Sunday, April 30, 2017

Don’t Trash the Department of Education. Fix It. by Steven Singer

How do you get people to refuse a helping hand?
Answer: Prove to them that it’s not helping.
That’s the strategy of the Trump administration in regard to his cabinet of billionaires. The Reality TV star turned President has nominated a series of out-of-touch and unqualified one percenters to head various federal government agencies.
Rex Tillerson, Rick Perry, Ben Carson – Each of these silver spooned numbskulls was put in place to “prove” to the American public how inane and useless the federal government is – by making the federal government inane and useless.
DeVos has spent her entire adult life buying off mostly Republican lawmakers throughout the country to destroy public schools and replace them with charter, private and parochial schools.
She is a self-inflicted cancer on the system, a know-nothing religious zealot who spouts more factually challenged whoopers than Sean Spicer and Donald Trump combined.
But the endgame for putting a person who barely ever walked into a public school in charge of nationwide public school policy is clear – she’s there to demonstrate why the department should be disbanded.
With every idiotic statement, every Unconstitutional policy suggestion – she’s a corporate sponsored demo of why we need to trash this cabinet position altogether.
This has been the conservative dream since President Ronald Reagan. How dare his Democratic predecessor Jimmy Carter create a Department of Education, in the first place! Not only did Ronnie, the B-movie actor turned chief executive, have to defeat Carter, he needed to erase all of his predecessor’s policies. (Sound familiar? [Cough!] [Obamacare!] [Cough!])
And with Betsy DeVos’ help, Trump may finally get to realize Reagan’s dream.
Under Carter, the department was an extension of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, which tried to bring equity to America’s public schools. However, Bush transformed it into No Child Left Behind, a blatant federal power grab changing the focus to high stakes standardized testing and punishing schools that taught poor children.
Obama took this terrible legislation to its inevitable conclusion and transformed the Department of Education into a bribe factory, dangling federal help before impoverished schools only if these schools would spend it on test prep, edutech software and Common Core. Never mind that these “reforms” don’t actually help children. It was all about helping the corporations behind them.
Much of the modern zeitgeist behind the continued movement to disband the department comes from authentic bipartisan opposition to these changes. The modern Department of Education hasn’t been much of a helping hand for almost two decades. It’s been a cruel taskmaster and a money laundering service for the publishing and testing industry. And it’s overstepped its federal authority coercing states to do as Washington bureaucrats (or at least their wealthy donors) demand.
Add to that the new wrinkle of DeVos – a representative who is all of those things but also transparently self-serving and – frankly – stupid.
No wonder people want to disband the department!
It’s a rallying cry that’s not hard to get behind. Unless you think about it for two minutes.
Because it’s not the Department of Education that’s the problem. It’s what we’ve done to it.
The department has a vital and important role to play in making sure our system of public education serves everyone. Speaking in broad terms, the department should be dedicated to these three things: ensuring public schools are being properly funded, student and parent civil rights are not being violated and to be a repository for national data and research.
These are incredibly important. Right now we have one of the most inequitable school funding systems in the world. The majority of public education funding comes not from the federal government or the states, but from individual communities. If you live in a poor neighborhood, your kids get less education funding. If you live in a rich neighborhood, your kids get more. This is why the nearly 50% of all public school children living in poverty are struggling academically – we aren’t providing them with the resources to succeed.
The state and federal government could be doing something about that. At the federal level, the department of education oversees billions of dollars in grants to poor schools. Admittedly much of that money is tied to standardized testing and other corporate education reforms. We should cut those ties. We should provide help for proven, authentic education practices freely chosen by these districts. That’s something that could have a huge impact on student success. And it’s a project we should expand, not destroy under draconian budget cuts or the closure of the department.
Second, we have to admit that parents’ and students’ civil rights are often in jeopardy. This means special education students seeking an appropriate learning environment and modifications. This means students being discriminated against because of their religious beliefs or lack thereof. This means minority students facing disproportionate discipline policies, unfair grading and/or lack of opportunities offered to other racial or ethnic groups. This means women and transgender students suffering discriminatory dress codes or bathroom policies. In short, it means that someone needs to be the moderator and protector of student and parent rights.
And finally, there needs to be a repository of national student data. This has gotten a negative connotation lately because of Bush and Obama’s incredibly permissive policies allowing edutech companies to collect a horde of student data for economic purposes. Let me be clear: The department shouldn’t be doing that at all. Student privacy should be respected. Computer programs and apps should not collect sensitive information about individual students to be sold to advertisers or used to market products to them.
But there is an incredible amount of aggregate information about student groups collected by the federal government that could be used to help improve the lives of students. This includes information on the racial proficiency gap and the amount of resources provided by states and municipalities. Moreover, we need an impartial entity to fund educational research about which reforms actually help students learn. Relying on corporations to fund research that “proves” the efficacy of their own products is not good science.
In short, disbanding the Department of Education would be a disaster. What would happen to Pell Grants, for instance? What would happen to the bundles of federal money that boost our public schools? Who would make sure states are doing their jobs? Where could we go to find accurate data about how our schools are doing nationally and not just state-by-state?
If we got rid of the department, at best these jobs would fall back on other government agencies that haven’t the funding, staff or ability to accomplish them. More likely, it would result in the elimination of billions of education dollars that the states simply couldn’t (or wouldn’t) replace. Abuses against students on the grounds of civil rights, gender, special education, etc. would skyrocket with little to no recourse. And we would be in the dark about how well we were educating our nation’s children.
I sympathize with those who wish to make government more efficient, but the Department of Education is not a place to make cuts. If you really wanted to close an unnecessary federal department, start with the most recent one – the Department of Homeland Security. Nowhere else is there a more obvious duplication of services and waste of tax dollars to provide a service that was already being provided. But you never hear anyone suggest we close this department because (1) it was proposed by a Republican, and (2) as a nation, we have a broad, bipartisan priority on the safety of our citizens.
If only we had the same for public education!
But we don’t. In fact, many conservatives scoff at the very idea of public schools on the grounds that it’s “socialism” – as if social security, Medicare and a standing military were not!
Too many people have bought into the lie that there is something unAmerican about public school. On the contrary, our system is implicit in our very form of government and the flower of our founding fathers’ thoughts.
The rich and powerful don’t want a robust system of public education because it goes against their interests. An informed, thinking public is harder to control. They especially don’t want minorities or the poor to be well-educated because once people realize how much they’re being exploited, they won’t continue to submit to the status quo.
In short, the Department of Education needs to change. It needs to be revitalized from the ground up. And DeVos is not the person to do it.
However, we shouldn’t let her incompetence make us throw it all away. We need to find ways to agitate, resist and survive the Trump administration while preserving as much as we can of our Democracy – and our sanity – in the process. We need to find and support prospective lawmakers and public servants who will actually represent us, the people, instead of Trump’s billionaire buddies. We need a robust, grassroots movement to take back our government.
And then we can begin the hard work of making our government work for us again. Part of that will involve the Department of Education.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Teacher's Thoughts on Fidget Spinners by Dr. Michael Flanagan

You’re teaching a class. You hear this little “twip, twip, twip, twip”, but you are not sure where it’s coming from. You look around, and notice the kids are their hands, on their desks. They are riveted, utterly fixated on this whirling wonder. They’re even blowing on them to keep them twirling. Lesson over.

The Fidget Spinner is the latest fad spreading throughout America’s classrooms. It is a plastic pinwheel constructed with ball bearings that can spin between the thumb and forefinger, or on top of a desk. The difference between this craze and past ones such as Tamagotchis, Silly String, or Pokemon Go is that this one is billed as the panacea for distracted students. Fidget Spinners are touted-- mostly by the producers of the product-- as being able to alleviate anxiety, stress, and ADHD. They keep students focused, alright, but not on what you are trying to teach them.

Think back, over the years. What are some of the most distracting things that can happen in a classroom? Those phenomena that, when they occur, can destroy even the best of lessons. You know the scene: you’re cruising through a lesson. It’s going great. “Wow,” you’re thinking, “I’m a great teacher! I didn’t make a mistake going into this profession after all! I’m making a difference!” In my experience, there are two occurrences above all others that can completely derail a lesson regardless of subject, or grade level.

Bees and farts.

First: All teachers know that when a kid farts in class, the lesson is pretty much done. Kids start laughing; holding their noses; moving their seats; going into the hallway, or running to the windows. Half the time, so do we. Even the kid who actually farted is trying to get away. A teacher might be tempted to turn this disruption into a learning opportunity about manners or etiquette, but he or she would be a goner before even starting. I’ve just learned to keep some air freshener in my desk drawer for such an occasion. Worth its weight in gold. It appeases the kids, and can finish the lesson. Is there a domain on the Danielson Rubric to rate this management technique? I rate it as “Highly Effective”.

Second: There’s a bee in the classroom!! Once again, chaos. The students scatter in all directions, diving on the floor as if a terrorist attack was underway. The room erupts into a high-pitched squeal of young girls. You know the sound-- not even the most talented mezzo soprano singer can hit that pitch. Kids panic. At least one starts crying. And of course, there’s always the one kid that decides he’s the second coming of Mariano Rivera and hurls the biggest textbook in the room at this little, helpless bee.

Now as the teacher, you of course attempt to maintain control of the room, but this is usually futile. It doesn’t help when security, or even the principal, come running to see what all the commotion is about, but when you tell them, “It’s a bee”,  flee from the room themselves.

“Okay students, I’ll wait till you are finished,” we sometimes try. Yeah, as if. I usually try to point out, “Hey. Y’all are so tough. You’re afraid of a little bee?” Sometimes that actually works. Sometimes.

Yes, I know there are kids who are legitimately allergic to bee stings. But really, how many? I’ve met only a handful in my many years in the profession. And I am not a big believer in killing bees so I always try to open up the windows and shoo them back out. But it’s too late. The class is officially over. Because even when the bee is gone, there’s the inevitable debriefing about who did what when they saw it flying in, how far this one or that one dove out of the way, who threw the book the closest, and just what a horrible drama it all was.

We can’t control bees, or farts, or the fact that most students carry the biggest distraction of all in their pockets: the cell phone. But do we need to add Fidget Spinners into the equation? Yes, school kids sit in classrooms six or seven hours a day, and many schools are cutting recess in favor of test prep. Students have restless energy that needs to be channeled, especially after lunch. And yes, Fidget Spinners have the potential to do this. But, of course, it’s distracting to the student, and frustrating to the teacher who is trying to teach. Many schools are trying to remedy this by banning them. Remember, we have standardized exams and pop-in observations to worry about! Where do Fidget Spinners work into the Danielson Rubric??

Here’s an idea: let’s see if we can improve attention and address hyperactivity the old fashioned way. Bring back recess.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Trump Can’t Limit Federal Role in Public Schools AND Push School Vouchers by Steven Singer

Donald Trump is talking out of both sides of his mouth.
Well which is it, Oh Orange One?
Are you for limiting the federal role in education or for coercing states to do your bidding?
Because you can’t be for both.
Either states and local districts determine the bulk of their school policies or not. You can’t barge into our state capitals promising billions of dollars in federal tax money if and only if we enact your chosen reforms.
That’s one of the primary reasons many conservatives (and even a sizable number of progressives) oppose Common Core. The Obama administration promised billions of dollars in Race to the Top grants if and only if states adopted these new, untried academic standards.
How is Trump’s voucher scheme any different?
In both cases, the proposed education reform has not been proven to work, and it’s not being requested by the education community or voters. In fact, when it comes to vouchers, voters have repeatedly turned them down in referendum after referendum.
So if Trump wants to investigate federal overreach, he should start with his own campaign speeches on vouchers.
So why is the former Realty TV star doing this?
Well, his first hundred days are almost up, and he has next to nothing to show for it. Other than uniting the American people against him, President Con Man hasn’t achieved much. One can imagine why he might want to hurry up and toss off yet another executive order so he could put something – anything – in the achievement column.
But there’s a more insidious reason why the founder of Trump University took out his signing pen.
His administration – especially his Department of Education – is particularly inimical to civil rights.
Just look at the brain trust he has running it.
Secretary Betsy DeVos isn’t sure the department should be in the business of protecting special education students. Nor is she willing to take a stand to protect transgender kids.
Latest hire Deputy Assistant Secretary Candice Jackson has repeatedly expressed skepticism about the very existence of civil rights. The 39-year-old attorney is anti-women’s rights, anti-distributive justice and possibly even anti-compulsory education and anti-Civil Rights Act of 1964!
In college, she thought she, herself, was being persecuted because a tutoring group set up for minorities wouldn’t serve her as a white person – despite the fact that she could probably afford to pay for her own damn tutoring.
So this latest “study” into federal overreach is probably an attempt by the Trump administration to justify doing nothing to protect the civil rights of students across the country.
Under President Bad Hair Day, special education students can be denied services with impunity. It’s not the federal government’s job to step in. THAT would be overreach.
And if black and brown students don’t receive the same resources and opportunities as their white counterparts, there’s just nothing the Trump administration can do. They don’t want to step over the line.
It’s not that The Donald doesn’t sympathize with transgender students denied access to bathrooms that correspond with their gender. Ivanka even gave him a stern talking to. It’s just that his tiny little hands are tied. Thems the limits of federal authority, Son.
If you ask me, that’s truly the impetus behind this executive order.
He’s just setting up his next excuse for giving us, the American people, zero return on our tax dollars.
That way he can just shrug and offer more tax cuts to the rich.
Sadly, there is truth to the claim that the Department of Education has overstepped its authority. Both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama frequently usurped states and communities local control. No one was crying out for high stakes testing, more test prep material, and unregulated charter expansion. But that’s what we got!
If you’re looking to Trump to balance the scales, look somewhere else!
He has given no indication that he will be any different. He’ll still push his own agenda on us, but he’ll pretend like we asked for it.
Now that’s the Donald Trump we know best!

Monday, April 24, 2017

My Students Are NOT a Number. They Are Human, and They Are Beautiful!! by Anonymous Teacher

Today, I had the God-Awful job of informing my 8th graders of their STAAR results. Not all of them failed. Not all of them passed. Some passed one but not the other (Math and Reading.) But ALL of them tied their self-worth to this one, four-hour, ridiculous test!

Those that passed screamed in delight, and couldn't believe they were so "Lucky." Those that failed, cried; some crumbled to the floor, and couldn't go back to class because they felt so ashamed; all their hard work and tenacity was for naught. My heart broke.

You see, I am a special education teacher. Five of my 16 students are on a modified curriculum, which means they are not required, nor expected to, learn the entire curriculum for their grade level. Yet they are REQUIRED to take a state mandated test that covers ALL of the curriculum, even though their IEP SPECIFICALLY outlines what they are and are NOT supposed to be taught. The other 11 struggle with learning disabilities, autism, emotional disturbance, and ADHD. Have you ever sat with a child (or an adult, for that matter), with ADHD, for FOUR HOURS, in silence, sitting still, unable to move about, with the expectation they 'concentrate'? It is extremely hard for me, and I do not have a disability.

I tried to tell them, "This test does NOT define you! You are MORE than a once a year, four hour test." But that isn't true, is it? This one test determines their future, their graduation date (or if they even graduate at all), and the next several years of their life! Not to mention the next several weeks of intensive instruction, after school tutorials, and Saturday schools.

It DOES define them, but it shouldn't. My students are NOT defined by a four-hour, once a year test. They are kind, talented, athletic, and gifted in ways you cannot imagine.

My Students Are NOT a number. They are human, and they are beautiful!!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

NY Teachers VAM-Boozled Again by Dr. Michael Flanagan

Starting next week, NYC teachers will begin to give our MOSL (Measure Of Student Learning) Assessments. Thanks to Governor Cuomo, the NYS Legislature, and the Board of Regents -- they now comprise 40% of our total evaluations under NY State’s APPR teacher evaluation system.

Since 2013, NYC teachers have been evaluated by a changing set of criteria every year. This year, the evaluation was changed again in January 2017, and went into effect March 7th. Each school’s MOSL committee had to finalize their selected methods and goals by April 7th, 2017 -- the same day NYC schools went on Spring break. MOSL tests begin as early as Monday, April 28th in some schools, yet no one really seems to know what form they will take, what skills they will test, or what content knowledge will be included. At this time, with two months left in the school year, most teachers do not have any idea about, or control of, over 40% of the content of their annual assessment.

Under the Danielson-based Advance system, a teacher observed with such a shoddily planned-out assessment for their students would rightly be given an Ineffective rating.

Now obviously what I have just described has no legal, or scientific legitimacy, and would be laughed out of any peer reviewed journal. These VAM based MOSL’s have as much credibility as alchemy, or phrenology. So of course, that method will be used to determine teacher proficiency and student achievement.

Besides the pressure these tests put on students, teachers’ careers are now being evaluated on short notice assessments, that no teacher has even seen, much less been able to prepare their students for. Teachers are educated professionals. I myself have a doctorate in education. We can all clearly see that this method of evaluation is a farce. The problem is, that school superintendents, administrators and the UFT leadership are going along with whatever nonsense emits from the DOE. They force-feed it to the teachers and students, and expect them to swallow it without complaint.

Perhaps the most egregious flaw in this year’s MOSL’s is that since they are based on student growth, and we only agreed on the assessments two weeks ago, there was no time to administer baselines to the students. Baselines are usually given at the beginning of the year to ascertain what level a student is performing at. The baseline assessment should be similar to the endline assessment. How do you measure growth if you do not have any idea where you started from?

Since the NYC DOE did not have the MOSL assessments ready in September, the city in its infinite wisdom, will be assigning students what amounts to composite “proxy” scores as their baselines. In other words, they are making up where each student should be, then giving a haphazardly compiled assessment tool, and comparing the actual student’s score to whatever algorithm they have created out of thin air. One fellow teacher asked: ”if they are making up a proxy baseline score, why not just make up a proxy endline score”?

The main reason for these last minute exams is that over the last three years New York has had almost a quarter of a million students opt out of the Common Core ELA and Math assessments for the third to eighth grades. With so many opt outs, Governor Cuomo had determined that this year, the tests could not be used for evaluative purposes for students or their teachers. The funny thing is, students can opt out of the MOSL’s as well.

Common branch teachers such as art, music or physical education etc. are linked to the performance of students in classes that they do not even teach. Teachers whose classes end in either a NYS Regents exam, the NYSESLAT, or an NYSAA will not have to give their students MOSL exams, as long as those classes make up 50% or more of their programs.

This Value Added Model of teacher effectiveness has continually been proven to be false, most recently in the case of teacher Sheri Lederman. VAM is junk science, and the MOSL’s that the NYC DOE has come up with are exactly that, junk.

The Department of Education may throw these incompetent assessments at us, and it is indeed insubordination not to comply with the directives, but we do not have to pretend there is any merit to it. And as soon as our final ratings are compiled, we all need to flood the legal system with lawsuits against this clearly erroneous method of evaluation. Our students, and teachers, deserve better than to be VAM-boozled like this.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Let’s Hear It For Black Girls! by Steven Singer

 Originally posted at:

“Sisters are more than the sum of their relative disadvantages: they are active agents who craft meaning out of their circumstances and do so in complicated and diverse ways.”
-Melissa Harris-Perry, Sister Citizen (2011)
Let’s hear it for black girls!

They are beautiful, bold, irrepressible and – above all – so incredibly strong.

Black girls will outlast any struggle, face down any adversary, and – more often than not – triumph in the face of adversity.

I know. I’m a public school teacher, and many of my best students are black and female.

That doesn’t necessarily mean they get the best grades. Some earn A’s and some don’t. But when it comes to pure willpower and the courage to stand up for themselves, no one beats a black girl.

Those are rare qualities nowadays. Sometimes it doesn’t make these girls easy to have in class. But think about how important they are.

As a teacher, it sure makes your life easier when students do whatever they’re told. But in life, we don’t want citizens who simply follow orders. We want people who think for themselves, people who question directives and do only what they think is right.

In short, we need people who act more like black girls.

As a white male, it’s taken me some time to come to an appreciation of black womanhood. But after about 15 years teaching in public schools serving mostly poor, minority students, appreciate them I do.

Think of the challenges they face and often overcome. Not only are they subject to the same racism as black males, they also have to function under the burden of male patriarchy and the quiet sexism that pervades American society.

According to a study entitled Unlocking Opportunity for African American Girls by the NAACP and the National Women’s Law Center, African-American girls suffer from higher rates of sexual violence and intimate partner violence than white women, high rates of sexual harassment in school, and they are more vulnerable to sex trafficking than any other group.

In addition, more than one-third of black female students did not graduate on time in 2010, compared to 19 percent of white female students. However, there has been progress. Despite a lingering graduation gap, black girls have actually increased their graduation rate by 63% in the past 50 years, according to the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. Unfortunately, this hasn’t meant they’ve built up more wealth. In 2010, single black women’s median wealth was just $100 compared to single white women’s wealth, which was $41, 500.

And it only gets worse the closer we look at it. Black women are the only group whose unemployment rate remained stagnant at 10.6%, while the overall rate for workers in the United States dropped from 7.2% to 6.1% between August 2013 and August 2014, according to a National Women’s Law Center report on jobs data. More than a quarter of black women live in poverty, according to the Center for American Progress, despite making up a larger portion of the workforce than white and Latina women.

Despite such problems, black women start businesses at six times the national average, according to the Center for American Progress. And this is even more startling when you realize they are also more likely to be denied small business loans and federal contracts.

It’s one of the reasons black girls are so special. Those who somehow survive the incredible pressures society puts them under often become super achievers. They can do almost anything.

Perhaps it’s an internalization of the advice black women often get from their mothers. They’re frequently told they have to work harder and do more just to be noticed, and they often do. In my classes, I’ve had more black girls achieve grades over the 100% mark than any other group. And that’s not easy to do. But it’s typical black girl power – they try to be more than perfect.

However, it takes a toll.

They are more likely to die of breast cancer than any other racial group, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The reasons are complex, but include the fact that black women experience delays in diagnosis and treatment. Like many oppressed people, they often internalize that oppression – they don’t take care of themselves and the stress can be a killer.

And for those who can’t overcome the unfair pressures we place them under, the results are even worse. In school, I’ve seen precious and valuable girls thrown into a sometimes cruel and uncaring disciplinary system – a system from which it can be hard to extract yourself.

Some teachers and schools when faced with the independence and forthrightness of black girls don’t know how to handle them. In such cases, these girls are often disciplined out of all proportion to their population size in school districts. For example, in New York City, black girls made up only 28% of the student body during the 2011-2012 school year, but were 90% of all girls expelled that year from the city’s schools, according to the “Black Girls Matter” report by the African American Policy Forum. Similarly, black girls made up only 35% of the Boston public school population that same year, but accounted for 63% of all girls expelled.

In short, we’ve got a lot of work to do to dismantle a national system of racism and white privilege. But even beyond that, as a society we need to recognize and appreciate black girls. A little bit would go a long way.

We need to acknowledge the unique talents and skills of these amazing young women. And so much of it starts with a matter of conceptualization in the white adult mind.

Instead of seeing them as defiant, we need to recognize their independence. Instead of seeing them as challenging your authority, you need to see them as asserting themselves and standing up for their beliefs.

Those are all such positive qualities. How many times do adults complain that kids today don’t care enough about things – their apathy, their entitlement, their indifference. As a group, black girls are nothing like that! They are exactly the opposite! But instead of praising them for it, instead of valuing them, white adults often feel threatened and respond by trying to crush what they perceive as a rebellious and disruptive element in their classrooms or in society.

That’s why I love the Black Girl Magic movement.

It was created by CaShawn Thompson to celebrate the beauty, power and resilience of black women. It started as a simple social media hashtag – #BlackGirlMagic.

It embodies a theme I’ve already touched on – the irrepressible spirit of black women, how they are faced with an overwhelming mountain of challenges but somehow manage to overcome them and become tremendous overachievers! It’s a celebration of everything good and positive about the black female experience.

I think it’s just wonderful.

How can you not look at someone like Misty Copeland and not appreciate her success? She’s the first ever black principal at the American Ballet Theatre. She has shot to the top of one of the whitest, wealthiest and most elitist arts you can pursue.

Or how about Gabby Douglas? You can’t watch videos of the amazing Olympic gymnast, who at only 17, absolutely wowed the world with gold medals despite internet trolls hating on her hair.

And if we’re talking undue hate and criticism, no woman in recent memory has suffered as much as Michelle Obama. Whatever you think of her husband’s Presidency, you have to admit Michelle was a model of grace under pressure. How many times did haters pick apart her appearance while she just got on with the business of making school lunches healthier and being a tremendous role model for children of color and women of all races and creeds.

Or Ava DuVernay, the amazing director snubbed at the Oscars for her film “Selma.” What did she do? She made another amazing film “13th” about how the 13thAmendment ended slavery but opened the door to the prison industrial complex.

That’s Black Girl Magic. And it’s actually pretty common.

So come on, fellow white people. Let’s celebrate black girls.

Stop trying to touch their hair or compare them with Eurocentric standards of beauty. Stop, pause and actually see them. See them for who and what they are.

Black girls are amazing and make the world a better place.

Here’s to all the incredible and irreplaceable black girls in my classes and in my life!

You go, girls!