A little over a week ago, Brandon Stanton, the photographer behind the blog “Humans Of New York,” posted a photo of a young man named Vidal who cited his school principal, Nadia Lopez, as the most influential person in his life: “When we get in trouble, she doesn’t suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter.” Vidal lives in a housing project and attends middle school at Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownsville, a neighborhood in Brooklyn with one of the highest crime rates in New York City. Keep reading »
The hardest thing I was ever tasked with reading in a history course was Edward Said’s Orientalism. I dropped the course because it was totally over my head. That says a lot.
My major was twentieth-century European history, and my focus was on Germany, but specifically the rise of the Third Reich. I was interested in finding out why and how millions of people could justify a genocide. I was very, very focused on Germany and Russia; I didn’t want to study the United States at all, but my major required me to take courses in non-European and non-American history, so toward the end of my education, I took courses — grudgingly, at the time — on African and Southeast Asian colonial history. Eventually I also started taking courses on contemporary art history, where I was introduced to South American artists like Lygia Clark and Gabriel Orozco, and, of course, my art theoretical deity, the Cuban-born American artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres. That’s really all the background I have on South American culture. Keep reading »
Bill Nye has been on an evolution-education kick lately. First, last week, he went on Newsmax’s “MidPoint” to talk about his vehement opposition to creationism being taught in public schools, or at all, to young children. When asked if creationism is making kids less intelligent, he responded:
“Absolutely. They’re holding the kids back. These kids will not be able to participate in the future. Because they will not have this fundamental idea that you can use skeptical thought to learn about nature. They will have to suppress everything they see in nature in order to try and get a worldview that’s compatible with the adults, in whom they trust.”
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Driving home with my 16-year-old son this week, I asked him if any of his teachers had led a discussion regarding recent events in Ferguson, Missouri. He told me that it hadn’t come up. I pressed a little bit harder—not in AP US History? Not in sophomore English? Nope. I then asked him why he thought that was and he responded, “Well, Mom, everyone’s viewpoint would be subjective. Like, no one would agree and it could get heated.” The sun began to set as we neared home and our conversation quieted. I felt heavy of heart—and I can best speak to that pain and worry as a teacher. Keep reading »
A new American Psychology Association study shows that while STEM is associated with masculinity cross-culturally, black women associate STEM with men less than white women do. The study mentions that African American women also study STEM majors more frequently than white women.
The stereotypes women — as well as men, as well as teachers, professors, and employers — hold about science and masculinity has a chilling effect on women’s participation in STEM majors and careers. However, black women appear to be more confident about approaching science and mathematics, possibly because the character traits associated with the fields – like independence and assertiveness — “may not be considered unfeminine” in African American cultures. Keep reading »