#137: The Death Row Book Club
Welcome, loyal subscribers! Today’s issue of The Highlighter includes all my favorite topics: reading (of course — and also this month’s focus on the podcast), affirmative action, school resegregation, and voting rights. For good measure, you get repeat performances of Nikole Hannah-Jones, Alvin Chang, and Ari Berman (plus a hint of Bryan Stevenson). Please enjoy!
Also: I have two great events to invite you to. The first is Highlighter Happy Hour #5 next Thursday at Room 389 in Oakland. Get your free tickets here. The second is A Path to School Desegregation, a community roundtable in Oakland that loyal subscriber Ron Towns is leading on April 19. If you’re in the Bay Area, I hope to see you at both events!
Anthony Ray Hinton spent 30 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. While on death row, Mr. Hinton led a book club for his fellow inmates. They began with Go Tell It On The Mountain, by James Baldwin. When discussing books, Mr. Hinton writes, “we weren’t the scum of the earth, the forgotten and abandoned men who were sitting in a dark corner of hell waiting for their turn to walk to the electric chair. We were transported.” I recommend this piece especially to teachers interested in deepening text-based discussions. It’s great for the “why” and the “how.” ⏳
Giving Up Desegregation in Seattle
The reason schools are resegregating is that white people do not care. Last week, Nikole Hannah-Jones (#46, #109) told a largely white audience at Yale Law School, “Just admit it. You don’t believe in equality.” This article by a white teacher tells the story of Seattle’s path to resegregation. It may not have been as violent as the Boston busing crisis, but the effects have been just the same. ⏳⏳
Archie, who belongs to loyal subscriber Sophie, would like a snack right now, please. Want your pet to appear in The Highlighter? j.mp/nominatepet
Creating Readers in a High School English Class
This I believe: All teachers should be reading teachers, and all English teachers should unabashedly support their students to become joyful, independent readers who aggressively follow their interests. Whenever I get discouraged, I re-read this brilliant article by teacher Joan Kernan Cone. Ms. Cone, who taught English at El Cerrito High and is now retired, tells the truth through and through. Her successes and struggles are all on the page, and her students, vibrant and authentic, remind me of mine. ⏳⏳⏳
Anne-otations: The Teacher Who Couldn’t Read | Strangers Podcast
John Corcoran didn’t learn to read until he was 48. By that point, he was a college graduate teaching in a high school. How did he pull that off? And why did he never seek help? This month on The Highlighter Podcast, Mark and I will be discussing reading with loyal subscribers, students, and even Mr. Corcoran about why some people become passionate readers and others never do. ⏳⏳
Loyal subscribers Brittany, Ryan, Erin, and I would like you to join us at HHH #5 next Thursday at Room 389 in Oakland. Get your free tickets now! j.mp/hhh5invite
Hidden Figures: Rigging the Census
Now that states and the Supreme Court have begun to push back against voter suppression, the new method to disenfranchise swaths of the American public is the U.S. Census. Ari Berman (#63, #116) explains how changes in the 2020 Census will lead to a massive undercount of the Latino population, thereby shifting political power and Congressional seats over the next decade. ⏳⏳
How Asians Are Being Used To Fight Against Affirmative Action (Again)
College was pretty much impossible to get into this year (see UCLA, Harvard). With rejections up, a common response is to cast blame on others and to question affirmative action. Alvin Chang (#125, #126) explains how Edward Blum and other affirmative action detractors are using Asian students as “racial mascots” in their hopes “to return to a colorblind society.” ⏳
That’s it for this week! Thank you for reading The Highlighter. Let me know your thoughts by clicking on one of the thumbs below. Also, please welcome new subscribers Nick, Mindy, Eng, and Molly! The Highlighter is growing because you’re sharing the newsletter with your friends and family — so thank you! If this digest is not a great fit for you, or if you prefer to receive it via social media, please unsubscribe. Have a wonderful week, and I’ll see you again next Thursday at 9:10 am.
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