It’s hard to say where the research on this would be but I had a sobering thought yesterday: what kind of love and care are our children getting at home through schooling from their parents that they’ve rarely seen in schools?

What are Black children experiencing right now?

And how could we capture that and share it with school systems?

A friend is homeschooling her children and NOT using the curriculum sent home. Why? Because she wants her children to see themselves in their work. In studies. In history. In literature.

“Black Graduation — 2019” by Illinois Springfield is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The patience she has with them as she delivers…

Recently, over on Twitter, I asked a question about the new vocabulary people are learning in order to see what parts of my own lexicon has changed. While I limited it to new words in the last 5 and 10 years I hadn’t expected the responses. My assumption, and I did make one, was that these words would come solely from educators, my biggest community over there.

Surprisingly, lots of other people joined in and it turned into a learning environment where people asked for clarification, ideologies were explained, folks dropped links to definitions and stories where their word was…

A Certain Looking White Woman

Every week, I stand before a roomful of strangers in antiracism workshops. There’s a lot one must be prepared for when doing this kind of work: who will be there? what’s the racial makeup of the room? what’s the understanding of racism and the willingness to enter this kind of work?

Usually, I depend on local organizers to bring the right people into the space. This means a lot of phone calls, emails, and trust: trust that people will organize well. There is, by the way, such a thing as organizing badly. It’s possible to…

Not only did I spend the first 10 years as a classroom teacher during my education career but I was department chair for a while, too. That may seem insignificant (and it comes with a very small stipend for all the work they do) but it was critical for me to be, however I could be, in ‘charge’.

My mother spent the better part of my early years admonishing me with this saying: Kelly, you can either be bossy or be the boss. You choose. She meant to tell me that I spent too much time telling other people what…

In my first few years of teaching I learned, the hard way, about making mistakes with classroom assignments I was creating. We had our standard textbooks with ancillary materials that we could use but I also learned that the objectives of a lesson didn’t always match up to what those provided us. For instance, the first 4–5 questions after a chapter in our textbook were simply recall questions. They asked students to repeat facts about what they’d just read.

The money questions were always after that. They were deeper, reflective, and asked students to dig deeper on the Bloom’s Taxonomy…

In May of this last school year, I had a last straw moment. As a guidance dean and a part of an administrative team, this was truly nothing new, but this one was simply heartbreaking on a global scale as an example of what happens to Black children in schools.

Here’s a statistic I used this week to illustrate a similar point: the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights reported that in the 2012–13 school year the Chicago Public School system issued 32 suspensions for every 100 Black students. That number drops to 5 of every 100 white students…

I have a sneaking suspicion that politicians and everyday citizens in this country have very little idea of what happens daily inside the walls of a school. That suspicion has been confirmed over the 23 years I spent as both a classroom teacher and then, later, as an administrator. That’s not necessarily a slam but the ways in which we collectively talk about what schools “should do” don’t often line up with the jobs we’re tasked with on a daily basis.

I shared this on Twitter upon hearing that people were talking about arming teachers.

During this current, and very verbose, national discussion on school shootings after the massacre last week in Parkland, Florida…

Kelly Wickham Hurst has been awarded co-hort status for the Advancing the Development of Minority Entrepreneurship in Illinois. In seeking to promote economic growth in Illinois, the ADME awarded 35 applicants entrance into an investment program developed to strengthen start-up and small businesses from underrepresented communities.

ADME has identified high-potential minority entrepreneurs to provide a start-to-finish support team for business growth to bring community organizations, financial institutions, and government to provide participants with access to business training, capital, and other tools necessary for networking.

Nothing that’s happened in the last week has deterred us from the original mission and vision of Being Black at School. Black students are still marginalized, suspended more often than their white counterparts, and are denied access to higher level courses. Yet, as we watch the backlash to Devos’ appointment as the Secretary of Education we feel the need to address some important pieces as the Executive Director of a non-profit that seeks to work toward the goal of equity.

First, while we appreciate the protests of Devos in D.C. schools this morning we also understand the delicate balance of…

Yesterday I went with a friend to do a little self-care and get a manicure and, inevitably, the conversation with the nail technicians turned to politics. It’s not all that interesting that I went and got my nails done, but that every single person in the salon knew about the huge debate over the new Secretary of Education. I say this not to shame them, but I did ask if anyone could name another Education Secretary and none of them could. What this tells me is that people are engaged and informed and, if we’re honest, really upset about it.

Kelly Wickham Hurst

Founder and CEO of Being Black at School

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store