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The Absolute Best School Climate Blogging (This Week): Equity for Black Girls Edition

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blackgirlsreport.JPGHappy Friday, Rules readers. This week I dug into this report on equity in education for African-American girls that was released by the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and the National Women's Law Center.

As I've noted previously, the Obama administration's My Brother's Keeper initiative has shined a spotlight on the needs of boys of color, but many feel that girls are being left out of crucial efforts as a result. The report, released this week, argues that African-American girls share many of the equity issues that face their male peers and that those issues also have unique effects for their gender.

Not only do many African-American girls face the problems of disparate discipline rates, racial stereotypes, and lack of access to qualified teachers faced by their male peers, the report argues, but they also deal with the issues of pregnancy discrimination in schools, gender-based harrassment, and sexual assault. And those issues can start a domino effect that will later affect their children and families, it says.

"Although there is plentiful data on American children and education, the lack of data broken down by race and gender together has fueled the assumption that all girls are doing fine in school," the report says. "But in fact, although girls overall graduate from high school at higher rates than boys, girls of color are graduating at far lower rates than white girls and boys. In almost all states with available data, the high school graduation rate for African-American girls is below the national average for girls overall, resulting in severe economic consequences for African-American women and their families."

What do you think of the report's conclusions? It's worth a read. On a less important note, there is a lot of beautiful photography incorporated with the findings.

Let's dig into some other links.

There was a lot of interesting stuff on the internet this week for people who care about school climate and student well-being. I'm curious to hear your thoughts. This week, we read about poor students, gender equality, creative solutions to kids' loneliness, and more.

On poor students...

"I know I should be thinking about going to college when I graduate if I don't want that life. But I'd have to stay at home to afford it. Nine of us in a one-bedroom apartment, no privacy, one bathroom, and toys everywhere—I don't know if I can make myself do it."
—A teen discusses his own family's poverty in this powerful story from WNYC. Does this add to your perspective of poor students in your own school?

On gender equality...

"We want to try and galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for change. And we don't just want to talk about it, we want to try and make sure it's tangible."
—Harry Potter actress Emma Watson's speech on gender equality at the United Nations is getting a lot of attention for calling men and boys to action.

Should schools monitor social media?

"Huntsville schools Superintendent Casey Wardynski says the system began monitoring social media sites 18 months ago, after the National Security Agency tipped the school district to a student making violent threats on Facebook."
—The Huntsville, Ala., district said it began tracking its students' social media activity following a tip from the National Security Agency, Al.com reports. Should schools do this? What do you think?

A place to find play partners...

"The idea is that kids who are looking for playmates can sit on the bench to signal they would like someone to come ask them to play."
—From Canada comes a story of a clever, colorful bench where kids can sit to let their peers know they need someone to play with at recess.

Getting kids to graduation day...

"The American Graduate Day 2014 will feature sports stars, Hollywood celebrities, as well as teachers and community leaders in a 'call to action' to encourage students to get a high school diploma. It is a public awareness campaign aimed at celebrating the work of community organizations and individuals working to keep students on track for college and career success."
—College Bound reports on a special PBS programming effort to address high school dropout issues.

On how divorce affects students...

"Children of wealthy families that come apart have a bigger spike in behavior problems than children of poor families who experience the same thing."
—Time takes a look at a Georgetown University that examines how family-income level correlates with children's response to divorce. This could be an interesting finding for teachers to tuck in the back of their minds as they support students going through family transitions.

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