student-politics

This week there’s something more important than the Productivity Challenge or my photos of coffee and books or getting your bullet journal in order. This week is the week to engage, educate and resist

Engage with politics. This is the week to start if you haven’t before or to ramp it up if you’re already involved. Read, write, protest, repeat. Give your time and privilege to help others. 

Educate yourself. Your education is a radical act, don’t let it stop and don’t restrict yourself to your own subject. Learn about the historic struggles underpinning today’s politics and tell others. Use your education to inform your activism and your activism to inform your education.

Resist injustice. In the street, on campus, on the bus. Resist it at a protest or on social media. Do as much as you can, do not stand idly by whilst injustice occurs around you. Ignorance is complicity, action is resistance.

If you have queries/questions about this, hit me up. This week I’m going to focus on the crossover between our education and our resistance. If I lose followers, I will cope. 

The Signs As Things My Teachers Have Said
  • Aries: “Tell me any place you want a one-way ticket to and I´ll buy it.”
  • Taurus: “One day has 24 hours and if that´s not enough for studying, use the night, too."
  • Gemini: “I honestly don´t care whether you come to my lessons or not, I´m getting paid anyways.”
  • Cancer: “Of course you can join my course next year; you don´t annoy me.”
  • Leo: *reads out the school rules* “…furthermore you are not allowed to eat or drink in the classroom.” *looks at coffee mug in his hand* “Well, f*ck it, whatever.”
  • Virgo: “I´m sorry, I didn´t manage to correct your essays; I spent the whole weekend binge-watching TV-series.”
  • Libra: *looks at test I just handed in* “Oh, I´m sorry. Have a good day anyways.”
  • Scorpio: In linguistics class: “These guys, what are they called? You know, these guys who research languages. It´s on the tip of my tongue, dammit. Oh, yes, of course, I remember- linguists!”
  • Sagittarius: “OH NO, I´VE RUN OUT OF SNICKERS!”
  • Capricorn: “The rumour that there is a body buried in the school yard is completely false and I don´t know where it comes from. There is no body buried in the school yard.”
  • Aquarius: “Will you learn this damn tense, or do I have to get my squeaky toy?”
  • Pisces: *gives me back my test* “You do plan on studying for the next one, though, don´t you?”
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I’ve been waiting a long time for a major political party in Canada to push for free university tuition & debt relief. Glad to finally see some movement in this direction from the NDP.

Student debt, while not quite as severe as in the USA, is a serious problem for my generation. I’m almost $30,000 in debt, and that’s likely going to rise before I graduate.

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Thousands of San Francisco high school students walk out in protest of Trump

High school students from all over San Francisco staged a walkout Thursday, streaming into the streets and heading toward City Hall to rally in protest of President-elect Donald Trump. At least 10 area public schools took part. Their shouts and chants can be heard in numerous videos.

Here’s how Betsy DeVos could disproportionately hurt black and Latino students

  • On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Trump’s education secretary pick Betsy DeVos, despite last-minute efforts by Democrats. 
  • DeVos’ nomination will go down in history for being the first time a vice president voted to split a tie on a cabinet nominee.
  • In her new role, DeVos will be in charge of several programs that will disproportionately damage the educational and financial futures of the nation’s black and Latino students. 
  • Her educational philosophies on student loans, Pell grants and charter schools may mean big trouble for students of color. Read more

follow @the-movemnt

10 tips for talking about news, politics and current events in schools

Animation by TOGETHER

In schools everywhere, students are deeply affected by current events. Certain policy changes and related commentary can cause children to experience fear, confusion and anxiety. For example, some kids might fear deportation. Others might be upset about hurtful generalizations they hear regarding their cultures and countries of origin. A lot of kids might fear the loss of rights.

Teachers around the world have shared that having conversations about these topics is challenging, and sometimes they end up avoiding these conversations altogether. So how might teachers facilitate a classroom discussion that allows students to express their perspectives and work through their emotional distress? It’s important to note that an emotionally charged conversation requires a different set of skills than leading an academic class discussion. Here are 10 tips for success:

Animation by @rewfoe

1. Come up with class norms. It is hard to have a spontaneous conversation about a controversial issue. Classroom procedures for conversations and discussion can help your conversations go smoothly. At the beginning of the school year, establish guidelines for class discussions with your students’ input. What are the qualities of a good listener? How can students feel heard and understood? What happens if someone becomes overly emotional? Post the guidelines in your classroom, review them periodically, and stick to them during discussions. If you have guidelines in place, students won’t feel singled out if you have to give them feedback about their style of participation.

2. Make sure everyone has the same basic background information. Not all students are politically minded or have access to news media. Before starting a class conversation, provide a basic summary of events. Students are less likely to tune out if they understand what the conversation is about.

3. Provide explanations and clarifications. Sometimes students’ emotions are rooted in confusion, fear, and misinformation. Students look to teachers for information and clarification, so don’t forget your role as an information source. Even if you don’t have an answer, you can search for it alongside your students. If fake news seems to be at the root of the problem, empower your students to evaluate news sources. PBS has an excellent lesson plan for that here.

Animation by TOGETHER

4. Avoid debates. There will likely be a variety of viewpoints in your classroom. Debates can be a constructive activity in the context of an organized, structured lesson. Yet when students are emotionally charged, debates can often devolve into arguments and personal attacks. Shift the focus from changing minds to exchanging ideas. Frame the conversation as an opportunity for understanding and empathy.

5. View yourself as a facilitator. If you view yourself as a facilitator, you can provide a comfortable space for students to express themselves and develop their own opinions. Your role is not to persuade students of a particular point of view. Instead, you are providing a safe, structured space for students to work through a specific topic.

Animation by @rewfoe

6. Reflect what you hear and encourage students to do the same. Simply repeating back what you hear can be tremendously helpful. It can help students understand their emotions and thoughts about particular issues and events and it can help deescalate emotionally charged situations by showing that you have heard and understood your students. Model this technique for your students and encourage them to repeat back what they have just heard before they respond to a classmate.

7. Provide space for students to experience their feelings. If students are experiencing strong emotions, that is OK. Oftentimes, adults try to cheer kids up when they are angry or sad. This can send the message that they need to suppress their emotions so that the people around them aren’t uncomfortable. Acknowledge their emotions and encourage classmates to do the same. When students judge each other’s emotions with comments like, “You have no right to feel that way,” encourage them to recognize the emotion of their classmate instead. Remind them that people do not all have exact same experience. When you establish your classroom norms, this can be an important point to cover. Brene Brown’s video resource on empathy can help show the importance of allowing others to experience their emotions.

Animation by TED-Ed

8. Provide time for independent reflection. Give students some time to write (or create an audio file, drawing or other product) independently so that they have a chance to process the conversation. Let students know that this isn’t a graded assignment, and that you are open to feedback about ways to improve the classroom discussion.

9. Check in with distressed students. If a student is particularly anxious or upset, check in with that student privately. If you are worried about a student, avail yourself of other resources in your building and district so that students get the support they need to function well during the school day.

Animation by Cinematic Sweden

10. Consider a class project related to the discussion. A class project can help build cohesion and a sense of community in your classroom. It can also show that even in the midst of controversy and disagreement, people can work together for a common goal. The project does not have to be complicated or expensive. For example, TED-Ed Innovative Educator Kristin Leong created Roll Call, a project that highlights the commonalities between students and teachers.

Author bio: Dani Bostick is a writer, teacher, and TED-Ed Innovative Educator in Virginia.

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The “Trump effect” is having a devastating impact on foreign applications to US colleges

  • Trump’s travel ban and xenophobic rhetoric is drastically impacting the number of foreign applications at colleges and universities across the country, according to a study published this week by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.
  • The AACRAO surveyed 250 higher education institutions across the country, and found that 39% are reporting a decline in applications from international students — partly thanks to Trump’s travel ban.
  • Any decline in foreign students should be reason for concern to both institutions of higher education and the U.S. economy.
  • International students injected nearly $36 billion into the U.S. economy in 2015, according to a report from the Institute of International Education. Read more (3/17/17 9:55 AM)

Donald Trump Is a Nightmare for Transgender Students

Donald Trump’s election marks a new era of conflict for transgender students nationally. This article seeks to provide some commentary on Trump’s upcoming effects on transgender students across the country. Among Trump and Pence’s campaign’s prominent and most concerning promises was the appointment of a conservative Supreme Court justice, who would inevitably roll back protections for trans students. The legal case of Gavin Grimm, a young transgender man denied access to facilities with his own gender, has reached the Supreme Court. In October the conservative justices blocked his access to men’s restrooms “as a courtesy” while he waits to for his hearing. His groundbreaking case will be heard sometime next year with a Trump-appointed nominee who will tip the court to the conservatives. In the most likely scenario, this will mandate that states define their own laws on transgender students’ access to programs and facilities that match our gender identities as they have been. This works well for more progressive states like California that currently have legislation in place allow trans students access to programs and facilities with our gender. However, the majority of states do not have this legislation, which many were hopeful the supreme court would provide federally. Roughly 20 states have even introduced legislation that would bar transgender people from using facilities and public accommodations that match our genders. The Trump era will be a time of uncertainty for transgender students as we experience elevated violence under the increased national anti-transgender rhetoric. Read the full article here

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The government is yanking Americans’ retirement checks because of unpaid student debt

  • Student loan debt is not just a problem for the young; it’s increasingly following Americans into their retirement years.
  • In fact, the federal government withheld more than $170 million in 2015 payments to retirees because of defaulted student loan debt.
  • Lower-income older Americans were hit especially hard.
  • The reduction of Social Security benefits because of unpaid student loans left many of the people affected with incomes below the poverty line. Read more