RECENT POSTS

Posted Jan. 12, 2017

Trump Might Want to Scrap the Office of Civil Rights, But the Work Continues

In a community not too far from my home of Philadelphia, yet light years away in the tony suburb of…

By Sharif El-Mekki

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Posted Dec. 14, 2016

Schools Waste Too Much Time Trying to Find Good Teachers, and Colleges Can Fix That

“After 30 years of doing such work, I have concluded that classroom teaching…is perhaps the most complex, most challenging, and…

By Sharif El-Mekki

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Posted Dec. 6, 2016

To Know the Black Community Is to Know How Thirsty We Are for Better Schools

I often wonder what it will take for Black children in our communities to attend high-performing schools. According to many…

By Sharif El-Mekki

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Posted Nov. 14, 2016

Here’s What I Told My Black Students to Remember Now That Trump Is President

The morning after the election, Philadelphia was fresh off a six-day public transit strike. Now our students, who had demonstrated…

By Sharif El-Mekki

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Posted Oct. 19, 2016

Before You Get Rid of ‘No Excuses’ Discipline, Hear Me Out

I’m concerned about the growing backlash against what are referred to as “no excuses” schools. Too often, critics depict overly-rigid…

By Sharif El-Mekki

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Posted Oct. 13, 2016

The NAACP Was Founded by White People and It Still Isn’t Looking Out for Black Families

Some organizations are committed to a cause. Everyone knows exactly what they stand for. Look at Greenpeace—everybody knows that they’re…

By Sharif El-Mekki

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Posted Aug. 30, 2016

How Badly Do We Really Want Black, Brown and Poor Kids to Be Successful?

“I am not accountable for the violence, drugs, pregnancy…in my school.” I wasn’t surprised by this final retort. It was…

By Sharif El-Mekki

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Posted July 29, 2016

I’m Inspired by So Many Students But the Kid Who Tried to Kill Me Inspires Me Most

I was recently asked which of my former students most inspired me. I have literally thousands to draw from for…

By Sharif El-Mekki

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Posted July 7, 2016

Tell Me, When Were Schools Ever Great for Black Children?

When I hear people reminisce about and allude to a time when schools and systems worked for our communities, I try…

By Sharif El-Mekki

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Posted June 28, 2016

To My Students: Your Civil Rights Movement Is Now

Last Friday, I ended my 24th year working with the youth of our city and my 23rd year working directly…

By Sharif El-Mekki

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Posted Dec. 8, 2017

Teachers Are Ready to End the School-to-Prison Pipeline But They Need the Trump Administration’s Help

2.6 million. That is the number of children suspended from U.S. public schools in one calendar year—2.6 million. That data, released in 2014 by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for…

By Lillian Lowery, Evan Stone

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Posted Dec. 7, 2017

This Video of Denver DREAMers Challenged Me to Check My Privilege

Being the “Type A,” driven overachiever that I am, I tend to be a planner—often, to a fault. As the daughter of a Purdue grad,…

By Chyrise Harris

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Posted Dec. 7, 2017

How Quincy Patterson Became Virginia Tech’s First Quarterback to Major in Engineering

If you follow Chicago’s high school football scene, you probably already know Quincy Patterson, the Solorio High School quarterback who drew lots of attention from…

By Maureen Kelleher

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