We're going to need more than one single solution.

Greetings, Advocates,

I've been thinking about you all lately, inspired partly by a recent New York Times story that featured several teachers saying that this had been the most challenging year of their teaching careers. We will probably not know the exact numbers, but I've seen social media postings indicating that in some districts and some school buildings, 55% of teachers are leaving, whether it's due to retirement or leaving for other jobs. One Maryland district had trouble filling sub-jobs in the spring when 58% of requests for substitutes were not filled because they didn't have enough subs available. 

We all know that many teachers schedule their annual physicals, dentist's visits, surgery during the summer, professional development workshops, additional coursework for recertification, and sometimes curriculum development. 

This has been a challenging year in so many ways. What's missing? Family, rest, relaxation, vacation, and time to de-stress.

Some of you are already on summer break, while others are almost on vacation. I hope you spend time on yourselves this summer - if not the whole summer, can you give yourself a week?

I am still thinking about the murders in #Uvalde a couple of weeks ago. We've had several other mass shootings since; however, despite hearings before Congress, some of our elected officials say that they can't interfere with the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms.

We're going to need more than one single solution. We'll need a lot of proactive interventions.

But if we can prevent more children from being murdered in their classrooms, it will be worth it.

What's giving me hope this time is that the former students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas School in Parkland, Florida, created a group called March for Our Lives. The former students and some parents have made gun safety their mission. 

With support from the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, March for Our Lives is helping to coordinate marches for gun safety all over the U..S. on Saturday, June 11th.

David Hogg, a former student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas, says, "This time will be different." I certainly hope so. They have organized over 300 local marches and one in Washington, DC.

If you would like more information about how to participate, check out March for our Lives.

This week, on my Livestream, I spoke with Carly Spina about Establishing Anti-/racist Language Norms. She is the author of Moving Beyond for Multilingual Learners. Spina says the book came about because she often felt multilingual learners were treated as an afterthought. The lesson planning and curriculum centered on native English speakers, and then tweaks or adjustments were suggested for multilingual learners. "Just have visuals," she was told.

Spina offered examples of comments that she's heard that reveal bias. She admits that everyone has biases but that our language has an impact. "Words have power; words have an impact," she said.

Carly has heard people in data meetings say, "This student is low," and she says numbers are low. "The student is learning and developing in both languages." We should ask ourselves what we can do to make it easier for them to learn. 

Another phrase she's heard is, "Those families are not involved." Asking what that meant, she learned that the parents were not involved in the PTA or did not attend parent conferences. She notes those involve elements of privilege, adding that announcements are often sent out by email and in English. If the family does not have the technology or doesn't speak English, they may not feel welcome in that space.

"We often put the blame on the student or family," Spina says, using phrases such as "This student is not motivated." She wonders what efforts have been made to connect with the student outside the classroom. 

"We're not here to fix children; they're not broken," she concludes.

I really enjoyed our conversation. Give the Livestream a listen, and don't forget to subscribe to the channel when you get a chance. I think you'll learn from it, as I did.

By the way, are you interested in being a guest on the Art of Advocacy Show? Fill out this application form, and I will get back to you shortly. I'm currently scheduling the Fall lineup.


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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.