The Project Change new year got off to a strong start with two trainings conducted by John Landesman and staff at Study Circles, where two of our members are serving. Study Circles has been a Project Change partner almost from the beginning, and it is a special part of our year long training program. We have our members go through a mini-version of what so many School Principals and Staff have found so transformative. Here is how the MCPS annual report explains the issue:
“The gap in performance among racial subgroups persists and, in some cases, has grown… There is a sense of urgency to closing the gap and that urgency becomes even greater as MCPS becomes a more diverse school district.”
Stage One is a lot of fun mostly, building the trust through games and story sharing. The life line exercise is always so powerful, where each person is asked to share one event or moment in their lives that changed who they were, or how they saw the world. It never fails to amaze me that people forget that we all have to live in the same century, and the same decade, and that events like 9-11 or the wars in Iraq or Hurricane Katrina effect us all, one way or another. When an event effects many, it effects all.
Stage Two, for homework , we are asked to share any articles we have read that talk about racism. Some members brought up news items on anti-Muslim sentiments in some parts of the nation, and others have shared about the Black Lives Matter movement. These are conversations that are never easy, but when it comes to the effects of institutional racism on our education system, the cost of remaining silent or on the sidelines is too great.
So this week, we are eager to have those critical conversations about race, and learn how others have experienced it as privilege or disadvantage.
Thank you John and Study Circles.