In this edition of 5 Things We’re Reading Now, we’re sharing articles covering a wide range of issues, from a newly released study on implicit bias against Black girls in our schools to why media literacy is important in an era of ‘fake news.’ Let us know what you’re reading by tweeting at us with #summerreading. We hope this roundup sparks a conversation among your friends and colleagues.
In this in-depth study conducted by the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality, researchers show, for the first-time ever, data that proves implicit bias against Black girls in our society. We also learn that in schools, a teacher’s negative perception of Black girls can limit their opportunities. Additionally, a lack of diversity among school leaders and stricter punishments can impede a young Black girl’s access to quality education: “In light of proven disparities in school discipline, we suggest that the perception of Black girls as less innocent may contribute to harsher punishment by educators and school resource officers.”
In this piece, several educators discuss an increasingly important issue of helping students to identify legitimate news stories—something many adults struggle with. Kavitha Cardoza says, “Recognizing bias in news stories is one form of media literacy. Spotting when the news is entirely fabricated, like these stories, is something else entirely.” The discussion also points out how just because students are comfortable using social media to monitor the news, does not mean that they are savvy at recognizing real information.
Carol Dweck, psychology professor at Stanford University, makes the case that adults can help children get out of a “fixed mindset” and develop productive habits that strengthen their thought. To get this right, Dweck says “many teachers have to change how they teach, offering more critical feedback and giving students opportunities to revise their work. You can’t just declare that you have a growth mindset,” says Dweck. “Growth mindset is hard. Many educators are trying to skip the journey.”
More than 60 educators in Alabama have joined together to participate in private, virtual conversations on race in their classrooms and their school systems. Facilitated by the AL.com news team and a local nonprofit, teachers are speaking openly and looking for solutions to shrinking the achievement gap between black and white students. One teacher writes, “I’m interested to hear about other teachers’ struggles and any solutions they may have found to reaching students who too often seem unreachable.”
Timothy Shanahan discusses key insights from Mark Seidenberg’s “Language at the Speed of Sight,” while exposing unproductive practices for reading proficiency. “I still find people who believe that young children would best learn to read if we focused on one skill at a time,” says Shanahan, who argues children must learn “systems of language simultaneously.” He also points out what it takes to be a reader and what educators can do to be more effective in their instruction.