Oakland’s School Board Cares More About Politics Than It Does About Kids and Families

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Posted Feb. 23, 2021

Reyna Morales lives in Oakland, California, and is the parent of two students at a high-performing charter school located in an area with a dearth…

Posted Feb. 22, 2021

“I am a white ally,” the 30 something-year-old white teacher declared emphatically in the diversity and inclusion professional development session. She snapped her fingers to…

Posted Feb. 17, 2021

On January 6, as my students were learning about the history of trench warfare during World War I, I had no idea that our own…

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The Government Is Still Preventing the Rise of the Black Messiah in Schools Today

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Posted Feb. 12, 2021

I was gifted an advanced screening of “Judas and the Black Messiah” earlier this week and it affirmed just how much education equals power, while…

Posted Feb. 10, 2021

Prior to COVID-19 upending American education, some state legislatures around the country considered moratoriums or “pauses” on public charter schools; while others, like in California,…

Posted Feb. 11, 2021

A war has been waging in my home state of Illinois, and the battle lines have been drawn. In one corner of the ring—the “uber…

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The Good Country Equation: How We Can Repair the World in One Generation—A Conversation with Simon Anholt

From the NCTE Standing Committee on Global Citizenship.

This post was written by Kylowna Moton, a member of the NCTE Standing Committee on Global Citizenship.

“If we only have the patience to work for one generation, systematically and together, with courage and imagination, on building the attitudes and behaviors and knowledge that underpin the solutions to these gigantic problems, we can defeat them all.” —Simon Anholt

If there is one thing we are sure of in the 21st century, it is that we face big problems. The COVID-19 pandemic, as horrible as it is, is only one of them. Like the pandemic, the major challenges we face in the 21st century—climate change, wealth inequality, systemic discrimination, injustice, and so on—have great potential to devastate and no respect for the imaginary lines we draw to separate humanity into “us” and “them.” Like a pandemic, the big problems of our time cannot be truly solved by one nation—any one nation—acting in isolation. That is one of the messages at the heart of Simon Anholt’s 2020 book, The Good Country Equation: How We Can Repair the World in One Generation: we need to work together if we are going to truly overcome the challenges we face as a species.
Throughout his career, Simon Anholt has consulted with the heads of state and governments of 57 countries, advising them to meet their needs and solve their problems by thinking beyond their borders. “All of our problems today,” he says, “are thoroughly globalized. In fact, the problem with the world that we are living in at the moment is that our problems, our challenges, are more globalized than our solutions. This is the imbalance.”
If more governmental leaders cooperated—rather than competed—with other nations, not only would they come closer to solving the problems they have in common, but they would make their countries more “good” in the process. For Anholt, a “good” country can pursue its own interests without costing other countries, preferably while also benefitting the others (see Good Country Index).
In 2020, Anholt turned his idea of what it means to be “good” toward a new project: The Good Generation. For this project, Anholt needs input and help from educators. While Anholt acknowledges that there are educational programs around the world that do a fine job of teaching the kinds of content and thought processes that upcoming generations will need to improve the world and sustain humanity, he also notes that these programs often work in isolation. They will need to work in concert if we are to raise and educate a generation of individuals who are ready to “run towards the global issues that threaten humanity, instead of running away from them, as so many of us do today.”
The Good Country Equation presents readers with some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that all our major, global problems are the result of human behavior: 1) how governments behave, and 2) how individuals behave. The good news is that “if people are the problem, they are also the solution.”

Kylowna Moton is an associate professor of English at Los Angeles City College, and taught English in the Los Angeles Unified School District for over 20 years. She is a member of the NCTE Standing Committee on Global Citizenship. Her research interests include everyday rhetoric and decolonizing the classroom as a means promoting lifelong literacy to reluctant and emergent readers and writers. Kylowna is an avid traveler and sees her work as integral to her experience of the world and its people.

Join the Standing Committee on Global Citizenship on Monday February 22, 4pm EST for a conversation with Simon Anholt about how NCTE members can be part of the solution and help shape a “Good Generation.”

We Need To Know if the Biden Administration Is Really With and For Us

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Posted Jan. 26, 2021

Before taking a much needed vacation at the end of last year, I wrote a piece talking about how education for Black kids cannot look…

Posted Jan. 25, 2021

The impact of COVID-19 on the education community was astonishing. Educators pivoted all of their curricula to a virtual landscape for the first time. Guardians…

Posted Jan. 25, 2021

A new COVID-19 strain is more contagious than ever. The Trump administration’s sheer neglect in the face of this deadly pandemic is enraging. Federal inaction…

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Here’s What I Will Fight for in 2021

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Posted Dec. 28, 2020

It was that kind of day. Parents and teachers know the one: the day before the holiday break. The day when all grades are due,…

Posted Dec. 29, 2020

This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, educators nationwide, and the world over, have had to adapt how they provide services to children and families.…

Posted Dec. 29, 2020

2020 was the pits.  More than 300,000 Americans died from COVID. A dearth of presidential leadership that led to the politicization of wearing masks—the single…

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