Newsletter #169: The State of Hate

Happy Thursday, loyal readers! Today’s issue of The Highlighter promises a wide range of excellent articles on a variety of topics, including white nationalism, social tribalism, teachers of color, Honeycrisp apples, charter schools, and reading instruction. Challenge yourself to read all four articles and listen to both podcast episodes, totaling 2 ½ hours of learning and reflection. (Let me know if you complete the challenge.) Please enjoy!

November is New Subscriber Month! The goal this month is to encourage 100 great people to join The Highlighter. We’re up to 40 with two weeks to go. Spread the word and urge your friends and family to subscribe. You could win a coveted Highlighter Mug! (Sadly there was no winner this week; new subscribers chose to keep their referrers anonymous.) I appreciate your support.

The Threat of White Nationalism

The rise of white nationalism and the alt-right did not begin with the election of President Trump. This article follows the surge of white hate groups since 9/11, featuring our government’s ignorance of the threat and its decision to focus on Muslim extremism. By the time President Obama was elected, it was too little, too late. This piece by Janet Reitman, who wrote “All American Nazis” (#142), is brilliantly reported. (51 min)

+ Don’t have an hour to read the whole thing? Scroll down and learn how William Fears became a soldier of the alt-right. Stops on his journey: believing 9/11 was an inside job — and stabbing his girlfriend.

Another Dream Deferred

A leading skeptic and believer in rational thinkingMichael Shermer argues that identity politics and intersectionality have caused the rise of tribalism. Instead of acknowledging the gains that people of color have made, liberals have shunned Martin Luther King’s dream of a “brotherhood of man,” Mr. Shermer suggests. Today’s #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements work against MLK’s vision of a unifying humanity. (7 min)

+ I’d love to hear your thoughts on Mr. Shermer’s rhetoric and reasoning. If you disagree with his argument, where does he go wrong?

Why Teachers of Color Are Leaving Washington DC in Droves

Meet Alejandro Diasgranados and Quay Dorsey. They’re talented teachers at Aiton Elementary School in Washington DC, where test scores are low, poverty is high, and 44 percent of teachers quit every year. This is the story of how two Black male teachers band together, support each other, and build the highest-achieving students in the school. (No, there’s no happy ending.) (21 min)

The Curse of the Honeycrisp Apple

Long-time readers know I’m against juice and smoothies (too much sugar), but I’m a huge fan of the Honeycrisp (even better than the Fuji), despite its exorbitant prices. Imagine my dismay when I read this article, which exposes all the faults of the Honeycrisp, and leaves me wondering whether I should switch to the Braeburn. Question: Anyone heard of the Esopus Spitzenburg? (5 min)

Heroes or Villains? A Profile of Success Academy Charter Schools

Based in New York, Success Academy (#122) is the textbook version of the no-excuses charter schoolmodel. The path to excellence for poor Black and Brown kids, founder Eva Moskowitz believes, is through unremitting high expectations. Example: There’s no talking when eating your lunch. In this podcast episode, the first in a six-part series, meet Sherisse, who enrolls her son so he can gain access to opportunities she never had. (41 min)

The Highlighter Podcast: We’re Not Teaching Kids How to Read, with Education Reporter Emily Hanford

Wonder why American kids can’t read? It’s not because they’re incapable or unmotivated. According to education reporter Emily Hanford, producer of the radio documentary “Hard Words” (#162), the problem is that we’re not teaching young people how to read the right way. Loyal readers loved the piece, so I reached out to Ms. Hanford for a chat. What she had to say will get you thinking. (30 min)

+ Who knows: Maybe The Highlighter Podcast will make a comeback —maybe on a monthly basis?

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Also, let’s welcome this week’s 5 new subscribers: Al, Sonya, N., Katie, and Amanda. If you value The Highlighter, please:

I really appreciate your support. On the other hand, if you don’t find yourself opening up the newsletter regularly, please unsubscribe. I’ll see you back here next Thursday at 9:10 am. for a quick Thanksgiving edition. Have a great week!