Happy Black History Month y’all!
Let me tell you, yesterday I received an email from one of my principals asking me if it was appropriate to greet me with Happy Black History Month.
My heart smiled. Because this principal is on his consciousness journey and I adore that he asked.
I haven’t responded yet, but when I do, I will probably first greet him with Happy Black History Month to let him know that this is a celebration for everyone, not just Black folks. We are all celebrating the gifts and actions of the Diaspora this month.
And there lies the rub, right? Until everyone realizes that much like the man made holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine’s Day are for everyone, so are Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month, and Women’s History Month.
I’m working towards a future in education that shows our interdependence and reliance on each other. An educational future that talks about revolutions from multiple perspectives, with multiple heroes and villains and celebrates and mourns at the same damn time. A math curriculum that talks about Egyptians, Sumerians, Babylonians and not just Pythagoras. I mean, how do we get to the Pythagorean theorem without Egypt?
But this isn’t what this post is about…
On January 20th, we had our 4th meeting of our Woke Cypha Curriculum Development Series, sponsored by NYC Men Teach. (Whoooo what a mouth full!) And in this session we talked extensively about the art of persuasion as a 21st century skill.
We read Dr. Gloria Ladson Billings’ New Century treatise, Stakes is High and then asked ourselves, in what ways are we supporting and developing our New Century students and how can we prove it? How can we prove that what we have them doing in our classrooms is really setting them up for a world that we can’t predict?
If you Google Jobs that didn’t exist 10, 20, 30 years ago, I’m sure you will be surprised at how many of them there are. And we’d argue that one quality that is needed in the careers of the future is the art of persuasion.
I know what you may be saying, haven’t we always needed to use the art of persuasion?
But what I’m asking, what we’re asking is, are our learning experiences, classroom environments and school philosophies helping to develop students’ ability to communicate effectively and develop the art of persuasion?
I’m gonna go ahead and say no, because schools, at least schools in urban communities that serve Black and Brown children have shown that their job is to just reproduce society’s expectations of people of color, to kill all of our creativity and joy and magic.
But we here at CREAD, we are out to change that because as our resident eduemcee reminds us…we be the masters of the universe:
Biggie was our inspiration for this session because he was a masterful storyteller and we know that in order to persuade you must become a master of communication; through writing, speaking, imagery, movement. We’ve gone beyond the information age. The New Century student is all about the experiential age.
I mean check out these babies, what do our public schools have in store for them?
When do our kids get to have this experience in our classrooms? What skills do they need to master in order to produce something like this, to even imagine things like this?
If you wanna come thru to our next session on February 10th, holla at me!