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First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our
submission guidelines here
August 22, 2019
Kids hear adults describe them as lazy and selfish. I see my students being kind every day.
I tell my students, “You are not here so you can make money in a decade. You are here so you can make a difference now.”
August 19, 2019
Complicated language excludes parents from the IEP process. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Special education documents should be more readable so families can truly advocate for their children
August 19, 2019
How student-led conferences changed how I see my students
The honesty of my students during their conferences never ceases to amaze me.
August 12, 2019
I started talking about disability in my classroom. It changed both me and my students.
I realized that my students, like myself, had a choice. They could share who they were with others and accept disability as part of their identities.
August 8, 2019
I was the nurse for five Chicago schools last year. The district desperately needs more of us.
As a CPS nurse, I know firsthand that Chicago needs a nurse in every school, every day.
August 7, 2019
I convinced my teachers to walk our students’ neighborhoods. It changed our school.
I encouraged my school to lead a walking tour of Camden for staff members. It changed our teachers' perspectives and helped them better understand our students.
August 6, 2019
The case for teaching about sharks and mummies, not captions and the main idea
If a student doesn’t have enough knowledge to understand a text, no amount of “skills” practice will help, Natalie Wexler argues in "The Knowledge Gap."
August 1, 2019
It’s still possible to take action on school segregation. Here’s how we’re doing it in San Antonio.
San Antonio is an unlikely place to integrate schools. We're doing it anyway.
July 9, 2019
Speaking at a Chicago school board meeting is a feat of endurance for parents. It shouldn’t be.
The current system is not friendly to anyone, but it excludes people with fewer resources specifically.
July 1, 2019
Diversity efforts start with recruitment, but what schools do next is critical
If NYC is to turn its segregated schools into models of diversity, equity, and inclusion, the debate needs to move beyond the specialized high schools. Here's how.
June 28, 2019
Want to see what makes America great? Attend a high school graduation like this one.
Better yet, snag a ticket to one that’s full of first-generation graduates and listen to their stories, Los Angeles teacher Joel Snyder writes.
June 18, 2019
As a New York City principal, I attended anti-bias trainings that didn’t feel effective. Here’s what did.
In the 14 years I served as a high school principal, I found no area of professional development more frustrating, divisive, and ineffective.
June 12, 2019
I’m a public school teacher in Memphis. Here’s why the state’s new voucher-like program worries me.
Will anyone notice if my students, who are mostly low-income, African-American and Latino, aren't getting their needs met?
June 10, 2019
I’m a longtime education advocate. Here’s why I’m hopeful about Chicago’s next chapter.
In my time in Chicago, I certainly have not witnessed anything this broad, this inclusive, or this deliberate to make sure diverse voices in our city are heard.
May 30, 2019
I’m a New York City high school junior, and I’m glad more of my teachers are getting anti-bias training
Anti-bias trainings are not about condemnation. They are a step toward acknowledging that the system is set up to best serve white students, not students like me.
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