Equity and Diversity Newsletter
Elementary Edition March 2020
March Is National Women’s History Month
Presidential Message 1980
President Jimmy Carter’s Message to the nation designating March 2-8, 1980, as National Women’s History Week.
“From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often, the women were unsung, and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength, and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well. As Dr. Gerda Lerner has noted, “Women’s History is Women’s Right.” – It is an essential and indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long-range vision.”
I ask my fellow Americans to recognize this heritage with appropriate activities during National Women’s History Week, March 2-8, 1980. I urge libraries, schools, and community organizations to focus their observances on the leaders who struggled for equality – – Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Tubman, and Alice Paul.
Understanding the true history of our country will help us to comprehend the need for full equality under the law for all our people. This goal can be achieved by ratifying the 27th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states that “Equality of Rights under the Law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
As recently as the 1970s, women’s history was virtually an unknown topic in the K-12 curriculum or in general public consciousness. As educators, let's share the accomplishments of great women that have made the world a better place. We want to remember them not only in March but throughout the year.
Andrea Beaty’s Ada Twist advocates for girls in science. Ada’s head is full of questions as her curious nature leads her into many adventures. This book can be used to start conversations about scientists, girl scientists, gender roles, giftedness, and individual creativity. Or just for laughs on a laid back day at school.
AdaTwist can be found in Springfield Public Schools Libraries
What's In Your Toolbox?
27 by Crystal Chodes-Squibb
Take the Quiz - How Privileged Are You?
Have you ever stopped to consider how privileged you are? I recently took a quiz to assess individual privilege during a training session for equity champions. When I took the quiz, I knew that I’d conquered some hardships in life, but I’d also been afforded certain advantages that meant I would have a reasonably middle of the range score —or so I thought. Once I received my score, champions lined up in order from the highest score to the lowest. I assumed I would be somewhere in the middle of the group; however, as we checked scores and lined up, I found myself moving closer and closer to the end of the line. When I finally settled into my position, I was second to last in the line. My score was 27.
As I stood there listening to the discussion amongst champions, I felt exposed. I thought about the questions that placed me at the end of the line and wondered what the other champions might ascertain about my life. I left the training that day deep in thought and feeling the need to self-reflect.
27! Many people in line that day were well above my score and some educators who have taken that quiz about privilege may have scored well below. I thought about a student who had destroyed my classroom only days earlier, knocking over furniture and throwing anything he could get his hands on around the room. I thought of another student whose home life was creating a series of frustrating and heartbreaking moments at our site, including trying to run from the school and openly aggressive behavior toward myself, staff, and other students.
I thought about them and all of my students, both past and present. I thought about a former student I watched being taken away in handcuffs or students that I’ve visited at Burrell. Where would they fall on the number line? And, how was I to take the day’s learning and inward reflection, and somehow let the feeling of being exposed reflect on my practices in the classroom?
The truth is that there is no one answer or list of surefire strategies that educators can take without first reflecting on their own experiences. In a book titled Collective Efficacy: How Educators’ Beliefs Impact Student Learning by Jenni Donohoo, readers are provided a series of protocols to help focus and deepen conversations amongst staff that will lead to greater teacher efficacy or the belief of a staff that together they can impact student achievement.
Did You Know?
Remembering Katherine Johnson
Katherine Johnson (born Creola Katherine Coleman; August 26, 1918 – February 24, 2020), also known as Katherine Goble, was an American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and the subsequent U.S. crewed spaceflights.