In Support of the Movement for Black Lives and a Racially Just Education System
The murder of George Floyd has yet again exposed how black people continue to be seen as less than fully human in the dominant culture and institutions of this country—400 years and counting. The heroic protests in the midst of a life-threatening pandemic call us all to redouble our fight for racial justice not only in our words but in our actions to change the very foundations of our society. We have no choice in this unsettling, uncertain time when we can imagine possible futures of hopeful progress, little change, or greater oppression.
The Partnership for the Future of Learning remains devoted to deepening and intensifying our shared commitment to racial justice. The Partnership committed early on to the realization that public education could not be renovated with schools that were just, centered in their communities, delivered meaningful learning, and enabled students to lead in democracy unless we collectively faced up to past and current harms of racism in its most pernicious, painful forms in this institution and broader American society.
This network strives to live its values, knowing that working to directly tackle racial injustice is central to the stories and resources we co-create and share. The Shared Story community has grown as a place of support and energy to elevate racially just schooling. Partners in California and across the country are centering voices of grassroots communities of color in demanding what is needed as schools move through the pandemic. When we are together, it has been important to name and give voice to racial injustice, even though our experiences may differ, to arrive at shared understanding. And with humility, we have tried to learn from our progress and our mistakes.
We can both honor what we have done, and accept that we have much farther to go to practice what we preach every single day. We can commit to strengthening how we work as a network, and what we do in our work to advance racial justice. These include examining questions such as:
- How do we authentically shape the network going forward in partnership with more young Black voices, and voices from other marginalized communities in particular Latinx and Indigenous communities?
- How can our network increase the dollars we mobilize to support Black and Brown community and youth organizing groups, since money is a source of power?
- What can we sufficiently elevate in work products like the teacher playbook so it strikes at the heart of ensuring schools are safer and sustaining places for Black children and families?
- How can we more consistently interrogate and educate each other about our views and practices around racial oppression and culturally-rooted white supremacy in our conversations and meetings?
We offer these as shared commitments for all of us who participate in our network to examine and enact together.
Further, this network is home to an abundance of powerful antiracist work that is crucial to the future of learning in the U.S. Here are just some of the statements, resources, reports, and fundraising efforts our network partners have produced in recent days, months, and years. All of this work is the heart of what this network offers in support of the movement for Black lives and for true, lived equity in education:
- There’s a new report from Public Advocates and allies in California documents how CA districts have illegally diverted money intended for English learners, foster youth, and low-income students towards police, security guards, and surveillance equipment.
- The Case for Education Equity in New Mexico from the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty follows the personal story of parent turned education advocate Wilhelmina Yazzie.
- The California Partnership recently released a set of 10 demands for policy change based on a needs assessment from 600 students and families from low-income communities of color in more than 20 school districts.
- Two films by Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools and Media Sutra connect policing, Black Lives Matter youth activism, and Title I funding in ‘A Rose in LA’ and ‘Better Days are Coming’ along with reports and resources to accompany each, including Confronting the Education Debt, arguing that elected policymakers are denying millions of children—mostly Black and Brown children—the educational opportunities they deserve.
- NYU Metro Center’s Culturally Responsive Education Hub provides the history, tools, and resources to contextualize and build the movement for culturally responsive education, as well as 9 films that examine experiences of racism and bias in public school systems, and why culturally responsive education is an effective strategy to combat those forces.
- California AfterSchool Network released this statement and this interview with Michael Funk & Think Together on Black Lives Matter and Expanded Learning as social justice work.
- Communities for Just Schools Fund created this toolkit with a number of alternative ways to approach school discipline. They are raising funds in support of community led organizations that are working to ensure positive and supportive school climates that affirm and foster the success of all students through their Education Anew fund.
- Georgia Budget and Policy Institute published Georgia at a Crossroads: Raising Revenues Sensibly or Forcing Schoolchildren to Pay for Years to Come about equitable education funding and solutions for lagging revenues.
- Reaching Higher NH board and staff released this statement with this Facebook post.
- Center for Budget and Policy Priorities released several helpful pieces of guidance, including 12 Tips: Making the Case for a Revenue Solution to State Budget Shortfalls (June 2020) and 3 Principles for an Anti-Racist, Equitable State Response to COVID-19 — and a Stronger Recovery, connecting racial justice and public spending.
- National Education Policy Center shared this statement from Kevin Welner, Director, which includes the publication titled “Law and Order in School and Society: How Discipline and Policing Policies Harm Students of Color, and What We Can Do About It.” See additional recommendations in this report.
- Schott Foundation is raising funds for grassroots organizations through their Loving Communities Response Fund.
- Nellie Mae Education Foundation shared this statement from Nick Donahue, President & CEO.
- Hewlett Foundation shared this statement.
- W.K. Kellogg Foundation shared this statement.
- Institute for Educational Leadership shared this statement.
- Alliance for Excellent Education shared this statement from Deborah Delisle, President and CEO.
- NEA Foundation released this statement on their website and social media, with a longer statement to come.
- CYCLE released this statement.
- Learning Policy Institute released this statement from Linda Darling Hammond and Janel George.
- Frank L. Gettridge, Executive Director of the National Public Education Support Fund (NPESF), shared this letter.
- Institute for Democratic Education in America shared “A Letter from Minneapolis” from IDEA staff & Minneapolis resident, Dana Bennis.
- National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE) shared this statement.
- Bank Street College released this public statement affirming their commitment to anti-racist education and policy.
- The Chalkboard Project/FBO published this post titled, “Oregon’s Youth Press for Racial Justice.”