Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Teachers Unite: Join the FULL COURT PRESS Against #SchoolPushout





Hello,

Many of you know that I teach high school history. However, the amount of people I've talked to about what I actually teach I can probably count on one hand. It's a strange thing for me, so much of my life is about what I teach and yet it seems to be a very private issue. So here it goes: 

For several years now I have been teaching about the history of racism in America and how it manifests itself in the 20th and 21st century. I'm lucky because I teach at a school that is free from state requirements that force social studies classes to be survey courses. Instead, in my courses, we consider the origins of racial slavery and its impact on the world today. Most survey history classes teach the civil rights movement and suggest that it ended in the 1960s. What is left out is the impact of the mass incarceration of people of color and how it has created what Michelle Alexander calls a New Jim Crow.

What that looks like at schools is that black and Latino youth are disproportionately pushed out of schools and into the criminal justice system through punitive "zero tolerance" discipline policies. 

At the wonderful school I am fortunate enough to teach at we experience the effects of school pushout. Our transfer students are often coming from punitive environments that suspend students for being late to school, wearing a hat, or just plain "insubordination". At the James Baldwin School we do our best to use restorative or even transformative practices that heal relationships and the community when conflicts occur. Programs like our Fairness committee, peer mediation, and Circles.

There are many examples of educators today that want to do similar work. We believe ending the school to prison pipeline is the civil rights issue of our day. And through Teachers Unite, we know we can make a difference because we are organizing our schools, supporting our fellow educators, and pushing the Department of Education to change the discipline code. 

But we need your help. Please give a tax-deductible donation to our efforts today. Any amount you can give will be greatly appreciated. And I hope to talk to you more about this work and about my school. I’m a proud educator and member of Teachers Unite

Sincerely,
Josh

Join the FULL COURT PRESS Against #SchoolPushout

Help us raise $10,000 to help 50 schools practice transformative justice this year and decrease the suspensions that lead young people to the School to Prison Pipeline.
In a series of 3-on-3 half-court games, teams of educators and supporters will be dribbling, jumping, fast breaking champions in the pursuit of transformed public schools and empowered student voices.
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Saturday, December 13th
2-6pm
Manny Cantor Center

197 East Broadway in Manhattan
Donate at teachersunite.causevox.com
RSVP on Facebook!
Bring your friends and family on December 13th
Volunteer at the event – email Katie@teachersunite.net for information
Spread the Word (flyer attached below!)
Thank you!!!

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