Giving Compass' Take:

• New York City is dedicating millions of dollars over the next four years to anti-bias training for teachers that will focus on adopting the historical perspective which encompasses the racism of the city, and not just behavior changes on the individual level. 

• How can other schools adopt the same kind of anti-bias training? Is there one model that has been very successful, or do they mostly differ based on circumstances of the school?

• Read about the tough micro-moment decisions that teachers have to make on a daily basis that affects their students. 

New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza and Mayor Bill de Blasio just committed $23 million over the next four years to support anti-bias education for the city’s teachers. After a year in which a white teacher stepped on a student during a lesson on slavery and white parents used blackface images in their PTA publicity, it’s a necessary first step.

As current and former New York City teachers, and as historians and educators working in the city today, we call for the education department to base its anti-bias program in an understanding of the history of racism in the nation and in this city. We also hope that the program recognizes and builds upon the work of the city’s anti-racist teachers.

Anti-bias education should lead teachers not only to address racism as an individual matter, but to perceive and struggle against its institutional and structural forms. Structural racism shapes the lives of students, families, and communities, and the classrooms in which teachers work: whether teachers find sufficient resources in their classrooms, how segregated their schools are, how often their students are stopped by police, and how much wealth the families they serve hold.

Without attending to the history that has created these inequities, anti-bias education might continue the long American tradition of pretending that racism rooted in capitalism and institutional power can be solved by adjusting individual attitudes and behaviors.

While conversations about individual attitudes and classroom practices are important, they are insufficient to tackle racism. Particularly in one of the most segregated school districts in America, taking a historical perspective matters.

Read the full article about anti-bias education by Ansley Erickson Brian Jones, and Adam Sanchez at Chalkbeat