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Why Do Our Schools Look Like Prisons? What Is This Doing To Our Students?

I was walking into work today and a colleague of mine began exchanging small talk. She knows that my husband John is incarcerated and was kind enough to ask me how he was doing. I told her that, all things considered, he’s doing really well and that I was excited to see and spend time… Continue reading Why Do Our Schools Look Like Prisons? What Is This Doing To Our Students?

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My Students Told Me That My Classroom “Lacked Soul.” Here’s What I Did

How a teacher who arrived a week before school began started making genuine connections with her kids. The office supply store Staples was my virtual shopping buddy during my first year of teaching. I had arrived in New York City in 2004,  a week before the school year began, to teach 8th grade English Language… Continue reading My Students Told Me That My Classroom “Lacked Soul.” Here’s What I Did

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Educational Bias and Bigotry Are Flourishing Under the Leadership of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

Writing is helping me make deeper connections among various topics. Follow me right now, if you will.   I’m beginning to see how the school-to-prison pipeline continues to flourish because of a lack of culturally relevant pedagogy. Culturally-relevant pedagogy is lacking because of a void of Black teachers, especially Black, male teachers. One reason there… Continue reading Educational Bias and Bigotry Are Flourishing Under the Leadership of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

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Parents: Hold Up Your End of the Bargain!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat at parent-teacher conferences over the years and heard parents of children who are not working up to their potential in my class say, “I don’t understand…I ask him if he has homework and he tells me no or that he did it already.” Really, mom? Really,… Continue reading Parents: Hold Up Your End of the Bargain!

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Is it MY fault that I Hold My Students to High Standards?

Today I was asked why so many of my students, previously “rock stars” in English class with grades of 90% and above, now have much lower averages.  Correction:  the question wasn’t even posed to me. It was asked of one of my colleagues after some of my students and their parents complained about the lower… Continue reading Is it MY fault that I Hold My Students to High Standards?

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The Second Best Charter School in NYC and the Perils of “Accountability”

I worked with one of the top scoring charter schools in New York City.  It was also one of the worst schools in the City.  This school is a cautionary tale for the unceasing push towards simplistic accountability formulas and how schools can manipulate the numbers while not really delivering the goods. The school had… Continue reading The Second Best Charter School in NYC and the Perils of “Accountability”

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This Is What Mrs. D Taught Me About Building Relationships With Students

Thinking back on my first few years as a teacher, I don’t think I was as good as I thought as I was.  Sure, I was prepared and didn’t have issues with my administrators but, given what I know now, I made a mistake by not prioritizing relationships with kids. Everyday I would come to… Continue reading This Is What Mrs. D Taught Me About Building Relationships With Students

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New York Schools and Prisons Are In Dire Need of Support Staff

In one of my recent blog posts from our “Letters from John” series, my husband, who is incarcerated, mentioned that he recognizes more and more that inmates have an increased need to be heard. It’s like they are fighting against the invisibility of self that is taking place between them and their community. Many require… Continue reading New York Schools and Prisons Are In Dire Need of Support Staff

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Letters from John: A Prison Education After a High School of Hard Knocks

This is Part 7 of my series “Letters from John.” In Part I, I wrote, “I’m in a beautifully loving marriage to John Dukes, a man who is truly one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. My husband is also incarcerated. During our friendship, courtship, and marriage, John and I… Continue reading Letters from John: A Prison Education After a High School of Hard Knocks

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Letters from John: My Senior Year

This is Part 5 of my series “Letters from John.” In Part I, I wrote, “I’m in a beautifully loving marriage to John Dukes, a man who is truly one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. My husband is also incarcerated. During our friendship, courtship, and marriage, John and I… Continue reading Letters from John: My Senior Year