Guest post by Steven Baule, Superintendent at Muncie Community Schools, Indiana: With the tragic events in Charlottesville last weekend, we need to step back and take a look at what we are doing in our schools and classrooms to model inclusiveness and acceptance of others. Michael Douglas of AlterNet.org lists seven ways teachers can respond to hate speech. One example is to ensure that students have access to voices and perspectives outside the historical canon of “dead white male” voices. By no means do I advocate for exclusion of the “classics” such as Shakespeare, Melville, or Dickens, but we do need to be more inclusive in the canon taught in today’s classrooms. Some great resources include lists of books with African-American protagonists, disabled protagonists, and Islamic protagonists to name a few. Weneeddiversebooks.org maintains a nice listing of where to find diverse books for classrooms and libraries. The International Reading Association has a series of annual lists of Notable Books for a Global Society.
Another method is to ensure a more inclusive and un-biased classroom. The Illinois Safe Schools Project provides a range of anti-bulling and other resources to create a more caring classroom. The Washington Post provides advice to teachers about addressing hatred in classroom.
One resource for self-discovery of potential personal bias is the Implicit Association Test that was developed more than a decade ago by Anthony Greenwald. A short online version was developed for Education Week about two years ago. I recommend taking it and seeing what it tells you about your unconscious beliefs.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has an article on the symbols of the Confederacy and the issues that arise from them. The Twitter hashtag #CharlottesvilleCurriculum is another good resource on this issue. As educators, we can work to ensure all voices are heard in our classrooms.