The Week In Washington, Discussing Race In School

Air Date:
Heard On Central Time

Principals and teachers from Milwaukee schools recently met to learn new ways to deal with racial issues in the classroom. We find out what the training included and what challenges teachers are facing. We also check in on the top political stories of the week from Washington D.C.

Featured in this Show

  • Milwaukee School Leaders Learn About Race, Cultural Differences

    A group of more than 100 school leaders in Milwaukee attended a two-day training session this week on how to address race and cultural differences in their schools.

    Local nonprofit Schools That Can Milwaukee hosted the event, which included representatives of Milwaukee Public Schools, private choice schools and independent charter schools.

    “I think when we have issues in our city similar to what happened last summer in Sherman Park or other issues, we need adults in the building who are comfortable having conversations with our students about the realities that they’re facing every day, whether they agree with them or not, we need them to be comfortable to create a safe space for students to be able to talk about those things,” said Rashida Evans, the chief program officer for Schools That Can Milwaukee.

    The training program was aimed at striking a balance between self-reflection and giving school leaders the tools they need for how to apply what they learn back in their school roles. On the first day of training, participants spent the morning reflecting on their own experiences with race and how that might affect perceptions. Then, in the afternoon, they learned about how these biases and personal experiences transfer into their work, Evans said.

    Training leaders broke the participants into groups: principals, instructional leaders and deans. Evans used the deans group as an example. Deans typically manage school culture and student behavior.

    “We want them to spend some time thinking about … how do those experiences impact how they manage discipline and behavior? How does it influence the policies and the procedures that are in place within the school?” she explained.

    Tawana Harper, the academic dean at Milwaukee College Prep Lloyd Street, said she attended this week’s training. She said she wants to make sure she’s being mindful that all teachers don’t have the same background and experience that she does.

    “My role is to help teachers with curriculum, but it can’t just stop there, and so I want to be able to be that leader in front of my teachers, in front of my students,” Harper said.

    Evans said one of the biggest takeaways from this kind of training is that everybody’s American Dream is different. She said sometimes a teacher’s goal in the classroom is to push the students towards one dream.

    “Our goal behind having conversations about race, or talking about cultural pedagogy, is that our kids are prepared for whatever, and so that they are free to make the choice to live however they choose to live,” she said.

  • Week In Washington – August 2, 2017

    In our weekly recap of national politics, we look at President Trump’s involvement in crafting a misleading statement on Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer, the latest push from Speaker Paul Ryan to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall, and more.

  • Training For Milwaukee School Leaders To Focus On Race And Cultural Differences

    On Monday and Tuesday, a group of more than one hundred school leaders from across Milwaukee attended a training to address issues of race and cultural difference. We talk to a member of Schools That Can Milwaukee, the group that hosted this training, and one of the school leaders who attended.

Episode Credits

  • Judith Siers-Poisson Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Amanda Magnus Producer
  • Haleema Shah Producer
  • Rashida Evans Guest
  • Tawana Harper Guest
  • Sabrina Siddiqui Guest