I hope you’re all well and finding balance in your awareness of the difficulties that surround each one of us and in the self-care that will help you continue to engage in this work. We’re working hard to put together some workshops and discussion sessions. Please fill out this survey by August 5 to share your preferences so we can make some arrangements.
I know many of you are hearing about (and maybe considering) learning pods. Please read the latest post at Integrated Schools “On COVID-19 and Micro-schooling, Pods, and more” (7/22/20), including, “If we truly care about equity, we need to consider plans focused on the most vulnerable, not the most inconvenienced.” The whole thing is really worth reading, grappling with, reading again, digesting, reading again, talking about (calmly!) with trusted friends, internalizing…. Make the questions they pose in this post part of your new normal. They even talk about how people have responded in the comments, described as “spicy.” There are also very helpful additional resources linked at the beginning. Please engage with this. And consider advocating for something like this: Dominic Fracassa writes about “‘Learning hubs opening across SF to help 6,000 kids in need with distance education” (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/23/20).
I have some amazing local action items for you this week:
(1) Doorways is holding its annual Back to School Campaign. You can sponsor a child by providing a backpack, supplies, and a gift card for back-to-school clothes shopping. I believe there is another backpack campaign happening with several safety-net nonprofits (including OAR), but I don’t have the details yet. I’ll share when I see it.
(2) I have heard about an effort to address the wireless challenges in Arlington County. Please check out the information by ArlFiber and their “campaign to have Arlington County form a broadband authority to convert part of its ConnectArlington dark fiber network into a software defined open access network.” I heard from Arlington County Board members today that they are working on many possible avenues to making internet access a public utility like water and electricity. They need to hear from members of the public about our support for giving everyone in the county affordable or subsidized access to the internet in their homes. It sounds like the recent Comcast deal is not as successful as they had hoped.
(3) With permission, I am amplifying efforts by Carolynn Kane and Emma Violand-Sanchez about the Arlington County seal and logo and their roots in racism. Once you see it, you cannot unsee it. Please speak up about this and show our elected leaders that this cannot stand and must be changed, in coordination with the other efforts already underway to rename roads and places and to show that our symbols matter.
EQUITY IN EDUCATION RESOURCES:
- Laura Bliss writes about how “Silicon Valley Is Jumping on the Microschool Bandwagon” (CityLab, 7/23/20)
- Linda Darling-Hammond writes about “The Urgency of Reopening Schools Safely” (Forbes, 7/21/20)
- Tara Garcia Mathewson writes about “Kids with disabilities blocked from bilingual programs” (The Hechinger Report, 7/14/20)
- Anna Maier, Sarah Klevan, and Naomi Ondrasek write about “Leveraging Resources Through Community Schools: The Role of Technical Assistance” (Learning Policy Institute, 7/17/20)
- Eric Shieh writes “TEACHER VOICE: Reimagine schools? We must widen our starting points.” (The Hechinger Report, 7/10/20)
- Simone Stolzoff writes “How Would You Reimagine Learning? 5 Visions for Our Post-COVID Future” (Ideo, 6/30/20)
- Pamela Melgar writes “STUDENT VOICE: ‘I worry that the coronavirus is going to erase access to opportunity for low-income students and students of color’” (The Hechinger Report, 7/21/20)
- Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP) at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy & Practice created “A Toolkit for Centering Racial Equity Throughout Data Integration” (PDF) which relates to the importance of data sharing and integration in decision making in all levels of government and that racial equity must become central in that process.
- Kayla Svedin writes “OPINION: When black parents benefit from school choice, it doesn’t perpetuate racism” (The Hechinger Report, 7/15/20)
- Jennifer Blatz writes about how the “Cradle to Career Network serves as change agents in crisis” (Strive Together, 7/21/20)
- Jill Barshay writes “PROOF POINTS: Survey reveals stark rich-poor divide in how U.S. children were taught remotely during the spring school closures” (The Hechinger Report, 7/27/20)
- Integrated Schools had a recent podcast with “IntegrateNYC: Youth Voice for Real Integration” and also shared “The Integrated Schools Movement: Where We Begin” streamed webinar (7/13/20)
- Jackie Mader writes “Parents are panicking, giving up their careers and spending thousands of dollars on piecemeal solutions for the school year” (The Hechinger Report, 7/22/20)
- Claire Cain Miller writes “In the Same Towns, Private Schools are Reopening While Public Schools Are Not” (New York Times, 7/16/20)
The Wall of Moms in Portland, Oregon is inspiring. The statement on their front page is important to read and internalize:
- “We listen to Black leaders. We are here to follow their direction, behind the scenes and at the justice center. We go where they tell us.
- “Our goal is to push the media to turn the focus where it belongs: Black leaders.
- “We will use our white bodies, not our white voices.
- “Bev’s vision was that we moms would take some physical hits in hopes our Black and Brown kids, friends, neighbors, and loved ones will be spared some pain. To summon that mom warrior spirit to protect our kids — ALL our kids. To let the Feds/cops hit, gas, shoot us first. Not to be the voice of the movement.
- “A lot of us haven’t put our bodies in harms way like this. It’s really scary and awful. But it’s what’s been happening to Black and Brown bodies for years.”
- SURJ posted “Solidarity with Portland & a Call to Action” (Medium, 7/24/20)
- Olamide Goke-Pariola writes “All Black Lives Matter” (Arlington Magazine, 7/21/20)
- The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed a rule change “that would remove protections against discrimination of transgender and gender non-conforming people experiencing homelessness, severely limiting their ability to access emergency shelters and services.” LGBTQ+ advocates have created Housing Saves Lives to raise awareness and encourage the public to submit comments by September 22.
- The Arlington Branch of the NAACP Executive Committee voted on July 23 in favor of removing School Resource Officers (SROs) from APS.
- If you tried to subscribe to Symone Walker’s School Board campaign updates and had difficulty figuring out how to do that, they have added a button on the main campaign website “Join the Mailing List!” that you can use now. Thanks to those of you who let me know there were some barriers there — the campaign was very responsive to your feedback and appreciated your suggestions.
- I would like to call attention to the recent 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), one of many civil rights protections that is only as good as our ability to support and enforce it. Consider your ability privilege and how you play a role in advocating for equal opportunity. Related to this, Susan Mizner writes “COVID-19 Deaths in Nursing Homes are Not Unavoidable — They are the Result of Deadly Discrimination” (ACLU, 6/23/20)
- Please make sure you can vote in November! From the non-partisan League of Women Voters: “November may seem far away, but it’s not too early to make sure you are registered to vote. If you are concerned about going to the polls this year, it’s easy to vote by mail. You can request your ballot now, and you don’t need an excuse. Go to https://bit.ly/VoteArlington to register, update your registration, or request your ballot or call the registrar at 703 228–3456. The deadline to register is October 13, and the deadline to request an absentee ballot is October 23. Don’t wait! You can request your ballot NOW and it will be sent to you closer to the election.”
- I’m highlighting the Dream Project, based in Arlington, which focuses on mentoring, scholarships, community building, and advocacy for immigrant students.
Keep up the work!
Listen. Amplify. Follow.
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