The recent presidential election has exposed troubling, ugly divisions in our country, as well as lingering stereotypes and entrenched biases. The strident voices that often dominate elements of our politics and our media can overpower the voices of civility, kindness, equity, and respect.
All of this trickles down to our schools — and to our students. And that's what has motivated a new initiative called One and All, a project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where we’re creating, posting, and sharing strategies and guidance that engage the difficult questions educators are now navigating. We welcome your voice and your perspectives in this critical conversation.
Recent months have brought alarming reports of bullying and harassment among students and within school walls, including incidents of hate speech, racism, and anti-Semitism. Students of color, immigrant students, refugee students, LGBTQ students — as well as their teachers and families — may feel targeted by federal policies and actions, and deeply worried. Other students and families — whether they feel personally targeted or feel empathy for those groups — may feel anxious as well. Still others, including those whose preferred candidate(s) won their electoral contests, may be feeling isolated or alarmed by the polarization in our society and our schools. As the rituals of election-season civics lessons were disrupted by the ugly rhetoric of the campaign, teachers struggled to accommodate political conversation and free speech, while rejecting divisive language and supporting their students. And parents struggled to make sense of it for their kids (and themselves).
Responding to all of that, we’re asking: What can we do to protect the students who are particularly vulnerable to bullying and harassment, especially now? How can we create a learning climate that is respectful of all viewpoints and that firmly protects the rights and dignity of every person? What can we do to encourage conversation across barriers (of gender, race, identity, political views) and across difficult topics?
As educators, how can we talk productively about what divides us, in order to find out what unites us?
As part of our One and All initiative, we’re posting strategies and guidance that engage all these questions. We welcome your voice and your perspectives in this critical conversation.
We Want to Hear from You
Our country is polarized: How is that showing up in your school? What are you doing to protect students, confront discrimination, prevent bullying, and foster inclusion? Usable Knowledge would like to hear from you. Join us on Facebook and Twitter, using #OneAllHGSE. Send your advice and resources to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll share as much as we can. Read more at One and All.