are taking place around the country.
Comentários (1)

Courtney Ferrell

I loved this! very powerful stuff

May 22nd
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