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 Feb. 20, 2018

I Can Empathize With Parkland But the Reality Is My Students Face Gun Violence Daily

It may be strange to say, but, as a teacher, I feel totally disconnected from the seemingly weekly occurrence that is the horror of mass…

By Zachary Wright 

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Posted Feb. 16, 2018

This Story About Justin Bieber and Mac & Cheese Is Why I Love Teaching

I want to tell you a little story about macaroni and cheese and the battle of Lawrence Welk versus Justin Bieber. I could not write…

By Brett Bigham

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Posted Feb. 20, 2018

The Struggle to Find the Perfect Standardized Test Is Real

So it looks like the standardized test known as Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is now a dead man walking…

By Tracy Dell’Angela

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