What Happened This Year In Education: 9 Popular Stories

From sending kids home for what others deemed inappropriate to what is appropriate to teach in the classroom, here are some of the hot topics of 2014.
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There was plenty of controversy in schools this year, ranging from kids being sent home for what others deemed inappropriate hair or fashion to arguments over what is appropriate to teach in the classroom. Each year, teachers with no background or understanding of Native history or culture offer students damaging, stereotypical curriculum. So what are some things teachers shouldn’t do when teaching Native kids? Read on to find out.

Courtesy Mahnomen Elementary Principal Jacob Melby

Public School District National Honor Society students go into the elementary classrooms to read with the primary students as a community service project.

Each year, teachers with no background or understanding of Native history, culture, or current affairs, offer mainstream and Native students damaging, stereotypical curriculum. So what are some things teachers shouldn’t do when teaching Native kids? Read on to find out.

RELATED: 10 Things Teachers Should Never Do When Teaching Native Kid

Thinkstock

There was much discussion about truth-telling this year. So, do history books written by white colonizers tell the truth about Natives? Decidedly, no. What are some of the biggest lies they tell?

RELATED: 8 Big Lies History Books Tell About Natives

Native News Online

Malachi Wilson, 5, was sent home on his first day of school and ordered to cut his hair.

In August, a 5-year-old Native American boy was sent home on his first day of school and ordered to cut his hair because it allegedly violated district policy, the boy’s mother said.

RELATED: Navajo Kindergartner Sent Home from School, Ordered to Cut His Hair

Tracy Canard Goodluck

Reader-submitted photo of a festival-goer down to the Pet Shop Boys.

What should teachers know before approaching American Indian culture and history with their classrooms? We believe teachers should be aware of the truth when teaching any history of this country. We offered five things educators should know.

RELATED: 5 Things Educators Should Know Before Teaching Native Culture and History

Coca-ColaCompany.com

One of the seven languages used in the Coca-Cola commercial aired during the Super Bowl called “It’s Beautiful” was Keres, a language spoken by Pueblo people. The commercial showed various scenes of the country from mountains to desert and from rural to inner cities with people singing “America the Beautiful” in their language.

RELATED: Coca-Cola’s ‘America the Beautiful’ Super Bowl Ad Causes Stir

RELATED: Native Language Spotlighted During Coca-Cola Super Bowl Ad

Penn State University

A staggering 87 percent of references to American Indians in all 50 states’ academic standards portray them in a pre-1900 context.

What happens every Thanksgiving at a number of schools across Turtle Island? Teachers break out the construction paper and synthetic feathers to teach students about the first Thanksgiving, perpetuating a fairy tale about struggling pilgrims and friendly Indians. This often follows Columbus Day instruction that is similarly celebratory. But for the vast majority of elementary and secondary students, lessons like these may be the only time they learn about American Indians at all. A staggering 87 percent of references to American Indians in all 50 states’ academic standards portray them in a pre-1900 context.

RELATED: ‘All Indians Are Dead?’ At Least That’s What Most Schools Teach Children

Joshua Bessex

Psychology professor Anthony Greenwald, one of two psychologists to design the Implicit Association Test.

Think you’re free of bias or prejudice? Think again. Of the more than 14 million people who have taken an implicit bias test during the last 15 years, most discovered unconscious—and often uncomfortable—biases. One of the most popular tests, the race test, revealed that three out of four people implicitly prefer white skin.

RELATED: How Racist Are You? Take the Tests to Find Out

CBC News

Tenelle Starr sports her now-famous, historically accurate, magenta hoodie.

“Got Land? Thank an Indian.” Some people in Saskatchewan, Canada, apparently didn’t want to. And that, for a few days, got 13-year-old eighth-grade student Tenelle Starr, Star Blanket Cree Nation, barred from wearing the sweatshirt at school 56 miles from Regina, Saskatchewan.

RELATED: First Nation Student Wins Right to Wear ‘Got Land?’ Hoodie After School Ban

New York Times

This screen capture shows Marie Wilcox speaking Wukchumni.

A recent short documentary by Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee for the New York Times profiles Marie Wilcox, of the Wukchumni, a Yokuts Tribe native to Central California. She grew up speaking mostly Wukchumni and created a dictionary in her language.

RELATED: Video: Last Fluent Wukchumni Speaker Fights to Save Her Language