If you had to write a short phrase or hashtag around the issues faced by students of color in Washington, what would it be?
Worldwide, thousands of educators and advocates have discussions about race and equity in education using the hashtag #educolor on Twitter. If you had to make a hashtag like this for Washington, what would it be?
About a month ago, Education Lab launched a discussion group on Facebook with 68 people who care deeply about racial equity in our state’s schools: parents of students of color, and K-12 educators.
As part of that, we posed a similar question to them a few weeks ago, asking: “If you were to create a hashtag around the issues students of color face in Washington schools, what would it be?” To broaden that discussion, now we want to hear from the rest of you — especially students.
Take a look at the hashtags below that were proposed by parents and teachers from the Facebook group, along with the explanations we asked them to provide (and shared with their permission). If you like what they proposed, share it with us in a tweet (@educationlab) with an explanation of why. Do the same if you’d like to propose your own — again, with your explanation. You can address the original question, or the broader one about what a Washington #educolor hashtag should be. We may retweet or share what you come up with in other ways.
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“[It] means seeing each individual student and as educators resisting the urge or tendency to generalize. By committing to see each student we are intentional about building culturally relevant connections and using student stories and experience to influence curriculum instruction and hopefully student performance.”
— Tanisha Felder, director of equity and family engagement for Shoreline Schools; parent of fifth-grade student at Seattle Public Schools
“I wonder how students of color are supposed to figure out who they are as humans when there is racial segregation, racial assumptions and unwritten rules that students of color have to follow in order to “fit in?” How can I, as a white teacher, break down these barriers for students of color so they can begin to figure out who they are without being blind myself? I want each of my students to be comfortable with who they are and I don’t want to be ‘that person’ who makes them afraid/ashamed to be who they are to their fullest. How can I be an advocate for students of color (really, ALL students) so they can answer #whoami?”
— Courtney Stepp, kindergarten teacher for the Renton School District
“ … So often, my students will say they feel invisible. Or they feel like preconceptions and stereotypes speak for them. As educators, we are so used to speaking to students when really, the most important thing we can do is listen and genuinely care about what they have to say. I also was thinking, as a person of color myself, that so often when I talk about the discrimination, racism, or prejudices I’ve faced, many White folks don’t quite believe it. I imagine this is the same for many students.”
— Emily Tran, middle-school language-arts teacher in Tukwila; race and equity adviser for Showalter Middle School