Debra
Solomon Baker


A graduate of University of Michigan and Harvard Graduate School of Education, Debra Solomon Baker has been a middle school Language Arts educator for more than a decade.  She has presented at national education conferences, most recently on the integration of technology in the English classroom. Baker blogs about her experiences as a teacher and as a parent at http://msbaker.edublogs.org/.

Articles by Debra

After the Silence, We Need Strong Voices

Scattered across the cinderblocks of our middle school walls are some new faces, photographs of kids who have been silenced. Lee Simpson on Oct. 10, 2008. Scotty Weaver on July 22, 2004. Lawrence King on Feb. 12, 2008. Carl Walker-Hoover on April 9, 2009. All silent. They are dead.

For Tomorrow

The opening scene of the 2004 film Yesterday shows a mother (named Yesterday) and her daughter Beauty, walking down a deserted South African road. The daughter, maybe 5 years old, is describing her desire to transform into a bird. Why? She wants to float over to their destination, relieving her little legs of the agony of this miles-long trek.The finish line is a health clinic in a ramshackle hut. You see, Yesterday has developed this wretched, knock-you-over cough. But the line is lengthy, so they wait and wait until it’s announced that everyone else must return next Tuesday. Next Tuesday? A once-a-week doctor? Yes.

After the Screaming Stops

Shrinking there on the stool in the science classroom, I just want to gather my ungraded quizzes and my dignity and flee to freedom. But, I don’t. I sit there, paralyzed by the assault. “We are not your enemies,” I finally counter. “We are not Blake’s enemies.”

Book Club Inspires a Rich Conversation

My third-grade daughter has no idea what it’s like to have a brother with autism. Neither do I. So we are lounging on this Sunday afternoon in February, munching on Teddy Grahams, attempting to understand Catherine’s life. Catherine, 12, is David’s sister and his teacher; David has autism. Mostly, Catherine teaches her brother about life’s rules, over and over again. He forgets. She reminds him.

Knowing When to Advocate for a Student

Today, I got a laptop. Not for me. For Aeesha. Let me flash back to about six weeks ago. A team meeting took place around a table in the science classroom, completing the annual discussion about Aeesha’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). In eighth grade, Aeesha still struggles with basic mathematics, with written expression skills and with decoding text. In many ways, she is an elementary school student trapped in a middle school student’s adolescent body.
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Abolitionists William Still, Sojourner Truth, William Loyd Garrison, unidentified male and female slaves, and Black Union soldiers in front of American flag

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