It is a Monday afternoon in October, brimming with everything that Mondays, afternoons, and October have to offer where education is concerned. The wax on the floors has faded, and we're solidly in the routine of a new school year, and if educators are beginning to feel a sense of fatigue, it's no doubt well-earned.
I offer that, I suppose, as context for this first post on the Minnesota Writing Project's Urban Sites Network's Social Justice Blog. If you'll allow the speculation, I'd bet that you found your way here because, despite (and maybe because of) everything, you believe that teaching can and should be a revolutionary act. Many of us feel that way, but because of the nature of our craft, we can sometimes feel a little bit isolated, wondering if we're fools to believe as much.
And so we need each other, because our students need us. One doesn't need to look far to see as much: racist (privatized) curriculum in Minneapolis Public Schools, the unchecked Islamophobia of a Columbia Heights Schoolboard member, racialized gaps in discipline and academic achievement, privilege as a predictor on standardized tests, standardized tests in the first place, etc.
These are issues that the Minnesota Writing Project's Urban Sites Network is committed to taking on. We believe in teachers. Where others see a top-down approach to education as the ideal model, we believe that teachers know best what is best for education, and desire to foster a bottom-up collective approach to solving the many challenges that face our students, communities, schools and colleagues.
Watch this space for calls to action, social justice curriculum (send it our way, especially if it's been field tested!), upcoming readings and events, and...other things. -Daniel Muro LaMere, MWP Urban Sites Leader