The Race Factor: Three Handbooks Address Race in the Classroom

Teaching for Black Lives
Released in April 2018 by the nonprofit education publisher Rethinking Schools, Teaching for Black Lives provides K-12 teachers with a brief history of the Black Lives Matter movement and offers strategies for transforming classrooms and schools “into sites of resistance against white supremacy.”

Essays in the book help readers develop critical perspectives on how biased curriculum materials historically dehumanized African American students. One section encourages history teachers to emphasize African American self-empowerment during the Civil War and the civil rights movement. Another on “Loving Blackness” supports the importance
of celebrating black identity.

The editors make clear that Teaching for Black Lives will not eradicate racial injustice in U.S. schools and communities, but the “ferocity of racism” demands that teachers actively resist it.

The book is co-edited by Dyan Watson, EdD, associate professor at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore.; Jesse Hagopian, history teacher at Garfield High School in Seattle, Wash.; and Wayne Au, PhD, professor at the University of Washington at Bothell.

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race
Award-winning psychologist Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD, has updated and reissued her classic 1997 bestselling book on the psychology of racism.

The new version includes an additional 100 pages analyzing the U.S. social and political context of the past two decades. Tatum also explores school and neighborhood segregation, the nation’s changing demographics, and the history of affirmative action policies and racial progress in the era of President Donald Trump.

Tatum’s answer to the title question remains unchanged. Students of color self-segregate in U.S. schools, she says, because doing so helps them cope with being part of a targeted racial group. These students find solace in developing an “oppositional identity,” she explains.

In calling for a more open dialogue about race, she encourages white teachers to form support groups to help them process feelings they have about their own unconscious biases and about learning to be culturally sensitive.

The issues Tatum explores in the revised edition of her book are essential reading for educators seeking to broaden their perspectives amid America’s rapidly shifting race dynamics.

Anti-Bias Education in the Early Childhood Classroom Hand in Hand, Step by Step
The latest book by author, educator, and social justice activist Katie Kissinger serves as a guide for teachers on fostering inclusive and equitable early childhood classrooms.

Kissinger outlines three different levels of commitment toward anti-bias education and encourages readers to identify the level at which they feel most comfortable participating.

“Beginners” are passionate about creating inclusive spaces for every child but may not be familiar with “anti-bias” or “anti-oppression.” “Allies” are familiar with such terminology and want to challenge themselves to do more to support social justice in the classroom. “Activists” put principles of social justice at the forefront of both their personal and professional lives, “constantly working to dismantle the dynamics of oppression” in personal relationships and as part of formal institutions.

Kissinger provides concrete anti-bias steps that beginners, allies, and activists alike can take to improve their classrooms. Drawing on more than 30 years of classroom experience, she shows adults how to consider their own personal biases, a requirement in committing to anti-bias education.