Pamela E. Donaldson, Facing History's Associate Program Director for Equity and Inclusion, and Laura Tavares, Program Director for Organizational Learning and Thought Leadership, recently published an article on the School Library Journal website. There, they offer educators an invitation into equity work within their own school communities centered around personal introspection and self-education, as well as collaborative learning and reflection with fellow teacher colleagues. Below is an excerpt from the piece:
Summer is here: a time when educators often have a chance to rest and reflect. That reset feels more needed than ever after this extraordinary school year. Educators have weathered a series of historic events, from the COVID-19 pandemic that disrupted schooling to the massive protests sparked by racial violence and injustice. Many are relieved to leave behind the sense of upheaval and crisis that characterized the year—yet many don’t want to go back to “normal” either. As educators recommit to teaching for equity and justice, how can the space and time afforded by the summer offer an opportunity to begin to make meaningful and lasting changes?
At the global educational nonprofit Facing History & Ourselves, we’ve been supporting hundreds of educators and schools all over the country who want to better serve all of their students. We understand, as the Due East Educational Equity Collaborative writes, that “Educational equity is about individuals, relationships, and systems. A school that is educationally equitable is one in which we value each individual for who they are and provide the structures, environment, and resources each student needs to reach their greatest potential.… Educational equity emphasizes the needs, experiences, and outcomes for underrepresented or marginalized students….” This work is critical to building more just schools—and indeed a more just society—that invite, support, and recognize the contributions of all.
We also understand that there’s no single roadmap to creating more equitable teaching: our journeys begin in different places and will follow different paths. But there are a few habits—including individual reflection and sustained conversation in the adult community—that are a key part of any journey. We explore them below, with ideas and resources to help you implement them in your own practice...
How to Build an Affirming Classroom in the Face of Anti-Trans Legislation
In response to the rise of legislation targeting transgender people, Facing History provides resources for educators to build an affirming, welcoming class community for your students, especially trans and non-binary students.
A Brief History of Barbie: From Fashion Model to Ida B. Wells
The introduction of the Ida B. Wells Barbie as part of the Women Series of Barbies marks an opportunity to gain meaningful insight into changing conceptions of gender, race, and education through the emergence and evolution of Barbie.
The world of podcasting offers a platform for marginalized peoples to share their stories that would otherwise go unheard. Facing History provides five podcasts produced by Native American individuals dedicated to fostering healing within their own communities through the process of telling their stories and sharing their insights.
In order for educators to ensure that LGBTQIA+ histories get their due in the classroom all year long, Facing History provides five reads that reflect on evolving ways of narrating the past, while centering underacknowledged narratives and protagonists who may not have been considered appropriate historical subjects in prior eras.
In honor of LGTBQ History Month, Facing History provides a list of ten documentary films and television series for an opportunity to gain knowledge of LGBTQIA+ histories and for educators to ensure these histories are addressed in the classroom.
5 New Books on Native American History, Life, and Resistance
In honor of Native American Heritage Month this November, Facing History staff members selected five new books exploring significant thematic grounds of Native American history and identity to highlight the importance of engaging students in exploring the histories and contemporary realities of Native American peoples beyond this month.