Several King County, Washington, activist teachers revealed to Crosscut how they inject race and “equity” lessons into their elementary classrooms.
Kent teacher Joanne Barber took advantage of violent Black Lives Matter protests last year “to teach more about race” in her second grade class.
“I am willing to be that teacher that has those hard conversations,” she said. “I would be doing a huge disservice to my students if I didn’t give them information that they could see themselves in.”
She told Crosscut learning that “racial history” is “just as important as reading or math.”
Barber teaches children 7- and 8-year-olds that slavery “led to institutional racism and implicit bias.” She also “weaves race and equity into every subject” and “every day in her class is filled with race education.”
Patricia Shelton, a curriculum developer in the Bellevue School District, told Crosscut, “In Bellevue, we have been working very hard in grades 5, 8 and 11 to de-center the traditional ‘white’ perspective and to center the voices of people of color.”