Blog

Disclaimer: This blog is a collection of opinions of various individuals. WAESN believe in the ability to hold multiple truths; therefore, some blog posts may not reflect the beliefs of WAESN as an organization. We also believe the political nature of education is nuanced and needs to be addressed as such. We believe the goal of Ethnic Studies is to dismantle oppressive systems which requires ongoing critique of education leaders, organizations, and institutions. This website and blog are funded by our 501(c)(4) organization and WAESN is not affiliated with any political party.

Jewishness and Ethnic Studies

Part 2: Zionism and “The Jewish Question” This blog post is a continuation of the dialogue between WAESN Executive Director, Tracy Castro-Gill, and Educator/Librarian, Jeff Treistman. The first installment tried to answer the question, “Are Jews white?” This installment explains Zionism and tries to answer the questions, “Are Jews indigenous to Israel?” and “What is ‘The Jewish Question’?” We enter into this dialogue because…

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Jewishness and Ethnic Studies

A conversation between WAESN Executive Director, Tracy Castro-Gill  and Educator/Librarian, Jeff Treistman My former colleague and current friend and co-conspirator, Jeff Treistman, and I sat down to discuss the tension between ethnic studies and Jewishness. What we produced is a lengthy dialogue about some of the largest points of contention. This is the first installment of three. Each installment will end with some reflection…

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Petition: Support RRHS BSU Students and Educators

What follows is a letter drafted by the River Ridge High School (RRHS) BSU outlining their current experiences and demands. It was sent to Superintendent Reykdal who has yet to respond as of March 3, 2022, the date of this publication. You can support the BSU by signing this petition, which will send a letter in support of their below demands to Superintendent Reykdal…

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Who Controls Education in Washington State? Part 2; This is not a “Culture War.”

Liberals and progressives who tell you this is a Culture War are co-opting and virtue signaling for their own personal gain. In part 2 of the series we’ll be looking at who controls education by controlling the narrative around anti-CRT movements. Some have tried to change the narrative by calling it a “Republican war on teachers,” but Republicans aren’t the only antagonists. In a…

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Columbo and Me…oh, and Just One More Thing!

Peter Falk as Lieutenant Columbo on the left, me in my thrift-sourced Columbo outfit on the right. By Alex Ng An Elder Millennial’s Journey to Ethnic Studies & Visual Arts, Part 3 This multipart journal is where I am documenting my thoughts as I embark on the journey of revising all of my classes from decent Visual Arts curriculum with some Ethnic Studies themes…

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A Statement from WAESN Executive Director

In response to the hit piece written by Luke Rosiak in the Daily Wire: I am unsurprised that my work and my personal life have come under attack by the likes of Luke Rosiak and Ben Shapiro. It is only evidence that the work I do and the life I live are important and full of good deeds. I thank them for the affirmation.…

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Ethnic Studies in K-5 with Concord International Elementary School

This post is a follow up to Puma Poetry Slam. WAESN’s Executive Director, Tracy Castro-Gill, sat down with 5 K-5 educators from Concord International Elementary School in Seattle, WA, to discuss what it takes to create culturally sustaining, liberatory spaces where students value their identities, cultures, and languages. You can find the transcript of this recording and a copy of the self-assessment rubric used…

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OSPI Exploitation – Erasure, Whitewashing, and Fakequity

A guest blog by Dr. Verónica N. Vélez As a facilitator of and contributor to the OSPI Ethnic Studies framework that was released in October 2021, I was shocked and deeply disappointed to receive the news that WAESN had been removed from the list of professional development providers for educators. As someone who was invited to co-facilitate OSPI’s Ethnic Studies Advisory Committee (ESAC) and…

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ACTION NEEDED: OSPI Retaliates Against WAESN

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) recently removed WAESN from a list of ethnic studies professional development (PD) resources published in their new ethnic studies framework. WAESN and several members of WAESN are cited as authors and contributors of this framework, yet when some fragile people filed complaints about the political nature of WAESN, OSPI listened and removed WAESN. Above is…

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Puma Poetry Slam – fruits of Ethnic Studies in elementary school

Concord International Elementary School (CIES) is situated in the South Park neighborhood of Seattle, WA. South Park is home to the largest group of Spanish speaking people in the city, which is one reason CIES was chosen as a dual language immersion school. Students have the opportunity to learn core subjects like math and literacy in Spanish. Over the summer, the entire staff of…

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Anonymous Survey Reveals Educator Despair, Poor District Communication

by Tracy Castro-Gill and Ari Robin McKenna On Tuesday Nov. 9, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) Human Resources Department (HR) sent an email to parents, and then 39 minutes later to educators — almost as an afterthought — announcing the unexpected closure of schools just three days later on November 12th, sending parents without work flexibility scrambling for childcare. The HR email author might have…

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Mathematics for Liberation; A voting guide

The following voting guide was created by students enrolled in a math course at Garfield High School in Seattle, Washington, taught by WAESN board director, Shraddha Shirude, called Mathematics for Liberation. The course syllabus defines the course as such: Mathematics for Liberation engages students in mathematical discourse and critical analysis. This course is designed to prepare students to actively engage in mathematical analysis whenlooking…

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SPS Makes Us All Hypocrites

By Jeff Treistman, School Librarian Starting this week Seattle Public Schools (SPS) will be subjecting the entire school district to painful, ritualized, and invalid high stakes testing. It will be the first of two sessions this year. The rationale for the Fall session is that we need to address “learning loss.” We have gone two years without any high stakes testing. The only people…

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Who Controls Education in Washington State? A critique of the EOGOAC

by the WAESN Legislative Committee WAESN recently adopted our 10-year Liberation Strategy which includes political advocacy as one of our main foci of work. As such, we’ve been working with various State electeds on legislation that can support K-12 ethnic studies. Increasingly, we’ve become aware of some major barriers to this work. One of them is the EOGOAC. It took us a while to…

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