How do I step out of myself? That is a question that I have been wrestling with. I am in a book club on Voxer. The book we are discussing is The Missing Voices in EdTech. The subject of minorities and being shut out of edtech, having their ideas stolen, and the lack of diversity at conferences has been coming up over and over. The only problem I have is that I don’t see any of that where I come from. The superintendent in my school is a woman, the staff is 90% women, and the main IT guy is black. This means that those who make the decisions for technology (superintendent and IT) are minorities and the staff is made up of minorities. The school is forward thinking, we have 1-1 for grades 3-5. Technology is being embraced by minorities faster than kids agreeing that adding chocolate chips to pancakes makes them infinitely better. My school does lack racial diversity in staff and students though. My problem is how do I put that all aside and truly understand the plight of minorities in the United States?
I am much more aware of race now than I have ever been before. I walk into places and recognize that there are very few minorities outside of women at conferences and school events. Part of that is the school I work at is 95% white. The other problem, which seems to be widely accepted, is that minorities are not represented well throughout the ranks of educators and administrators. This is a problem that needs to be addressed.
@adamphowell wrote a great piece this week asking “Do we have the equity of voice our profession needs as part of the discussion?” He posted these results from a survey his team put out:
Those results are alarming. It is alarming from a socially connected POV, from an educator POV, and from the physical education teacher community POV.
Not only does it make minorities uncomfortable the teaching profession is losing out on a whole majority of voices. When we have people all cut from the same cloth making decisions group think is bound to occur. We need all walks of life to push education forward.
I am Jewish. That is not considered a minority. I have taken heat for this my whole life but I am able to go places where people look at me as being white. It has got to be brutal to constantly think you are the only representative of your race or gender in whatever meetings or conferences you go to.
When I hear about inequity and injustice I want to do something. I want to change things. When I presented at my last two conferences the subject was on social media and technology. Before my session I was actively trying to find minorities and inviting them to my session. I did not approach them and say hello you are a minority would you come to my session but I was conscious of the audience that I wanted to reach. I want to be a change agent. Whether or not this was the right way to go about it I do not know. What I want to know is how can I right these wrongs that are occurring.
This brings me all the way back to the beginning. How do I step out of what I see and know? The answer I came up with is I will just start to listen. I will close my mouth and listen. I will hear what is being said and marinate on it. I will mull it over. This week I encourage all people but especially minorities make your voice heard. Enlighten me as to what I am missing. I will not be commenting on any of my thoughts this week. Any questions will be asked to clarify a response. This week please tell the world your story.
Q1. Is your school district represented with the same staff and student racial makeup? #slowchatpe
Q2. What should school districts do to ensure that their staff is more culturally diverse if they aren’t already? #slowchatpe
Q3. Do schools do enough to encourage all ss? Why or why not? #slowchatpe
Q4. Do we teach cultural differences in our class? How? #slowchatpe
Q5. What can educators do to become culturally literate? #slowchatpe