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Author, Dreamer, Educator: A life in service - NYPD, EMS, disabilities/UDL specialist, tech and innovation leader for education. Co-author of Timeless Learning

SpeEdChange.at.Medium

police officers outside the Capitol on January 6, one holds his head in his hands
police officers outside the Capitol on January 6, one holds his head in his hands
police officers outside the Capitol on January 6

I am not a big fan of punishment. Punishments rarely prevent ‘recidivism,’ and the threat of punishment rarely discourages the illegal, the immoral, or the inappropriate. …


SpeEdChange.at.Medium

The school at the center of the NY Times podcast, Nice White Parents
The school at the center of the NY Times podcast, Nice White Parents
IS 293, “Nathan Hale Middle School,” in Brooklyn, NY. The subject of Nice White Parents, the New York Times/Serial Podcast Series.

Exclusionary “Learning Pods” are not just racist, and of course classist, let’s state the obvious, but they are also violence against children, and we must say this.

Broadband access in this nation is racist and classist and an assault on rural children and children everywhere whose parents lack resources. We must say this.

The way schools are funded, including via PTA/PTO fundraising is racist and classist and represents violence against children everywhere whose parents lack resources. We must say this.

The timeline of the series stops at the pandemic. But Ms. Joffe-Walt said the nation’s education system is at a pivotal juncture, noting the future could be indelibly shaped by white parents. …


SpeEdChange.at.Medium

2018 Wisconsin State House of Representatives election results. Republicans get 45% of votes and 63% of seats.
2018 Wisconsin State House of Representatives election results. Republicans get 45% of votes and 63% of seats.
Wisconsin 2018, elections for State House of Representatives. Republicans received under 45% of votes, but won over 63% of seats.

America likes to perceive itself as a leader in global democracy, or at least it did before January 2017, but leadership often conveys a sense of “staying ahead of the game,” and the United States has a peculiarly antique electoral and government system, one inherited — almost in entirety — from the national parent, 18th Century Britain. This “Queen Anne Democracy” was never intended to be a democracy in any way, it wasn’t designed that way, the founders — though expressing noble intentions — were for the most part elite Southern plantation owners, and seven of those 13 original states (including New York) were slave states. So US Constitution was designed to absolutely limit democracy, which despite progress, it still does. …


SpeEdChange.at.Medium

1965 Selma March for Voting Rights
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One of the Monument Projects from Albemarle High School

I watched one young man building the model of his monument and asked him to tell me about it. “It’s a monument to front porches,” he said — and what he was building was a very long porch with many places to sit — “because that was what my grandma had, and I loved the conversations [we had] there, and I think we don’t have that much [anymore].” …


SpeEdChange TLDR Long Read

Over the last dozen or so years my body has betrayed me. The physical skills that were a big part of the identity I had constructed for myself — sports, being able to build things, fix things, repair a car, wire a house…have mostly left me. Now, as I struggle to alleviate physical pain, I need to re-imagine who I am, what I am capable of, and how I will live my life. …


SpeEdChange TLDR Long Read

Let’s be clear, our educational structures and norms are every bit as at fault as the structures and norms of policing.

Things. Must. Change.

The failures of our society, of our culture, of our institutions, all on display in magnified form over the past four years, have blown up in our face.

And that can become a very good thing.

Content warning: I believe that every white American needs to watch this, preferably with VR googles on to make sure attention doesn’t stray


SpeEdChange.at.Medium

The events of the past two weeks have left many, even most of us incredibly angry, incredibly determined, and, yes, incredibly confused. But if we are educators, or if we are police officers, we do not have the luxury of either time or inaction. Sometimes the call to duty is both absolutely clear and absolutely urgent, and this is one of those times.

What is truth?

Over the past two weeks we have seen a stunning increase in the obvious lies told by people in power — and since the daily count was already very high, that’s pretty horrific. Every hour a police chief, a mayor, a governor, and of course the White House claims that something for which there is undeniable evidence, “didn’t happen.” There’s also the other lie, the “I didn’t know" that’s the stock in trade of Republican senators, cabinet secretaries, et al. “I didn’t know where I was going,” said Secretary of Defense Mark Esper after he marched across a public park seized by force by his troops to support a pathetic photo op for his boss (he made up a different story the next day, describing his job as supervisor of park restrooms). …


SpeEdChange.at.Medium

The obvious: it is not nearly enough to not be a racist, to be a responsible member of a democratic society one must be actively anti-racist.

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Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

Is there even such a thing as being ‘not a racist’? Not a racist sounds a lot like a German in the 1930s being “not a Nazi,” or, in the United States in the 1860s being “not a slaveowner,” or being the person who watches someone on the street having a heart attack, being assaulted, being struck by a car, who doesn’t bother to call 911.

Former Minneapolis police officers Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao might all claim to be “not racists.” Senator Tom Cotton of Oklahoma might claim to be “not racist.” Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina might claim to be “not racist” — “not misogynist,” etc.” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper might claim to be “not racist.” Even the notorious Alabama Governor George Wallace claimed he was “not a racist.” But in every one of these cases, actions tell a different story. Actions or non-actions, because non-actions are actions. …


SpeEdChange.at.Medium

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Donald Trump has been doing this as long as he’s been an adult — Long Beach Post

There is no difference between the looters in our streets now and Donald J. Trump. There is no difference between the looters in our streets now and Moscow Mitch McConnell. There is no difference between the looters in our streets now and the Koch brothers. There is no difference between the looters in our streets now and the national Republican Party, or Jerry Falwell Jr., or the ‘conservative majority’ on the United States Supreme Court.

And that is our failure as parents, as ministers, priests, imams, and rabbis, as educators, as a society. We have allowed a national belief to develop, or we have tolerated a national myth, that says, we, ‘can do anything we want. Take anything we want. Disrespect anyone we want. …


SpeEdChange.at.Medium

NYPD Officer with nightstick in front of a burning police vehicle.
NYPD Officer with nightstick in front of a burning police vehicle.
Photograph by Jordan Gale for The New York Times. Please read the photo/text essay by Gale and writer Mara Gay.

Someplace between age 8 and age 10, Black boys will stop appearing ‘cute’ to white teachers in America’s schools, and will begin to be seen as a threat. Yes, they will. Yes, I know that many teachers view most adolescents as dangerous aliens — which explains all the middle school rules — but for young Black males this shift occurs at a younger age, and far more universally.

Good Morning America

Of course it is not just teachers, it is almost everyone. And the unfortunate fact is this, as much damage as this perceptual shift in teachers’ vision causes, what’s even more dangerous is that the same change occurs in the minds of white police officers — and since every police department is, by nature, about the enforcement of, if not always white supremacy, at least the supremacy of white culture, this is about all police — despite the best efforts of many officers. …

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