The Educator's PLN

The personal learning network for educators

In 1954, education in the United States was supposed to change. The inequities that young children of color had faced for decades were to be erased giving equal access to everyone. Finally, there was to be diversity in education.

But what did diversity mean in 1936, or 1966 or 2006? There are many schools trying to answer that question.


“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.”

I never had the opportunity to visit Caswell Country Training School in North Carolina. It was a segregated school that operated from 1934 to 1969. Many schools during this time period faced enormous challenges trying to adequately educate students so that they could pursue higher education if given the opportunity. Yet, Caswell is seen as a blueprint of how to be a successful community school. The successes of the school are chronicled in Their Highest Potential: An African-American School Community in the Segregated South by Vanessa Siddle Walker.


The principal, N. Longworth Dillard, hired the most highly successful teachers from historically black colleges. Their evaluations were rigorous and the expectation was for teachers to not only teach but visit the homes of the students and churches of the community. The PTA meetings were mandatory with parents spearheading financial campaigns to buy materials for annual pageants, trips and classrooms. Parent advocacy was the reason the school finally received a permanent building with art and recreational facilities and adequate heating system.

The staff was not content with students learning just academics. The wide array of clubs that were offered exposed students to art, music, drama and debate. Faculty was not afraid to speak to students regarding their character development and set a level of expectation in and outside of the classroom.

Students graduated and came back to Caswell to become teachers truly connecting their dedication and belief in the mission of the school.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?”

Manhattan Country School in New York, New York was founded in 1966 as a model for integrated education. Currently it is still seen as a leader in multicultural education.

From its first year of existence to present day, the school has no racial majority and is explicit in creating an economically diverse community as well. When you walk in their classrooms, you hear teachers asking students in 4th grade to think about how issues affect gender, race and class. Students learn not only to express their own opinion but to understand what it feels like to be in another’s shoes. Respect and appreciation for differences is central to their curriculum.

The school has expanded its pursuits of equity and social justice to include gender equity and environmental justice. Each year, classes are required to facilitate a community project that will support the school community as well as the surrounding community. These projects has led the school to eliminate the use of paper cups in the school as well as establish their annual Martin Luther King, Jr. walk .

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

The School at Columbia University is connecting to its community through education. The school was created in 2003 primarily as a school that could be attended by the children of Columbia University professors. However, the school has a need-blind lottery process open for all District 3 and 5 families. This lottery process allows students who live in one of the most struggling districts in New York City to attend a private school.

Situated in a new building on West 110th Street, the school has managed to bring together a faculty of master teachers from across the country to build an integrated curriculum. The students have an opportunity to think through an essential question by exploring and questioning it themselves then talking to the experts of Columbia for their perspective.

The school has been able to create a community of learners that also include parents. Since many of the parents are educators themselves, parents become resources and partners in the school. They spearhead a variety of activities including a science expo.

Each of these institutions has already embraced the recent line of ‘Education is the civil rights issue of our time”. To them, education has always been the civil rights issue of their time.

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

All quotes by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Views: 74


You need to be a member of The Educator's PLN to add comments!

Join The Educator's PLN


Thomas Whitby created this Ning Network.

Latest Activity

Shawn Mitchell replied to Tata Nech's discussion Hey People
"i hope you are good in this time. and you can learn new things about tech & e-learning and too many things. And i want to read more blogs about it."
Shawn Mitchell replied to George Danke's discussion Integration with The Latest Technology in Education Field
"Condition is worse due to Covid we cannot go anywhere and even universities and research labs are closed. Hope the situation will be normal soon. Then we can think about something else"
Apr 29
Tata Nech posted a blog post

More Than a Sport: A Look at Scootering’s Evolution

Too many people do not have a clear idea about what is a Scooter; and much less than there is a sport based on it. Besides, it is a sport that has evolved a lot from its beginning, but if you do not know too much about the sport is hard to see it as more than a kid game.However, this sport is more than just kids and young people making scooter tricks in a square; scootering is a kind of culture and a lifestyle that has more than 20 years growing to become what it is today.For this reason, we…See More
Apr 24
Shawn Mitchell replied to Rob Schoonveld's discussion Twitter vs Edupln
"My preference is this website is best. Twitter is used for social purpose and EDUPLN is used for professional discussion which you cannot discuss on social platforms."
Apr 14
Shawn Mitchell replied to Shanshan Ma's discussion Personalized learning network and social media
"Hi, There are too many platforms of social media and the member of those platform discuss so many things and participate. So it depends only on you where do you want to discuss."
Apr 14
Shawn Mitchell replied to Nanacy Lin's discussion Future Of Education
"Now a days AI is best technology to learn because it is the future."
Apr 12
Joe Silva updated their profile
Apr 11
Profile IconStuart Jones, Sarah Kiefer, Corina Gamez and 5 more joined The Educator's PLN
Apr 11


© 2021   Created by Thomas Whitby.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service