PHILADELPHIA – A teachers ‘ organization in Philadelphia is encouraging teachers to wear Black Lives Matter T-shirts and buttons and giving lessons on the movement every day for a week.
The Caucus of Working Educators, a faction of the teachers union, is the development of lessons plans and curriculum ideas for teachers of classes from kindergarten through the high school for the week of Jan. 23. The plan, distilled from the movement of the 13 principles, such as embracing diversity and globalism, online available , organizers said Friday.
“The vast majority of the students we serve are black, and it is important to confirm that the lives of our students,” said co-organizer Charlie McGeehan, who is white and teaches high school humanities at The School, where students work to solve real problems.
The organisers said that more and more teachers are signing on every day, but they do not have an exact number of the participating teachers.
“We had 500 buttons and shirts and distributed them and ordered more,” McGeehan said.
Amy Roat, who teaches English as a Second Language at Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences, said the idea is to engage students with current events and help them learn about other people. Most of her students are Latino, Asian and Arab-American.
“We are a school that is very inclusive and we’re talking about a lot of the good, juicy things,” she said. “Black Life features with 13 principles that I think are good and healthy for children to learn about.”
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People march during a Black Lives Matter rally in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
She said she hasn’t heard any complaints or been given a blowback from teachers, principals or parents.
Roat, who is white, said that they plan the curriculum for a week after Martin Luther King Day, to build off of the momentum of the marches, protests and actions.
Speaking of the development of the curriculum started in October, after a school district in Seattle had a “Black Lives Matter” School day, McGeehan said.
“We were inspired,” he said.
A school district spokesman did not immediately comment on the caucus’s plans, but said that the district provides regular opportunities for students to learn and express themselves.
A spokesman for the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, the teachers union, said it could not comment on the plans, because it was not a union-sponsored activity.
Black Life From the movement largely originated in 2014 after a number of high-profile deaths of unarmed black men and boys by the police. It has since evolved from its presence on social media and protests in multiple cities, a national platform with a policy that also focuses on issues including mass incarceration, and systemic inequality against African-Americans.
For McGeehan, he is planning to take the materials during his 40-minute advisory period, and see the ways in which this might come in the English and social studies classes.
“We want to show some of the complexity and the diversity of the Black Lives Matter movement,” he said.