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Books by Native Writers Key to Building Accurate Knowledge About American Indians

Authentic literature helps build accurate knowledge of Native peoples.



On Thanksgiving, families across the country will be gathering 'round their tables to celebrate. In elementary school some of you may have dressed up as Pilgrims and Indians to reenact the "First Thanksgiving." The thing is, those reenactments—and a lot of what Americans "know" about American Indians—are inaccurate. A lot of American Indian people have a critical view of those reenactments and the Thanksgiving holiday itself.

Did you know that some Native people in the U.S. consider Thanksgiving a Day of Mourning? Or that some call it "Thankstaking" instead of Thanksgiving? And did you know that for the last several years, the President of the United States has been proclaiming November as National Native American Heritage Month? And that November 23, 2012—the day after Thanksgiving—has been designated as Native American Heritage Day?

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If Educators Want Real Change, We Have to Work Together

Educators have to stand in solidarity so they can once again feel safe enough to dream—and do—big things


Now that the longest, most expensive—and possibly craziest—election season in history has ended, many of us in the education community have paused to reflect on how we can push President Obama to use his influence to steer education policy in a better direction. One of my favorite reflections comes from educator and author Sam Chaltain. A key challenge he issues to those of us who care about public education is to figure out how we can navigate certain tensions—between vision and mission; between the art and science of teaching, etc—to create schools that work for all learners, and can sustain a just, equitable, and democratic society.

In order to actualize this in any systemic way, we need to address an often-overlooked barrier to forward movement and positive change: safety, or rather, the lack thereof. This is the elephant in the room, rarely articulated but viscerally apparent to anyone who understands the lived reality of schools in this social and political climate.

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At 76, Jonathan Kozol Is More Outraged Over Inequality in Education Than Ever

Education activist Jonathan Kozol is letting loose on child poverty, racism, and educational inequity these days.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to get so angry," author and education activist Jonathan Kozol told a crowd of mostly educators in Los Angeles on Monday night. The teachers, many toting dog-eared copies of Savage Inequalities, Kozol's groundbreaking 1991 text which exposed in heartbreaking detail the education disparities between wealthier, whiter students and poor, minority kids, didn't need the apology. Instead they applauded Kozol, who is on a nationwide lecture tour promoting his 13th tome, Fire in the Ashes, for sustaining his moral outrage over child poverty, racism, and educational inequity for the past 40 years.

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Stephen Colbert Skewers Texas GOP's Attack on Critical Thinking

The minds of our young people are being poisoned by knowledge!

Stephen Colbert is back from vacation and he's taking on "the large Hadron Collider of denying science": Texas. Earlier this month the state's Republican party caused a dust-up when they stated in the education section of their 2012 platform that they "oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills," as well as "critical thinking skills" because they "focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student's fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority."

In his "The Word" segment (starting at about 1:10) Colbert points out that "the minds of our young people are being poisoned by knowledge and the source of this toxic cerebral sludge is our schools." Texas, says Colbert, is the bright spot in the universe, nobly attempting to save our children from gym class and evolution. He then goes on to hilariously blame Galileo's challenging the idea that the sun revolves around the earth for making critical thinking popular.

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What if Schools Weren't Schools Anymore?

Schools could become community centers, and diplomas could give way to official citizenship.

Everybody has big ideas about how to fix education in the United States, but it seems like the reform conversation eventually comes back to one thing: How can we make schools better so we can churn out a more highly educated workforce that will ensure our global economic dominance continues? No one wants the American economy to fail, but what if the point of school isn’t cranking out degreed workers that will help us beat China? What if the key to transforming education relies on upending our individualistic, market-driven ideas about the purpose of school?

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What 'Black Cool' Looks Like in the Classroom

There aren't enough black teachers in America's schools, but the ones that do have bring a special aesthetic to the classroom.


In 1926, Carter G. Woodson created Negro History Week to ensure the contributions of black people would be taught and remembered. Woodson believed that eventually the week—which in 1976 become Black History Month—would eventually become unnecessary because everyone would learn black history.

Seven years later, in his book The Mis-Education of the Negro, Woodson argued that America’s school system indoctrinated black people instead of educating them. Generations later, his rugged independence and intellectual dexterity remain an undeniable example of cool. That same spirit flows through Rebecca Walker's Black Cool: A Thousands Streams of Blackness, a just-published collection of essays about the many dimensions of "black cool."

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