I’m excited to announce that 34justice is partnering with Run It Black, a podcast on “sports, politics, culture, and the intersection of race” from David Tigabu and Mike Mitchell. Mike taught me much of what I know about podcasting, and David is no newcomer to 34justice, having previously authored a great piece for us on how the co-option of Christianity helps explain the election of Donald Trump. Besides being good friends of mine and knowing far more about pop culture than I ever will, David and Mike have awesome insights about the connections between racism and various other forms of oppression. Often containing fascinating historical context, their episodes are both entertaining and informative.
You can listen to Run It Black episodes directly through 34justice’s new Run It Black widget, which can be found on the top right-hand-side of our webpage on a desktop computer and towards the bottom of the page on a mobile device. You can also tune in on iTunes. Here’s a quick overview of the first five episodes (from earliest to most recent):
What to do about the NFL?
Find out why David and Mike are boycotting the NFL this year and what they think of the Floyd Mayweather versus Conor McGregor showdown.
The Politics of Hurricanes
People of color suffer most when natural disasters strike, are often de-prioritized during our inadequate responses to such disasters, and will continue to face disproportionate harm if we fail to address climate change. David and Mike explain.
Jemele Hill Was Right
Hill’s Black colleagues backed her up when she called Donald Trump a White supremacist, but ESPN didn’t. David and Mike discuss the Right-wing backlash to race-conscious sports media before delving into some statistics on and possible remedies for the racial wealth gap.
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Disaster
As David and Mike note, our government has treated Puerto Rico significantly worse than it treats US states during times of natural disaster, a problem consistent with a long history of unjust policy towards Americans on the island. They also comment on the evolution of NFL players’ protests against racial injustice.
The Enduring Significance of HBCUs
While neither David nor Mike attended an HBCU, they’ve thought a lot about the important role such institutions play in improving opportunities for Black Americans. They note HBCUs’ many strengths, why some criticisms of HBCUs are misplaced, and the curious case of HBCU presidents accepting Donald Trump’s invitation to the White House.
Especially if you aren’t getting enough Run It Black between episodes, I highly recommend following the podcast, as well as David and Mike, on Twitter. Happy listening!
Filed under Environment, Gender Issues, Labor, Poverty and the Justice System, Race and Religion, Sports, US Political System
Tagged as Black culture, climate change, HBCU, NFL, protest, Puerto Rico, race, Run It Black
At many schools I’ve worked at or observed, math departments are structured counterproductively. The best teachers often teach the most advanced classes, while the newest teachers, or those most in need of support, teach the classes that struggling students are more likely to attend. As a result, the students most in need of excellent teaching can be least likely to get it.
Math departments may be structured this way for a variety of reasons. There is surely a correlation of some sort between teaching skill and mastery of mathematics, so the best teachers may just more often than novice teachers be well-equipped to teach advanced courses. It may also be the case that teachers prefer teaching advanced classes; as the students in advanced classes typically already want to be there, teachers of those classes can focus more on content instruction and less on classroom management. School leaders may want to keep their best teachers happy, and giving those teachers the advanced classes may be one way to do that.
I can understand why teachers might, if given the choice, decide to teach AP Calculus AB instead of an intervention class geared towards students who failed Algebra I. Especially given the workloads American society foists upon teachers, who never have enough hours in the day to do a fraction of what they’d ideally do for their students, teacher burnout is a real concern. While I know some great teachers who love teaching hard-to-reach students and have made doing so their life’s work, and while teaching advanced students also carries its challenges, working with the highest-need students is often emotionally exhausting and probably accelerates the burning-out process.
Several approaches could potentially help reduce the tension between pursuing the most equitable arrangement – in which the best teachers teach the students who need help most – and protecting teachers against burnout. One option would be to reduce the number of classes teachers of introductory or remedial courses would be required to teach. If nothing else, an extra free period would give these teachers more time to plan remediation and give students constructive feedback. Another option would be to ensure that an instructional aide is available to assist teachers in every lower-level course they teach. A third approach would be to require every teacher teaching an AP or honors course to teach a lower-level course as well. (None of these ideas is mutually exclusive, of course.)
Reducing teacher burnout and making our schools more equitable are big challenges that ultimately require substantially increased investments in public education, particularly in low-income areas, as well as an overhaul of what teacher workdays and support structures look like. We must push for those investments and overhauls, not to mention the larger, outside-of-school changes that are most important for ensuring equal opportunity for every student in this country. In the meantime, we should explore creative ways to simultaneously keep our best teachers invigorated and make sure they’re in front of our students in need.