A call to educate ourselves on racial injustice in schools (and how school privatization feeds into it)
The following is a guest post from Dakota Hudelson, a 7th grade writing teacher and secretary of the Columbus Educators Association. It is the third in a weekly challenge he is issuing to fellow educators and those who care about public schools.
Red for Ed Challenge
Your challenge this week is another two-part challenge. Part one is to donate $5 to the NAACP. Part two is to educate yourself on racial injustice in education.
Part 1: Donate $5 to the NAACP
Did you know that the NAACP has stood strong for public education, even when it hasn’t always been popular?
In 2016, the NAACP called for a nationwide moratorium on new charter schools. In 2014, they came out publicly opposing any attempt to privatize public education or publicly fund for-profit or charter schools.
Their decision to do this shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. The negative effects of charter schools and vouchers on racial justice in education have been well-documented (we’ll get to that in part two). Please show your support for the NAACP and its mission by sending them just $5 this week.
Part 2: Educate yourself
(Take your time—there are a lot of articles and studies here!)
1. The first school voucher program in America was a naked attempt to circumvent court orders to integrate schools. In Prince Edward County, VA, following court orders to end segregation handed down by SCOTUS in Brown v. Board of Education, Prince Edward County chose to close all of its public schools rather than integrate them. They then provided school vouchers to students that would allow them to attend private schools, thus creating the first school voucher program in the United States. Private schools were under no obligation to admit students of color or integrate, and indeed, they did not, so the white, affluent students were able to secure an education with public funding while students of color were not. Read more:
2. There’s substantial evidence that as charter schools have spread, racial segregation in schools has worsened. Please read these articles; you’ll see many harrowing facts about how charter schools have led to worsening school segregation, and students of color are once again getting the short end of the stick:
3. Do you know the racist and classist history of the SATs and other standardized tests? As educators, we know that testing students to death isn’t the right thing to do, but it’s even worse for our students of color:
4. I know many educators love their school resource officer. However, are you sure that an SRO program in your school district isn’t being used to disproportionately harm students of color and strengthen the school-to-prison pipeline? I understand that this can be a sensitive topic, and it’s hard to believe that your friendly SRO might be contributing to the underachievement and unnecessary criminalization of students of color, but the facts are clear. Some important studies to consider are:
5. Lastly, let’s end with some Indiana-specific studies as they pertain to racial in/justice in education:
I know that reading all of this can be overwhelming. Your first thought might be, “what in the world can I even do?” Well, believe it or not, educators and their unions are perfectly poised to exert major influence and begin to dismantle racism and white supremacy in education. If you’re ready to take your advocacy for students of color and racial justice in education to the next level, donate that $5 to the NAACP, then look here for more ideas.
Awesome! THANK you!