We’re back! Kicking off season 6 with a webinar hosted by The Black Educators Initiative (BEI), and a chance to share a bit of our thinking about why we do the work we do at Integrated Schools.

BEI, as a project of Urban Teachers, is working to grow the Black teaching corps. When executive director, Dr. Robert Simmons, invited us to participate in their speaker series, we were honored, and slightly terrified. Thinking about presenting the work we do to the BEI audience pushed us to stop and consider our focus at Integrated Schools, and why we do the work we do. Between the pandemic and losing our founder a year ago, it was a much needed pause to take the 30,000 ft view of our work and how we view it fitting in to the broader movement for educational justice.

A framing that we have been thinking about, internally, is Third Wave School Desegregation. The idea that we have tried desegregation in the past, and, while it has had benefits, it has also had real costs. In order to move towards a true, multiracial demorcracy, we believe we need something new, something that hasn’t been tried before, and something that pushes us towards real integration.

We’re thrilled to be joined by Karla and Rachel from IntegrateNYC for this panel, as their 5Rs of Real Integration provide a powerful framework for thinking about real integration.

We’re including lots of links in an attempt to give credit to the origin of much of the ideas shared, but special thanks as well to the entire Integrated Schools team for helping to think through this question.

And of course, don’t forget to register for our next Book Club!

LINKS:

Remember, any book bought through a link here or by starting at our affiliate page on IndieBound supports local bookstores, and Integrated Schools. 

Join our Patreon to support this work, and connect with us and other listeners to discuss these issues even further.

Let us know what you think of this episode, suggest future topics, or share your story with us – @integratedschls on twitter, IntegratedSchoolson Facebook, or email us [email protected].

The Integrated Schools Podcast was created by Courtney Mykytyn and Andrew Lefkowits.

This episode was produced, edited, and mixed by Andrew Lefkowits.

Music by Kevin Casey.

 

Transcript

Andrew: Welcome to the Integrated Schools podcast. I'm Andrew, a White dad from Denver, and this is "Third Wave School Desegregation: A Call for Real Integration". We're kicking off season six and I am so glad to be back and so grateful to all of you for listening. It's 2021, a new year, a new season. And while we are clearly still in a dark period in our country, I for one am letting myself feel just a bit of hope that there may be some light at the end of the tunnel. 

We have some great conversations planned for this season, from youth theater to school integration in Nashville, to the dreaded middle school years. But I'm excited to kick things off with this conversation about an idea that we've been kicking around internally at Integrated Schools for a while, but hadn't taken public until recently. And that is third wave school desegregation. 

You know, we often speak about the difference between desegregation and integration and this concept of third wave desegregation tries to put what we're talking about in some historical context. 

Back in December, we were honored to be invited to participate in a webinar put on by the Black Educators Initiative. BEI is a program within the nonprofit Urban Teachers that is working to add Black teachers to our public school system. Dr. Robert Simmons is the Executive Director of the program and a Professor of Education at American University. When he reached out and invited us to participate in their speaker series, we were honored and a bit terrified. 

But it made us spend some time really thinking about our "Why" as an organization and this framing of a call for a third wave school desegregation felt like it captured something of this moment for us. So we're gonna play an edit of that webinar today. Anna, who you'll remember from past episodes, joined me to represent Integrated Schools. 

And you may also recognize Karla Narvaez, who's a student organizer with IntegrateNYC. She and Jedidah joined us for our episode last year on IntegrateNYC. And for the webinar, Karla was joined by Rachel Norman, who's the Adult Program Director.

We've mentioned their Five Rs of Real Integration before on this podcast and we were thrilled to have them join us for the webinar because their framing of what real integration looks like is a really powerful guide for us as we think about what third wave desegregation means. So, let's hear it.  

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Dr. Robert Simmons: Good evening to everyone. My name is Robert Simmons. I'm a Senior Professorial Lecturer of Education, Leadership and Policy at American University. But also I'm honored to work with Alexis Snow, Allexis Aranda, Alicia Vooris, as the Executive Director of the Black Educators Initiative. I have to name and hold space for my colleagues because without them, I am not here.  And without them, this work does not happen. So, definitely want to give a shout out as well to the entire Urban Teachers staff. 

I'm just excited to listen to the conversation. I'm even more excited to see young people engage in this conversation and I really think that supporting the next generation of revolutionaries and abolitionists in education is really important. So shout out to Rachel and her folks and shout out to, to the big homie, Andrew and Anna. Because I listen to the podcast and I just, I just find great comfort in hearing the words, the insights, and just the story of how you've landed here.

Andrew: Thank you, Dr. Simmons. Really deeply grateful for this opportunity. We find your work and Alexis, the work of BEI to be so important and inspirational.

My name is Andrew, I'm the host of the Integrated Schools Podcast. I'm also part of the leadership team at Integrated Schools, he/him pronouns. I live in Denver, Colorado, the stolen land of at varying times the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Ute, and Sioux people. I’m really thrilled to be joined by these other amazing panelists.

Rachel, do you want to start? 

Rachel Norman: Hi, I'm actually gonna pass it to Karla. We are a youth-led organization and we believe in centering youth and putting them first and structurally Karla is my boss. So I think it's only appropriate that she introduce herself first.

Karla: Hello everyone. My name is Karla Narvaez. I'm a High School Executive Director at IntegrateNYC. I go by she/her/hers and I'm actually a junior in high school. 

Rachel Norman: Thanks, Karla. Hi everyone. Rachel Norman, she/her/hers are my preferred pronouns and I am the Adult Program Director at IntegrateNYC.

I am a Los Angeles native. West Coast, best coast all day, every day. And I moved out here to New York City to pursue my Masters in Ed Policy from Teachers College and stumbled upon IntegrateNYC in which youth were co-constructing these innovative solutions to complex social issues and got heavily involved.

And now I get to work alongside amazing youth like Karla and the rest of our leadership team. So happy to be here and I will pass it to Anna, my fellow West Coast girl.

Anna: Hi everyone. My name is Anna Lodder, my pronouns are she/her/hers. I currently reside on the Tongva land, otherwise currently known as Los Angeles. And I am on the leadership team at Integrated Schools. 

Andrew: Thank you, everyone. We'll get a chance to get in a little more to kind of the specific work that both of our organizations do as we get further in here, but I sorta wanted to just start out just by stepping back a bit and talking about our Why. Like, why do we do this work? What is the ultimate goal?

I know that personally I bring a certain degree of skepticism to other White folks engaged in social justice work, so I don't blame anyone out there for, for coming into this with a degree of skepticism about Integrated Schools as an organization. I honestly remain skeptical of myself and our organization. I think that, you know, White supremacy is the water that we all swim in. We have to be constantly vigilant. 

School integration is a tricky topic. There are so many caveats that need to be said and so much nuance that's really hard to boil down into simple slogans. So starting with what we feel like, at Integrated Schools, we're working on and why we feel like that's an important part of the process, but only one small part of the work that really needs to be done.

And so what is that ultimate goal? For, for us, the goal is truly to be part of creating a multiracial democracy. To be part of creating a country that lives up to the words of our founding ideals, even while we recognize that the original intent behind those words was deliberately exclusionary. A world that Dr. David Kirkland says, ”No one has to fear being on the margins for no one is marginalized.” A world that we have not yet created, but that we believe we can and must create. 

At Integrated Schools, we, we realize that the ways in which White supremacy afflicts our country are many. They have been created over 400 years. The project of White supremacy, and it was an intentional, well-coordinated project, has left us in a deep hole and it will take us a long time to dig out. There were many generations required to get us here. And, and that work will only be undone through many generations pushing back.

And so that's why our focus is on the schools, is on students, is on as Dr. Simmons says, the next generation of conspirators of activists, of revolutionaries. We believe in the words of Thurgood Marshall, 1974 dissent in the Milliken v. Bradley case: “Unless our children can learn together, there's little hope our people will learn to live together and understand each other.”

And while those are lofty words, they're powerful. Much like the founding documents of our nation, we know that those words have often been used to cover over the harm that has been done to the most marginalized in our society. For we believe that it's true that our children need to learn together, we also know that how that happens really matters and how we've attempted to learn together in the past has not actually gotten us to a place where we can live together and understand each other.

And at Integrated Schools, we believe that part of the problem is that when it comes to schools, what we have focused on is desegregation - is the movement of bodies - is the demographics of schools- and not on integration - the forming of community, the creation of new forms of shared power, the focus on shared humanity.

So with that framework in mind, we'd like to talk just a bit about the past attempts at desegregation, at learning together, to see with clear eyes the ways that they've been both beneficial in moving us towards a multiracial democracy, but also where they’ve fallen short in the hopes that we can maybe identify what a better way might look like.

So to start with a bit of history, I have to do a bit of a caveat here. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Music. I am in no way an educational expert or researcher. I have been very fortunate to have had many incredible thinkers come on our podcast and push my thinking, to have been exposed to a number of great books, so I will do my best to give credit where credit is due.  

The other caveat is that this sort of framing of third wave school desegregation is relatively new for us at Integrated Schools. As an organization we're really deeply committed to constantly growing, to learning, to evolving. So we really want you to think of this as a draft. Let us know what you think. I'm sure that we are missing important pieces of this puzzle. Tell us what we're missing, what doesn't make sense, where are we just plain wrong. We, we welcome that feedback. 

So with that out of the way, a bit of history of school desegregation, at least as we see it. 

First wave school desegregation is court-ordered school desegregation. So in the '40s and '50s, you've got the work of important civil rights activists, Charles Hamilton Houston, Thurgood Marshall, the NAACP and others, who finally convinced the Supreme Court to say in 1954 that separate is inherently unequal.

Now, prior to 1954, there were Black schools, right? Many of those Black schools were actually thriving against all odds and we have to think about what, what was the hope in, in getting this Supreme Court victory, right? I refer to Dr. Vanessa Siddle Walker's framing, the educational activists at the time were looking for the three As.

They wanted desegregation to be additive. So take all the expertise that they had in Black schools and combine it with the resources that were found in White schools. 

They wanted advocacy, right? So they wanted to create political and social capital through the schools in order to counter the oppressive systems that their students were going to find out in society.

And then third, the third A, they wanted access, access to the larger K-12 higher ed infrastructure in the country.

We're incredibly fortunate at Integrated Schools to have Dr. Noliwe Rooks on our Advisory Board. And she tells the stories of educators who wanted to start the desegregation process with the teachers. Take the Black teachers, take the White teachers, mix them up, let them learn from each other, make sure the Black teachers were actually getting paid what the White teachers were getting paid. And then once they had a chance to work through some of the challenges, desegregate the kids. 

Of course those visions for desegregation are not what anyone got, right? Instead we got Massive Resistance. We got entire school districts closing to avoid having to educate Black kids. And we lost an entire generation of Black teachers and much of their expertise. We got what Horace Tate called "a second class integration". And it led to Martin Luther King saying that he feared he was integrating his people into a burning house. 

There were clear downsides to Brown. We don't often talk about Brown as having downsides, but there was clear harm done.

Now, despite all that, I did say clear eyes right, despite all that harm, we can't ignore the good that also came out of the Brown decision. Dr. Rucker Johnson's work clearly shows that the power of desegregation to redistribute educational resources was immense. His work shows that in the wake of Brown students, he refers to it as being treated with the medicine of desegregation, that those students saw massive benefits: college graduation rates rose, lifetime earnings increased, life expectancy and health outcomes went up.

And these benefits were passed down to those students' children, and their children's children, what Dr. Johnson calls the grandchildren of Brown. And all of this was achieved without bringing down the test scores of White kids and also actually resulted in White kids being more civically engaged and harboring less implicit bias. 

So this was not the desegregation fought for by civil rights leaders at the time, but it did have benefits. And I think the challenges with it boiled down to at least two things, in my mind. 

One is the way that it was implemented. And the way that it was implemented was predicated on the idea that there was nothing of value in Black schools or Black teachers. The second issue was the mechanism to achieve it was through the federal government attempting, you know, with varying degrees of seriousness, to hold back the tide of White resistance. And the federal government is fickle, right? By the time the Reagan administration comes in, the government has basically entirely let its guard down, the dam breaks, and Whiteness like water finds its level, working to reshape the schools to our liking, right? Which as it turns out, is segregated with all the resources reserved for our White kids. 

And this is how we find ourselves now, you know, sixty years later, with schools nearly as segregated as they were and a funding gap that EdBuild pointed out just last year of $23 billion between districts serving largely White kids and districts serving largely students of color. Whiteness always finds a way. That's first wave school desegregation. 

Second wave school desegregation is what we like to refer to as, Entice the White folks. So this usually plays out in one of two ways. The first is the, like, curated diversity model that Nikole Hannah-Jones and others speak of. The idea that we White folks will allow a small handful of Black or Brown kids into our quote unquote good schools.

We want diversity for our kids and we'll let you have access to our highly resourced schools, as long as you don't cause trouble, right? You gotta make sure you act like our White kids. You definitely can't bring too many of your friends with you. Chase Billingham, Matthew Hunt have work that shows that somewhere around 30% Black kids is the point at which we White folks decide that the school is no longer quote unquote good. Even if all other things about the school stay the same.

The other way second wave desegregation shows up is by trying to entice White folks back to the city. So much of our current educational system is built out of fear of White flight. So we invest in things that will lure the White folks back, right? The magnet school with the brand new STEM lab, the gifted and talented program that allows your kid to go to a diverse school but only take classes with other White kids, the performing arts school, or the Mandarin immersion program, whatever it takes to entice the White folks. 

Now again, clear eyes, right? Like, second wave school desegregation has had benefits. A new STEM lab in an under-resourced school can provide access to kids who wouldn't have had it. A program like METCO in Boston that buses kids out of Boston to the surrounding suburban school districts has changed lives, right? There, there are alumni from that program who will tell you that their life trajectory is totally different from having access to that program. And now they also have alumni who will tell you that the cost to their souls, the cost to them from trying to assimilate into those situations was immense. There was good and there was bad. 

But once again, with second wave school desegregation, we see an approach that equates good schools with White schools, and that only asks White parents to get what's best for our kids. And Whiteness still finds a way to make the policies bend to our will. 

So increasingly we aren't learning together and we continue to struggle to live together. And that's why we believe we are really in need of a third wave of school desegregation. And this time we think it has to move towards real integration. 

And that's why I'm so grateful that Karla and Rachel have joined us, because IntegrateNYC has come up with a framework that we at Integrated Schools think really encapsulates what a third wave of school desegregation might look like. And so I'd like to turn it over to Karla and Rachel now to tell us a bit about that work, about what that vision looks like.

Karla:  So the problem, Andrew touched upon it a little bit, but basically the problem is that in the most diverse city, in, in the country, which is New York City, 1.1 million students go to some of the most segregated and unequal public schools in the nation.

And so IntegrateNYC has come up with a solution and a response, which is to bring together young people from segregated schools to design and advocate for a system that honors the dignity of every student. 

Rachel Norman: So, like I mentioned earlier, IntegrateNYC is a youth-led organization and a youth-led movement, right? And so this big movement was born out of a classroom in the South Bronx by our founder, Sarah Medina Camiscoli. She was an ESL educator in 2014 and her students were asking her like, Yo, why are we in the ESL classes? Our English is perfect. Why can't we take classes with our peers? What's up? And they began asking questions and digging deep and interrogating the policies and the structures that led to them being segregated by language. 

So they started asking questions about how race and class was showing up in their educational experiences. So there was an exchange program between students in the South Bronx and predominantly White students in Manhattan and Brooklyn. And they went to each other's high schools and observed how some high schools in Manhattan had more resources. Everybody had a computer lab, that was an insane concept to them, right? Whereas students in the South Bronx, they had better relationships with each other. They were actually learning about their heritage, learning about different communities.

And so they started identifying gaps in each other's educational experiences and started identifying the ways that it was connected to systemic policies. And so even though they were recognizing, Oh our experiences are different, they realized that there were still too many similarities. They needed more voices. They need to understand more students, students that were pushed out, who were made to be invisible, right? And so they started hosting what we call our Youth Councils. 

They came together and that's how the Five RS were born. They started mapping out the different issues that they identified in their school and generating some solutions. And Karla is gonna get us going on our first R, race and enrollment.

Karla: Yes. One of our Rs is race and enrollment. We want to racially integrate our schools through admissions processes that prioritize diversity by race, class, ability, and home language. We want to learn together and we know that we can not succeed in isolation.

And this kind of has to do with like, who's coming into our schools. What do those numbers look like? So in 2019, only seven Black students were admitted to one of our specialized high schools, which is not a rational number when you think of the amount of kids in specialized high schools, it usually varies. It usually goes thousands of kids. So the fact that there were seven Black students admitted to that high school shows that when it came to race and enrollment, they were lacking in the diversity. 

Our next R is resources. And we want to resource our schools through fair distribution and monitoring of resources and opportunities. So we want to be given the tools to unlock our power because we know that we can achieve all with support. 

So, a little fact is that there are 17,000 Black and Brown students who have no access to sports teams. So, Rachel talked about this a little bit before, but resources can mean computer labs, resources can mean text books, resources can mean sports teams, things like that.

And I'll pass it over to Rachel to talk a little bit more about the third R, relationships. 

Rachel Norman: All right. Relationships teach us our stories. We want a safe space for all to be. This is really interrogating the way that we learn to be in community with one another, right, and the way we coexist or the ways, in fact, we don't co-exist because we don't know enough about each other. We don't honor, recognize, celebrate history, heritage culture, right? We don't understand the different experiences that shaped the perspectives that we're all navigating and finding ourselves in constant tension within.

And so relationships is asking us to look at, What are students learning? Does it empower them? Does it reflect their experiences and their reality? And so the, the demand that came out of this relationships is culturally responsive education, right? We want to see ourselves in the textbooks, teach us our story. 

Karla: Yeah. So our restorative justice R, um, we want to restore through appropriate responses to conflict and justice that interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline, right? So care for us like growing kids because we are not criminals. 

Um, it's a known fact that Black and Latinx students are three times more likely to walk through a metal detector than White students. And Black students are 5.5 times more likely to be suspended than their White peers.

So we're talking about when it comes to conflict, how are we handling that conflict and making sure that Black and Brown students aren't being criminalized? 

Rachel Norman: And I will say that we as an organization were actually stretching our growing edge when it comes to this R, and we've been just interrogating that shift from restorative justice to transformative justice. So as we are navigating that as an organization, you all might see a newer iteration of this R in the near future. 

And then last but not least, we have representation, right? This is a little tied to what I was sharing earlier about relationships and honoring, celebrating history, identity, culture, and experiences, right? Representation is asking, Show us our communities at the front of the classroom. We all have the power to lead, right? 

What a beautiful experience it is to be affirmed by seeing leadership in the front of the classroom that looks like you. That looks like your auntie, that looks like your cousin. That looks like your neighbor down the block, right? You want to see your community in those influential positions, like teaching, right? Like, I think teaching is the most important profession in the world. Is that to have LGBTQ identifying folks, having folks with disabilities in front of the classroom, like that is true integration. And it’s showing youth their identities can be affirmed and powerful and in leadership positions. 

And so these five Rs emerged and developed over the years. Our unprecedented work will and must continue until the promise of an integrated and equitable education is a reality in our schools and our communities. 

At this moment, we can turn it over to Anna. 

Anna: Thank you so much, Rachel. And thank you, Karla.

I, my heart's pounding, partially because I, I'm always nervous when I get to speak in front of people and with people that I really respect and look up to. And IntegrateNYC gives me faith, and youth leaders like Karla, and leaders like Rachel, give me faith that we’re like slowly bending towards justice.

And so I'm grateful, and Andrew you're all right too. I'm just going to wrap things up here  and sort of run through where Integrated Schools as a movement find ourselves in this idea of third wave desegregation.

First and second wave desegregation failed, you know, because it didn't confront anti-Black racism. It didn't confront White supremacy culture and it didn't demand White and/or privileged parents contribute anything at all to building a multiracial democracy.

And so for all of these policy levers, in first and second wave desegregation, that got pushed and pulled, there were White parents on the other side, pushing back against them.

Policy was focused on mechanisms, which is important and vital and necessary. But the mindsets of White parents pushed back against them just as hard and so at Integrated Schools, we are focused on the mindset piece.   

We see our role as parents with racial and/or economic privilege as one part of a proposed solution, as one part of third wave desegregation, as one part of a movement towards real integration. So there's a lot of other parts that are necessary. 

What we focus on is talking to parents and caregivers and pushing us to show up differently than we have in the past. And that's complex and deep and nuanced. And there's so much content and there's so much involved in that. Things like unpacking our own biases, doing our own work, looking at our intentions, our actions, and trying to show up in community in ways that cause less harm. Our shorthand that we use is, We show up, we shut up, and we stay put.  

We believe that carrying this message and growing this movement is really necessary work because of that huge behemoth effort that White people have put into enforcing and reinforcing segregation and marginalization. Past policies to end school segregation, like I said, it's thwarted by White families, even when the burden of these efforts were falling on marginalized communities. And since White parents have been historically and are currently some of the key barriers to the advancement of meaningful integration and of educational equity, we feel like it's going to take us talking to our White and privileged people about the simplicity of seeing our shared humanity and making conscious decisions with meaningful actions to participate in a solution.

And so we're about behavior change, right? We want families to prioritize equity as we integrate our families into schools where White and/or privileged students are not in the majority, they are in the minority. This is where we show up and we feel like this is an important piece. And it is not because White and/or privileged kids are magical learning unicorns for their classmates and it's not because our families are saviors sent in to fix the school. 

This is about societal generational shifting, that all kids are negatively impacted by segregation and our actions as parents and caregivers, with the ability to be mobile in that way, we can either challenge segregation or we can reinforce it. And it's not just about the schools we choose. It's also about the schools we don't choose, right? By, by rejecting the system where school choice just hoards privilege and opportunity for White and/or privileged kids.

But this part's really important and I want to say it especially here and underscore it: we are not advocating for the interference in intentionally Black spaces because we know that those serve a very specific need. And we honor that.

So we call our cohort of parents and caregivers into this practice of anti-racist school integration. You know, we encourage integrating parents to practice what we call followership and not leadership. Listening to families when they enter communities that are already in existence about the needs in the schools and the children that already attend them, working to be in community and for community. Rather than trying to get these schools to conform to our ideas of what quote unquote makes a good school. 

We are also talking to our own kids as they navigate these spaces, as they join a community. And we show up with them as parents, acknowledging that we need to just take up the space that we actually need and not more than that. ‘Cause we know that White and/or privileged parents are often, like, really expert at sucking up all the resources. So we are working intentionally every day to, you know, decenter Whiteness, decenter that White-normed behavior. Again, like showing up, causing less harm. And so that's our shutting up part.

A side part of this is that as we're doing this, we also want parents with racial and economic privilege who are in our movement to change the conversation at the playground level about what we call good schools and bad schools. The language we use when discussing school quality really often serves to mask conversations about race. And when we're empowered by this belief that integration, real integration, is not actually a sacrifice for our own kids, but rather an investment of the future of all the kids in our community and an investment in the world we want for our kids, this is the staying put part. In having these conversations and pushing back against those narratives.  

So one last thing I want to say is, like, we really recognize the inherent tension that is being a group of predominantly White and/or privileged people discussing integration. And you know, Andrew mentioned the skepticism that we definitely understand. And we also feel like this is a vital place for us to reshape our thoughts and actions. 

And we do understand that White folks specifically have a very specific job in our work, but that all parents and caregivers who identify as having racial or economic or educational privileges are welcome in this work with us. 

We are so incredibly fortunate to be led by an advisory board that is predominantly Black and Indigenous and people of color and we are also accountable to some amazing Black and Latinx advisors and they are compensated for the incredible time they share with us in helping to guide us. 

You know, we've not arrived. There's no merit badge here. We still reshape our thinking. We were founded in 2015 by a woman named Courtney Everts Mykytyn who was tragically killed at the end of last year.

And, you know, she once said, Look, if we don't look back on the things we are saying and thinking in a year or two and cringe a little bit, like, we're not growing. 

So we invite this moment to be one where we're willing to grow. We're willing to push our thinking on things. We show up, we shut up, and we stay put. And then we work on that sharing of the shifted heart with other White and/or privileged people. We are parents and caregivers and we're raising human beings who will be the next owners of this earth. And they will be the next police officers, they will be the next lawmakers, they will be the next teachers. They will be parents and caregivers themselves, and they need to live not just for themselves, but for their communities.

And what we hope is that by showing up in this way, we're moving that needle closer to a true multiracial democracy. 

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Andrew: First of all, many, many thanks to Dr. Simmons, Alexis Snow, and the entire BEI team for inviting us on, for giving us the opportunity to share. It was really an honor. Since that webinar, we are thrilled to announce that Dr. Simmons has agreed to join our advisory board at Integrated Schools and his expertise and wisdom will help shape the future of our organization. 

And of course, many thanks to Karla and Rachel from IntegrateNYC. You know, their work continues to not only move the needle towards justice in New York City, but also really transform the national conversation about school integration in a really important way. 

It’s always great to have Anna on the podcast. She’s such an important part of the leadership team at Integrated Schools and constantly pushing our thinking on topics like this.

As Anna mentioned in her section, our founder, my former co-host Courtney, believed that we need to be constantly growing, constantly learning, and constantly trying to do better. But that we can't let the things we don't yet know paralyze us. There's too much work to be done. So while this episode is probably a bit more heavily focused on us as an organization and definitely featured more of me monologuing than usual, we thought it was a good place to start the season. Because it captures a lot of where we are as an organization in this moment, starting out a new year, uncertain about the future, but deeply committed to being part of building a true multiracial democracy. 

We'd love to hear what you think about this idea of third wave school desegregation, about what you want to hear in season six, about how you're thinking about school integration in 2021. Send us an email, [email protected], or find us on social media @IntegratedSchools on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. 

Or join our Patreon. You can support this work and engage further with other listeners. We've got our monthly podcast happy hours, facilitation questions, transcripts, message boards, and we are launching a quarterly podcast discussion club. So head over to patreon.com/integratedschools and join us. You'll be supporting this work, helping us keep the show ad free. 

I mentioned Dr. Rucker Johnson and his work and his book, Children of the Dream, is actually our book club selection for this quarter. If you've never participated in an Integrated Schools book club, it's an awesome opportunity to dig into a book, build some community with like-minded folks from around the country. It's free, we keep the groups really small, there's great facilitation, and always good conversation. You can find a link to register in the show notes. 

It was definitely nice to take a break for a bit, but I'm very glad to be back and so grateful to each and every one of you for listening, for sharing this podcast, but mostly I'm grateful to be in this with you, as I try to know better and do better. See you next time.