As educators, community members, and/or parents we all play a role in disrupting problematic school practices. In this final assignment you will identify one problematic practice in education and, (1) describe the problem (historical context), (2) explain why it is harmful to students, and (3) offer solutions. The assignment will be written in the form of a letter to a school principal or school board. You must use at least 3 reputable sources, such as, academic articles, books, news articles, and/or data, to support your argument. I provide a few examples of topics you may choose (see below) but you may choose any topic that interests you. The strongest letters focus on one specific issue/problem.If you have questions about your topic you can email me or we can discuss. Please refer to the rubric to earn full points for the assignment. To see a sample of a well-written letter you will find one in Canvas under “course documents.” Problematic practices (that perpetuate inequality) in education: Thanksgiving celebrations where children dress up as pilgrims and Native Americans (grades pre-kinder—1st) School tracking: Tracking students into general/remedial and honors/AP courses (grades K-12) Tracking/pushing students of color into vocational education (versus college-track). Overrepresentation of students of color in special education. Under representation of students of color in gifted, honors, and AP classes Lack of school counselors (especially in school districts serving low-income, students of color) Lack of mental health professionals (especially in school districts serving low-income, students of color) Underrepresentation of teachers of color OR teachers with disabilities OR teachers who identify as LGBTQ+ White-centered and/or, male-centered and/or, hetero-centric curriculumoPolice or Military presence on campus (especially in school districts serving low-income, students of color) Limited or surface-level inclusions of diversity such as multicultural potlucks Absence of bilingual education (and/or absence of qualified bilingual educators) Absence of support or resources for students who are undocumented Punitive disciplinary practices (especially against low-income, students of color) Heteronormative schooling practices (e.g., school dances, sports, bathrooms…) Letter Format Top, right: First and Last name First line: Dear Principal or Dear School Board Body: Single-spaced Font: 12 point Margins: 1” all sides Rubric for Final Assignment: Letter to the Principal Part 1: What is the problem? What is the historical context? Accurately identifies a problematic practice in education. Provides historical background. References reputable sources, such as course readings. Part 2: How does the problem harm/negatively affect students? Thoughtfully explains why and how problematic practices is harmful to students. Answers questions such as: How does the practice reinforce inequalities in education? How does the practice perpetuate institutional oppression? Uses outside research and/or references to support the argument. Provides clear examples. Part 3: What are the solutions? What can we do to end or change this practice? Provides thoughtful, relevant solutions. Supports ideas with outside research, data, or relevant experiential knowledge. Identifies several, specific resources for school principal or board member (such as, books, websites, news articles, films…).
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