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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
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.
May 29, 2019
For 23 years, I’ve had to create curriculum from scratch. Here’s my advice as Chicago revises that approach.
A teacher who has had to create his own curriculum over and over has some questions, and ideas, as Chicago crafts its own curriculum for the first time.
May 29, 2019
When I became Puerto Rico’s education chief, I wasn’t prepared for the level of poverty I’d see. Now, I want others to pay attention.
I met hundreds of smart, hardworking students who lacked notebooks, pencils, or other basic supplies. I wish I could have done more.
May 15, 2019
I was a white teacher who couldn’t talk about race. A journey through successful U.S. high schools changed my thinking.
“I know what schools and classrooms shouldn’t look like. I want to know more about what they can be at their best.”
April 24, 2019
I’m a Denver principal who’s watched too many colleagues leave. Here’s how our new superintendent could help.
Principals feel undervalued, and too often my peers are placed into their roles and not offered enough support when it gets tough.
April 23, 2019
As the parent of African-American kids, this is what I want from Memphis’s next superintendent
I know superintendents come and go. Still, I hope our next schools chief can improve a system that often feels like it operates to keep certain communities in power.
April 23, 2019
I worry my students are always on high alert. Here’s how I try to help.
We reminded students that even with the bad in the world, there is still more good. And then we let them go back to being teens.
April 19, 2019
Sol Pais scared me. She also reminded me of the troubled students I want to protect.
A Colorado teacher reflects on the school day canceled because of a threat of violence.
April 18, 2019
Schools closing for snow is just life. Schools being closed because of gun threats? That’s tougher to accept.
School closures have become common this year for Denver parents. But Wednesday’s was one we should have been able to prevent.
April 16, 2019
What my students learned — and didn’t learn — from my efforts to teach empathy in language arts class
Most of the things I’d been doing to teach character and kindness, like skits and role-playing, weren’t authentic experiences. So I tried something new.
April 15, 2019
The problem with ‘don’t smile until Christmas’? I can’t do it.
It all sounded like good advice to Rafael Jimeno. But he found that building an honest rapport with students goes a long way, too.
March 29, 2019
As a sociologist and a father, I have one conclusion: Chicago’s high school admissions process is unfair
For students, the process induces sleepless nights and constant comparisons to classmates. It also offers a front-row seat to deep inequality across the city’s schools.
March 25, 2019
‘Some rich kid will just buy my spot’: The disheartening message the college admissions scandal sent my New York City students
Too often I hear students say they aren't “college material,” even though they have the maturity and skills to succeed. Now, it's harder to convince them they're wrong.
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