In this episode, we chat with Dr. Jay Marks, Diversity and Equity Consultant with Oakland Schools (Michigan). We discuss the topics of race, culture, social justice, and inequities that exist in the K-12 system. We discuss how Dr. Mark’s experiences have shaped him over his 30-year career in education, the approach and impact of the work he’s currently doing, and he provides recommendations for how individuals can contribute to more inclusive school systems.
Here are some notes about the episode:
- You can register for workshops, facilitated by Dr. Marks and his colleagues, within Oakland Schools’ Professional Learning Calendar. If you are interested in learning more about topics discussed in this episode, the Climate Culture category might be of particular interest to you.
- Dr. Marks quotes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” Related to this sentiment, Dr. King spoke about the construct of time, it’s constructive and destructive power, and urged good people to not wait on April 14, 1967, during his speech that day at Stanford University.
- Dr. Marks distinguishes between not being racist and anti-racist. There is a large body of literature to be absorbed on this topic. Being Anti-Racist from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture is a good primer to begin your journey if you’re just starting out.
- Dr. Marks suggested forming affinity groups as a means for white educators to learn more about racism, anti-racism, and to explicitly examine the impact of whiteness on the K-12 system.
- Dr. Marks discusses leveraging privilege in ways that give voice to those who are marginalized. We recommend developing your skills as an ally to be explicit in doing this work. How to Be an Ally from Teaching Tolerance is a good place to start learning.
- NEA EdJustice engages and mobilizes activists in the fight for racial, social, and economic justice in public education. The Black Lives Matter at School section contains resources for engaging in racial justice activism as an educator.
- Dr. Marks mentioned donating to causes important to you if you have difficulty giving your time. Jeff has supported classrooms via Donors Choose in the past. It’s a platform to fund classroom projects and activities that individual teachers are hoping to offer their students. You might consider searching for classrooms in need of support relating to topics of social justice, cultural responsiveness, and other topics of value to you.
- In the Unpack, Jeff makes references to deep culture, implicit bias, and cultural frame of reference. If you’re interested in learning more about culturally responsive teaching, we recommend reading Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain by Zaretta Hammond.
- In The Unpack, Justin recommends listeners check out the podcast series, Nice White Parents.
- Podcast PD is a great way to extend your learning while listening to the Digital Backpack.
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