Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Is Anti-Bias Training the Solution in NYC Schools?

I read stories like these and shake my head. Teachers do things, and the answer is to train all the teachers. Once we all have anti-bias training there will be no more bias, evidently. I wonder if it's proven 100% effective by research, or if it's just some stuff someone made up. You never know. After all, our evaluation system, which they say is the bestest ever, has no research or practice to support it and yet here it is.

I don't believe in judging students by their national origin, sex, religion, color, language, or probably a whole long list of things I've failed to list. Nonetheless, I make mistakes just like anyone. I forget and mispronounce names, for example. Will anti-bias training cure my defects? Probably not. I don't even teach kids who are born here, and what makes me like or dislike people is what they do after I get to know them, not where or under what circumstances they were born.

The real question is, if you get a bigoted teacher, will training end it? Well, maybe. Or maybe not. Bigotry runs pretty deep, and is getting much more social acceptance since Donald Trump became President. You have a Nazi running for Congress in Illinois, for example. You have very public hate marches organized by groups who used to be a lot less prominent. You have a President of the United States who thinks Nazis and white supremacists are "very fine people."

But the problem, of course, must be the teachers. I mean, how are we gonna Make America Great Again when there are still teachers? And worse, teachers in unions. Of course President Trump's Supreme Court, the one they changed the rules to keep the balance of power stacked against working people, is gonna make sure those nasty unions have less power by instituting national right to shirk--I mean work laws.

And you'll pardon me if I point out that Fox News hypnotizes not only the President, but also all its viewers into a philosophy of America First, which generally means people of color last. Each day I read stories of ICE deporting working parents who've lived here most of their lives. Mexicans are criminals and racists, according to a man who used his bigotry to win the Presidency of the United States. We have to keep the Muslims out, he says, until we figure out what the hell is going on.

But hey, let's train the teachers. An hour during some Teacher Torture Tuesday and they'll all come around. Every one of them will stop watching Fox News and understand the Gospel as Told by Carmen Fariña. Or somebody.

Listen, I'm all for anti-bias training. But it's going to be an uphill climb with a vile bigot as President of the United States, a national campaign to disenfranchise voters, a pair of self-serving billionaires determined to buy the next election, a fundamental disrespect for democracy, and a country that considers Fox News to be not only Fox, but also news.

I'll sit through the anti-bias training if they force me to. But they're most certainly barking up the wrong tree. The overwhelming majority of us are devoted to the children we serve, and more importantly, there's a much larger problem that needs to be addressed if we truly want to reach the exceptions that prove the rule.
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