So often I use this space to write about problems I see in the criminal justice system and the world at large that it can get to feel like maybe I am being a bit of a downer. So when I saw this bit of news that was not widely reported, I decided I wanted to highlight it here.
2019’s National Teacher of the Year was announced at the end of April and the recipient is an awesome and deserving one.
Rodney Robinson teaches civics to students in juvenile detention in Virginia. He is an inspirational choice for the award. Robinson, a black man, cites part of his inspiration for becoming a teacher as the lack of teacher’s who looked like him growing up and the impact of those who did.
With his newfound notoriety, Robinson has stated he will focus on “economic and cultural equity” in education, fighting for sufficient resources for students of all economic backgrounds and seeking opportunities for minority students to see teachers who look like them.
In his social studies classes, Robinson focuses on subjects directly relevant to his unique student body. He teaches his kids about the historical roots of the United States prison system, the ongoing effect to segregation, and the importance of voting rights. He does so because he hopes to teach his students the importance of pushing for social change and the importance of history in that push.
Mr. Robinson will be honored in a visit to the White House soon; hopefully he can teach our President a thing or two.
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