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CCE staff and partner reflections on our collaborative work to create schools where learning is engaging and rewarding, and every student is set up for success.

Eight for Equity! November Roundup

As Daylight Savings time is upon us and the final remaining leaves begin to fall, I am embracing sweaters and all things pumpkin spice. I’m excited that it is officially perfect weather for curling up under a blanket with a good book, which is why I am always on the search for book recommendations this time of year—the inspiration behind this month’s Eight for Equity post! This month we feature eight CCE staff members’ top book recommendations for diving into all things equity. Check out our top eight picks (with a couple bonus recommendations mixed in!).

Black Panther

Black Panther (graphic novels) by Ta-Nehisi Coates

“I'm going to go outside our bubble and recommend [Ta-Nehisi Coates’] Black Panther graphic novels.  These are complex and satisfying; they raise all of the issues that need to be raised in a way that can be grokked by kids and adults. I can attest from personal experience that they stand up to multiple readings.”

Everyday Antiracism by Mica Pollack

“This book was deeply transformational to my teaching practice, beacause it provided concrete guidance - framed reflectively rather than as a "how to" guide, but nevertheless dwelling in the realm of authentic, lived, school and classroom experiences.  Previous to my reading this book, as an educator working in diverse classrooms within conservative, traditional schools, I focused my efforts on being inclusive, within the curriculum and within the classroom culture I co-created with my students. However, this book prodded me to look beyond inclusion and avoiding the racist and oppressive trappings that schools like mine defaulted to, and instead to consider how best to be working to provide an antiracist, effective alternative for my students.  What educators might only understand about antiracism in theory or be halfheartedly attempting becomes vivid, real and urgent through the support provided in this book.”

For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood (and the rest of y'all too) by Chris Emdin

“Chris Emdin is a deeply compelling speaker, and after hearing his keynote at SXSWEdu in 2016 and being deeply compelled by his message, I was eager to read his book. It did not disappoint! This is full of concrete strategies for the urban educator, particularly one working outside of his or her own community, and its blend of conviction and logic help frame its message and lend it urgency: the Black and brown children of our cities are being failed by the stream of (mainly white) culturally ignorant teachers delivering a "traditional," ultimately oppressive approach to teaching.  Rather than simply critiquing this, the book provides a clearly laid-out alternative, complete with anecdotes and specific approaches that have the potential to help a teacher transform his or her classroom into one that is culturally responsive and effective. Although I wish I'd read this book before or during my years as a classroom teacher, its value holds up for me as a coach.”

Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom by Lisa Delpit

Delpit has been writing incisively and provocatively about race, equity, and education for a long time. As a young white man working in culturally and racially diverse schools, this book persistently pressed me to be aware of my own biases in the classroom (and in the teachers room) and to cultivate a more humble and inclusive presence.

Pedagogy of the Opressed

Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire

“Written in 1968, Pedagogy of the Oppressed remains relevant 50 years later.  I first encountered Freire during my undergrad education courses, but in graduate school, I read it cover-to-cover, and was struck by its importance to our collective exploration of anti-oppressive alternatives to traditional schools - most of which still resemble the "banking" method of education that this book incisively critiques. Pulling from the author's experience teaching literacy to adults in Brazil, this book pushes educators to first and foremost be empathetic allies rather than teaching "at" students, which dehumanizes them and replicates a kind of colonization within the classroom.  The alternative praxis that Freire describes results instead, in students self-liberating through learning, facilitated by the educator. The concepts in this book are still eye-opening and foundational to any educator working toward equity and an important antidote to our nation's top-down, accountability-focused approach to teaching many of our most marginalized students.”

Subtractive Schooling: U.S.-Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring by Angela Valenzuela

This book is a timely read as we currently struggle with our immigration policy on the southern border. Dr. Valenzuela does a thorough analysis of the Latino student experiences in a large urban school and the educational challenges facing Latino immigrant and U.S.-born students. She outlines important recommendations for transforming their academic experience and success.

Troublemakers: Lessons in Freedom from Young Children at School

Troublemakers: Lessons in Freedom from Young Children at School by Carla Shalaby

A deeply humanizing and moving book about inclusive education, Shalaby selects four first- and second-grade children and tries to reframe their struggles as quests for freedom. In doing so, she challenges us to think more expansively about how children are labeled and how classrooms and schools are organized for equity.

Why Are All of the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations about Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum

“Beverly Daniel Tatum published her twentieth anniversary edition in the summer of 2017, and each chapter is as important today as it was in 1997. Tatum walks us through the complexity of identities and the ongoing and fluid process of identity development for children and adults of all races. She offers a definition of racism referring to it as "the smog we breathe,” looking at how the history and structures of our society operate to perpetuate the cycle of racism. Tatum unpacks how we come to see ourselves, and how the world treats and interacts with us based on its perceptions of who we are. She offers the reader a deep understanding of themselves and everyone around us in the reality of the racialized context for which we all live.  Her 2017 prologue, Why Are All of The Black Kids Still Siting Together in the Cafeteria, takes us through the changing demographic, justice decisions, and politics of the last 20 years establishing how race still matters in the twenty-first century.”

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