As the debate rages on the extent of equity and social justice for all, two perspectives are emerging. On the one hand, the traditional school of thought represents people who believe that things are going well and that the system operates well based on their conception of equity and social justice for all. These traditionalists assert that our system is fair and that it works as it is supposed to do. They further claim that the system’s operation aligns with the founding fathers’ statements in the 1776 Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that their Creator endows them with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
A year ago, who would have predicted that Critical Race Theory (CRT) would have become a 2021 national buzz word? A buzz word for those attacking it. A buzz word for those defending it. Probably with relatively few of those attackers and defenders actually having read much of it.
I have, but it’s not easy going. Lots of ideas. Lots of jargon. Lots of obscurantist legal analysis. But if you stick with it, CRT can be very thought-provoking.
CRT is based on a simple premise: the law is not neutral. As a result, institutions and systems that arise from the law will not be neutral. When Mark Twain asked a friend to explain his position on a controversial issue, the friend answered, “I’m neutral.” To which Twain responded, “Then whom are you neutral against?”
Hear the conversation about equity in education from these experts based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This podcast is part of the ADR Black-Jewish Dialogues.
Ardena Garth Hicks: Education Activist
Ardena is a Hamilton County native and practicing attorney who is the 2020 Legal Aid Society Pro Bono Attorney of the Year. She is a member of the Hamilton County Partnership Network Board of Directors, appointed by TN Education Commissioner Candace McQueen. The Partnership’s charge is to “review the progress of the five schools in the Partnership Network- which have been deemed priority schools by the state…and make recommendations to the Hamilton County Board of Education and Network leadership to support students’ growth and development.”
She is President of Chattanooga Endeavors, Inc., a non-profit organization which advocates for the interests of citizens repatriating from incarceration. Ardena previously was Special Prosecutor for Child Abuse cases with the Hamilton County District Attorney’s office. She served as Hamilton County’s first elected District Public Defender from 1990 to 2014 (3 successive 8-year terms), having been appointed to the newly-created position by Gov. Ned McWherter in 1989. Ardena graduated as a Ooltewah HS valedictorian, earned her bachelor’s degree at Middle TN State U. and earned her Juris Doctor (JD) degree from the U. of Kansas.
Dr. Jill Keegan Levine: Education Administrator
Jill is the Chief of Innovation and Choice for Tennessee’s Hamilton County Schools, a district of over 45,000 students. Prior to this role, she served as the Chief of the Opportunity Zone, a learning community focused on turnaround of the twelve highest needs schools in the district, as well as serving previously as the Chief Academic Officer of the school district.
After graduating from Wellesley College with a double major in Music and History, Jill began her career teaching 3rd grade and directing musical theater productions in the New Orleans Public Schools. She was the principal of Normal Park Museum Magnet, a Chattanooga Pre-K through 8th grade school, for 14 years. She led the transformation of two low performing schools into award winning, innovative, exciting and challenging places of learning. In 2012, Jill was recognized as the National Magnet Schools Principals of the Year. From 2013-2015, she served in the Obama administration as the first full time Principal Ambassador Fellow at the US Department of Education. In that capacity, she worked closely with Secretary Arne Duncan to increase the department’s focus on the importance of school leadership.
American Diversity Report, Chattanooga News Chronicle, Mizpah Congregation, Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga, Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda (C.U.R.B. )
Nearly every day I receive pleas to aid the less fortunate. Like many Americans, I give to a number of organizations from the local food bank to Doctors Without Borders.
Citizens of the United States are the most charitable people in the world! Collectively, Americans give over $292 billion, 1.44% of GDP (2019,) each year to charitable organizations! This figures do not include the millions of hours of volunteer service.
Canada is the second most charitable country, giving 0.77% of GDP, with the United Kingdom third at 0.54% of GDP. Many countries do not have a history of charitable giving. Instead, their citizens depend on religious institutions and the state to care for those in need.
The world will long remember the past year! We were thrust into circumstances that will forever change us individually and globally. We know the results – over 530,000 dead in the United States alone, millions sickened, an economy in free fall struggling to recover, a severely challenged health care system, new medicines, new disease conditions, and trillions of dollars in government spending attempting to ameliorate the effects of this global pandemic. The list of negative consequences goes on. But are there some “silver linings?” Is there some good coming from this daunting and often frightening global challenge?
Continue reading Maybe Some Silver Linings – by Gay Morgan Moore
2021 Cyberspace Trends
Many thanks to Deborah Levine, editor of the American Diversity Report, for assisting in sharing my work with the ADR. I’ve been part of IT field for a long time and have presented on Big Data, technology in education. I have also been part of Takelessons.com in teaching SQL.
I used to teach RDBMS for new employees in 1998, then taught in Oracle University on RDBMS, SQL in 1999-2003. I have taught also PeopleSoft University on the Workflow. And have taught as a Mentor for Cyber Patriot in the year 2019 locally in Summerville, SC. Let’s take a look at how IT has evolved and what’s coming up in the future.
In the 1960s, sociologist Harold Garfinkel founded a new field of inquiry called ethnomethodology. As such, Garfinkel uses the term indexing to describe how we depend on whatever information and experience we have to make sense of every social context. We call this social cues. For example, when a man in the US meets a person who is wearing a dress and a pair of high heels while carrying a lady’s purse, the man instantly concludes that this is a woman and therefore will instantaneously interact with this person according to the social etiquette between a man and a woman.
Garfinkel calls such mental exercise indexing. When we are unaware of social cues because we have not had interaction with members of a particular social group, we would depend on the common information available, whether true or not. This is when stereotyping comes into play.
It has become a truism that COVID-19 has widened the gap between America’s haves and have nots. As the wealthy add to their corpus, the poor struggle to survive. But beneath this master plot lie millions of disparity narratives, stories that repeat themselves over and over.
So it is with the narrative of English Language Learners (ELLs), educationese for kindergarten-twelfth-grade students who live in homes where English is not the primary language. Their parents may speak little or no English. Add the fact that many of these students — maybe most of them – come from working class families and are students of color. The absence of privilege triple whammy.
A Camel Through the Eye of a Needle
The National Association for Gifted Children (2020a) defines gifted children as those “who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude…or competence…in one or more domains.” Gifted programs exist to provide enrichment to the core curriculum and support these children in reaching their potential. Unfortunately, racial and ethnic minority students are regularly underrepresented in these programs, with the largest disparity being black students. It is both immoral and illegal not to educate a child on the low end of the special education spectrum. Why, then, do we not have the same moral imperative to help all intellectually gifted students reach their potential?
When I originally envisioned the cover design of my new book, VisuaLeadership: Leveraging the Power of Visual Thinking in Leadership and in Life, the image of the eye on the front cover was going to be blue. Not because I have blue eyes (mine are hazel) but, simply, because blue is my favorite color. And because it would align with the name and the brand of my leadership consulting company, BigBlueGumball.
However, just before officially committing to the blue eye, in the spirit of thinking outside the box I came up with the idea of, instead, using a rainbow-colored eye. This multicolored eye, I felt, better represented the concepts of diversity, inclusion, and belonging, as well as more colorfully foreshadowing the book’s emphasis on innovation and creativity.