Education columnist Jay Mathews of The Washington Post recently published, "How to teach about race: One way is to have kids talk to each other in class." Mathew discusses how children learn more about race by talking with their peers and by teaching each other.
When I began reporting on schools a few decades ago, the only thing I didn’t like about the job was school board meetings. They were boring. They put me to sleep.
That has changed lately. Parents, teachers and other community members are coming to meetings to yell about who is a racist and who isn’t.
That doesn’t appear to be helping our schools. Racism, however we define it, is still a worthy topic in class. But a university professor who has been working to encourage that discussion tells me our children are not learning much from the way we are doing it.
Melanie Killen is a psychologist in the University of Maryland College of Education. With her team she has developed a Web-based and teacher-led program designed to promote intergroup friendships and reduce prejudice and bias. Hers is just one of many unsung efforts to teach this topic, but it helped me with my thinking.