The effect we have on the students in front of us is often unknown. We can make a difference and consequently change the world. The novice and the veteran teacher need to hear this. Although our role in the culture is often belittled, our influence in the classroom should never be underestimated.
The union has already criticized the validity of a single test for admission to gifted-and-talented programs and specialized high schools. I ask that our union take bold anti-racist leadership in favor of equitable enrichment programs for all students and for school integration.
In 2014, while my kindergarten students at PS 290 in Manhattan were doing research about tomatoes and other foods in our cafeteria, they learned about pesticides. They did role-plays where farmworkers or gardeners were coughing and rubbing the rashes caused by the (pretend) pesticides sprayed on the tomatoes.