Ferguson is fresh on people’s minds, and that also goes for students returning to school. But Edwardsville, Illinois, schools Superintendent Ed Hightower responded to the crisis by directing teachers not to discuss the events that have unfolded in the last two weeks, and to “change the subject” should Ferguson comes up in class, KMOX reported.
Other educators are taking a different tack. Washington, D.C., schools issued a five-page teacher’s resource guide for how to discuss Ferguson in the classroom. It’s full of practical tips, and geared for students in the public district.
Teachers who discuss police brutality and Michael Brown’s death will need to “remember that you will almost certainly have students who have been victims of racial profiling in your classroom,” the guide cautions, urging that teachers proceed with care, sensitivity and openness. The Chronicle of Higher Ed, meanwhile, spoke with St. Louis-area college professors about their classroom plans.
Georgetown professor Marcia Chatelain used Twitter to put together a #FergusonSyllabus for teachers looking for resources for their classrooms. The list Chatelain compiled at TheAtlantic.com, which includes history, fiction, children’s books and academic works, is a great resource for more than just students and their teachers. Chatelain’s ask was that her fellow educators commit to discussing Ferguson in their first days of class, and share resources with students and each other to help sort through the last few weeks of trauma, confusion and race dialogue. “Some of us will talk about Ferguson forcefully, others gingerly, but from preschool classrooms to postdoctoral seminars, Ferguson is on the syllabus,” Chatelain wrote. Conversation sparked by #FergusonSyllabus inspired this resource guide for educators, too.
The long-read of the day is Adam Serwer’s historical look at decades of so-called “race riots” in “Eight Years of Fergusons” for Buzzfeed. Serwer writes:
The recipe for urban riots since 1935 is remarkably consistent and the ingredients are almost always the same: An impoverished and politically disempowered black population refused full American citizenship, a heavy-handed and overwhelmingly white police force, a generous amount of neglect, and frequently, the loss of black life at the hands of the police. Yet we’re always surprised at what they cook up.
We have had 80 years of Fergusons. We may have more. Violence — as harmful and self-destructive as it is — sometimes works.
Moreover, it was not just sit-ins and marches that finally moved President John F. Kennedy to conclude that federal civil rights legislation was necessary, but a riot — specifically, the 1963 conflagration in Birmingham.
It’s worth a read, and adding onto the #FergusonSyllabus. Please share what you’re reading, and thanks for joining this Tuesday edition of Following Ferguson.