With 14+ years in education, this is nothing new to me. There are so many amazing teachers and administrators doing the work…but unfortunately, there are also those who we entrust our children to who do not believe in their worth/potential. And it’s a big enough trend to be surfaced through formal research.
As a parent of three children of color, with an insider lens into how public schooling works, this research terrifies and energizes me. I know that as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and director, I always advocated for kids beyond what most would find to be professionally safe. I also know that approaching the work in this way is hard to do without potentially damaging one’s career in some way (particularly if you are an educator of color). I am so grateful that this was not the case for me and I am still reflecting on my own protective factors- deep belief in higher purpose, clear vision for what is possible, access to external network/theory of change, ability to politically “read” people quickly and accurately, courage to act…
As a parent and fellow educator, I am so incredibly grateful to those educators who speak up, out, and advocate for children on things that we/parents would not necessarily be privy too (like a teacher inconspicuously picking on our kid, an administrator viewing and talking about our kid through a deficit lens, etc.). I just want to tell those educators who are passionate, deeply committed, and mission-centered….thank you!
The most critical time for our babies is when they first enter school and begin to form their identities at school. We need more educators who see the best in our babies and who are courageous enough to challenge the status quo.