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.

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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WAESN Youth Art Contest

In the spring of 2021, WAESN held a youth art contest. Winners were chosen by our Board of Directors, Youth Advisory Board, and the authors of our visual arts curriculum framework. Below are the winners and a runner up. This was one of the most fun things I’ve done as the Executive Director of WAESN. Maybe we’ll make it an annual event! Winner of…

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An Elder Millennial’s Journey to Ethnic Studies and Visual Arts, Part 2.5

By Alex Ng 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 and content integrated throughout, to true Ethnic Studies Visual Arts at all levels: curriculum, pedagogy, and classroom culture. Part 2.5 is an interlude, focused on teacher preparation and my…

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We Pause to Remember the Refugees of Wars This Memorial Day Weekend

Below is a message from Friendly Vang-Johnson, founder of Friendly Hmong Farms, a CSA created during COVID to support Hmong flower farmers whose businesses were shuttered during quarantine. There will be no flowers this week / weekend as we take time as a nation to reflect and honor the sacrifices of fallen American soldiers. Some of us will celebrate in the “traditional” way with…

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Petition: Address Racism and White Supremacy in North Thurston Public Schools

EDIT: Success! At the request of the authors of the petition, the petition has been temporarily suspended while they work with the North Thurston School Board, who has responded to all of you who signed the petition! Many thanks for elevating this issue and being catalysts for change! If you would like to send your own email, please visit the North Thurston School District…

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Your Gaze Doesn’t Define Me – The Identities of Mixed-Race People

I decided to write this blog post because I recently came under attack with accusations of being a “racial imposter,” using my “proximity to Brownness” for personal gain. While I can easily dismiss this accusation from someone who doesn’t know me or my work, the accusation has dredged up a lot of the trauma I’ve experienced around navigating a mixed-race identity; never being enough…

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