This week, I’m thinking about school safety.

Hey Advocates, 

Welcome to the Friday, the 13th version of the Weekend Voice. I’m not superstitious, but I know teachers who are, and I just want to say I honor that.

This week, I’m thinking about school safety. I may return to this topic, but there are two sorts of school safety - physical security and emotional safety. 

School safety is on my mind because we’ve all seen horrifying video clips showing police officers handcuffing small children in Kindergarten and 1st grade. For instance, many school districts in Minneapolis signed an agreement not to have police officers inside school buildings following the murder of George Floyd. 

A Bethesda Beat article describes how in Montgomery County, Maryland, the largest school district in Maryland, police officers were a presence in high schools starting in 2002. 

Although Black students are 5% percent of the student population, data shows that they are disciplined about 50% more than White...

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Let me say that again; it's a lot.

Hey Folks,

I'm getting this Weekend Voice to you a little late. I spent the day with my son, SJ, on his field trip today. My boy is so shy, so these are the best pics I could get with him. The struggle is real y'all :)

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week, Advocates. I see you. And if you haven't seen my email from earlier this week, I'm offering 40% off my courses. Use the promo code TEACHERAPPRECIATION22. And administrators, you can get 30% off my training or my keynotes. I would love to be invited by your school or district. Book a free consultation with me, and let's make something happen.

As I think about Teacher Appreciation Week - I recall that sometimes students send us lovely cards and messages, and we receive the occasional gifts such as gift cards for coffee or bookstores. Sometimes teachers receive flowers. The Parent-Teacher Association often puts on a lunch spread or a breakfast spread, and so does the administration.

I know I appreciated the cards and...

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It's ugly out there

Greetings Advocates,

Happy Spring! The days are longer, and I'm enjoying the extra hours of daylight. And, since school districts, colleges, and universities across the U.S. have different weeks off for spring break - I think all the spring breaks are coming to a close. For those who have had a spring break, I hope you were able to enjoy some relaxation.

As we all know, starting in May, we're beginning the countdown to summer. We still need to get through most of May - with seniors' graduations and promotions ceremonies in other grades.

I have several thoughts, and I'll return to them in the next few weeks. 

Earlier this week, a federal judge struck down the nationwide mask mandate on planes, buses, and public transportation. In her ruling, the judge indicated that she felt the recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control exceeded their mandate. I think I'll keep rocking my mask though on planes :)

We look at what serves the collective good as a matter of equity....

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How can we interrupt racism?

Greetings Advocates, 

Yesterday, when the Vice-President of the United States, Kamala D. Harris, announced the Senate vote to confirm Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, I was in tears. 

Consider this, Vice-President Harris, the first Asian and Black Vice-President of the United States, announced the confirmation of the first Black woman Justice on the Supreme Court. 

Despite the historic nature of the Senate vote, only three Republicans crossed party lines to vote for Judge Brown Jackson. Three. And if you heard any of the questions Judge Brown Jackson was asked during the hearings, you would have been astounded. Rather than focusing on her judicial philosophy and how she understands the law, she was asked non-related questions about books in the school library of her children's school. Ironically, the same books are in Sen. Rafel (Ted) Cruz of Texas library. Judge Brown Jackson was asked to define a woman. ...

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Brave spaces start at the kitchen table


Hey Advocates,

This week, I was in San Diego for the Deeper Learning Conference - what a fantastic city. I would move there in a heartbeat if I could.
It's April Fools Day - and I am reminded once more that jokes that make fun of people or put people down are not acceptable. Just don't. That's your April Fool's reminder. 

In that context, yesterday was Trans Day of Visibility. And while I'm so glad that we're acknowledging the day and celebrating Trans people, I don't recall a U.S. President proclaiming Trans Day ever before.

At the same time, there is also a tremendous push back with 240 bills in several states to not allow any acknowledgment or mention of Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Trans, Queer, and Asexual student. Books that refer to LGBTQ issues are being pulled from libraries. 

Yes, you read that correctly. I'll repeat it: There are 240 bills in several states that target LGBTQ people.

The impact of these bills, if passed, will...

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A year later, some things haven't changed much at all

Hello Advocates,

I didn't forget about you. I'm just getting back from the MACUL Conference in Michigan. I enjoyed being a featured speaker and providing two workshops during their pre-conference. I'd love to work with you as well, let's chat if you are interested in having speak at your next event.

What's on my mind this week?

This time last year, we were mourning the death of six Asian women and two other people who were killed at a massage spa in Atlanta, Georgia. That was horrifying, but even worse is that we have had several more violent cases against Asians; some have hit the news, while others have hardly been mentioned.

Asian Americans have noticed. They've seen both the continuation of these attacks and the limited attention paid by the media. Some members of the Asian community feel unsafe, and many are traumatized. 

Imagine feeling the need to look over your shoulder while walking down the street, standing on a subway platform, and having to...

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17 states are considering bills to legislate that teachers post ALL instructional materials online ahead of time.

Hey Advocates,

Did you catch the Art of Advocacy Live Stream yesterday with Dr. Sawsan Jaber? If not, make sure you are following the Leading Equity Center on Facebook and YouTube.

Oh boy! I read something that struck a nerve because it’s what happens when people think they can legislate something impractical.

Let me explain. The Washington Post notes that in the interests of transparency, 17 states are considering bills to legislate that teachers post ALL instructional materials online ahead of time.

As we know, many teachers post lesson plans and resources online already, including copies of their teaching materials and notes.

And most school districts have curriculum guides that are accessible online. Also, parents are generally welcome in classrooms to observe and principals, and others often stop by to observe.

These bills ask teachers to post the information a year ahead of time in some cases. Yes, a year ahead of time. In other cases,...

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Many of us have had students come to our schools after being in war zones, refugee camps, and after long journeys.

Greetings, Advocates,

Happy Spring, yes, it's officially a meteorological spring in the United States. 

This week, I worked with the local juvenile justice department in Albany, OR. I got to co-present with my father, Dr. Lewis Eakins. It was the first time we'd done that, and it was fun. We worked with the staff on addressing bias when serving youth and their families.

Against that backdrop, I thought about a couple of things. 

I thought about the prison population where Black and Brown people are incarcerated at rates that don't represent their general population share.

I thought about the school-to-prison pipeline and how some of our BIPOC students receive harsher punishments and suspensions at a greater rate than White students for the same behavior.

I also wondered how this helps young people. I have heard of some excellent programs with universities that help incarcerated people receive college degrees. I have also heard of thoughtful, supportive programs...

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"Whether a work of art or freak of nature, she’s a beautiful sight to behold"​

Hello Advocates,

Monday marks the end of February - and for a short month, February has packed a punch this year.

As we close out Black History Month, I was struck by how colorism and racism can show up. In recent days, an image of a South Sudanese model was posted. In response to the photo, a distinguished professor of psychiatry, department chair, responded,

“Whether a work of art or freak of nature, she’s a beautiful sight to behold,” 

Dr. Jeffrey A. Lieberman, the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry Chair, tweeted. Dr. Lieberman is also psychiatrist-in-chief at Columbia University Hospital Medical Center/New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He has been suspended from both roles. He also resigned as Executive Director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

Can we unpack this a little?

Upon seeing an image of a dark-skinned woman, Dr. Lieberman’s first instinct was to refer to the woman as a “work of art” or a...

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COVID-19 School Resources and Support

As cases of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) spread throughout the world, and into our communities, how are you and your students doing? How are you feeling?

As this virus spreads, it seems to affect mostly older people and those who have compromised immune systems. But even young students have older grandparents or know community members who may have compromised immune systems.  

Access to health and doctors is one area where our resources can be inequitable. Not every person in the U.S. has access to excellent health care.  

School district leadership teams and school administrators will have official messages to share.  

Depending on the age of the students with whom you work with, you may want to think of how to convey a couple of ideas in an age-appropriate way to your students because they know you and would trust your message.

  • The Novel Coronavirus is a virus; other types of infections include the flu virus. COVID-19 is different because it's...
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Every Friday you can expect a small and informative message from the Leading Equity Center. The Weekend Voice is meant to challenge your thoughts of education today and to provoke you to take action in your schools.