Liberating Structures: Why Black Male Educators Leave the Field (part 1)

Liberating Structures: Why Black Male Educators Leave the Field (part 1)

The structures and systems are shackles. We have to remind ourselves that we the people are the system. Our participation keeps the gears turning.

It’s time we break the shackles!

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Systemic oppression demands a systemic exodus

Systemic oppression demands a systemic exodus

Our traditional public schools are systemically inequitable — in Seattle, in Washington State, and everywhere else in the United States. Put another way, our schools are consistently producing inequitable outcomes based on race and family income, and it’s a form of systemic oppression.

We know this, most of us. But for most of us, that’s all we do. We know it. It’s mostly an intellectual idea.

So instead of idle knowledge, let’s consider for a moment what that really means — systemic oppression — and what it means for us as human beings.

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The rock-and-a-hard-place reality of being a parent advocate

The rock-and-a-hard-place reality of being a parent advocate

It’s a strange thing, trying to advocate for equitable public schools as a parent of current students.

On the one hand, short-sighted, short-term thrusts aren't going to lead to the lasting systemic change we need. On the other hand, incremental, long-term plays won't have much impact on my kids, who are, you know, here right now.

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Columbia City's anti-bias, community-focused preschool is having an open house on Friday

Columbia City's anti-bias, community-focused preschool is having an open house on Friday

We’ve been navigating the ins and outs of assimilation and inequitable public schooling for our whole lives — and as parents for several years now with Julian. We’re being as conscious as we can be and going a day or a school year at a time, but I’m confused most of the time and not at all sure that we’re doing the right thing. The idea of now voluntarily giving our three-year-old over to the same system — of willingly starting this whole process anew, even knowing what I know — caused me such momentary near-panic that I wasn’t sure I would find a school for him that I could stomach.

Then one day last summer we stumbled onto a brand new preschool that was about to open in the south end of Seattle. Columbia City Preschool of Arts & Culture, we learned, would be centered around an anti-bias, anti-racist curriculum, with a focus on loving service to the community. And play, of course.

"We're looking to create the confidence that when these kids go into predominantly white schools that they can bring counter narratives to the school," Benjamin Gore, one of the preschool’s teachers and founders, told KING5 News last year.

If we’re being honest, that alone addressed most of my concerns.

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