Friday Reading List: Teacher Pipeline, Educators in Public Office, and White Guilt

Jamie Martines, writing in The Atlantic, reports on a network of schools that is preparing its own graduates to become teachers:

For years, education reformers, particularly in the charter-school world, have focused on recruiting the best teachers. Many charters have started their own training programs to ensure top quality. But, increasingly, schools that serve high populations of minority students, such as PUC Schools, are taking note of the research showing that the race of teachers matters and have begun to prioritize diversity along with that top quality. They’re discovering that their own alumni are the perfect pool to draw from, since former students inherently reflect a school’s racial and ethnic makeup. An added bonus: They often have deep roots in the local community and may be more likely to stay in the job, which can help address the chronic problem of high teacher turnover at many urban schools.

Martines looks at districts and charter networks that have built teacher preparation programs in partnership with colleges of education. One way to improve the quality of education overall in this country is to encourage the most academically successful high school graduates to become teachers; this approach holds promise not only for diversifying the teaching profession, but also for improving its quality.

In other news, Nicholas Garcia of Chalkbeat reports on a former educator who is looking towards the governor's mansion in Colorado:

State Sen. Michael Johnston, a former principal who designed the state’s landmark teacher evaluation law and is a prominent figure in Colorado’s education reform movement, is considering joining what could be a crowded Democratic primary field for the 2018 governor’s race. Johnston’s name has appeared in early reports speculating about potential candidates, and he has confirmed to Chalkbeat and other media that he is weighing a run ... As a legislator, he focused on a variety of issues besides education, including criminal justice reform, and — to a lesser degree — energy and the state’s rural economy.

News like this is encouraging to me, not only because I happen to like Johnston on a personal level, but also because having educators at the highest level of elected office elevates the quality of the education policy discourse.

Reggie Cunningham, writing in The Huffington Post, encourages White people to move past the guilt inherent in pursuing racial justice work:

To the white people reading this, what are you doing to overcome the white guilt that you may see in the mirror? How are you assisting in dismantling the oppression that people of color experience everyday from people who look like you? This is a challenge to stand up to white supremacy because whites have built the racist system that lead to Hazel Bryan chanting things like “Two, four, six, eight. We don’t want to integrate!” at Elizabeth Eckford as she marched into Central High School [in Little Rock], and will have to be at the forefront of dismantling it. Confront white supremacy when you see it and call it such. It’s not enough to just sympathize and call yourself an ally. Once you’ve confronted white supremacy, do it again. And again. And again. A simple apology or feelings of guilt are not enough, they only make you feel comfortable. Freedom work is uncomfortable.

Cunningham goes on to share some ideas for action, including creating a personal set of goals for your activism. Sounds like a fun project for the weekend!