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Fighting for racially just schools

Creating more just and inclusive schools

Whether Black, white or brown, most educators believe every student deserves a high-quality education with professional teachers who nurture a love of learning, meet mistakes with patience and help all students grow.

But for centuries, politicians have created color-coded barriers to equal education by creating a system that often fails our students and educators of color, and sometimes actively works against them through biased standardized testing, criminalizing certain behaviors and giving students in wealthy neighborhoods more resources than the students who need the most support.

Then those same politicians turn around and point the finger at Black, immigrant and other families of color for our schools’ problems while steering money toward unaccountable charter and private schools and letting the wealthiest 1 percent refuse to contribute their fair share.

In 2022, we must move our money towards the proven solutions that set our kids up for fulfilling lives, including recruiting and retaining more teachers of color, embracing restorative justice practices in our schools, rewriting our curricula, expanding full-service community schools and, most of all, giving communities of color a voice and power in dismantling systemic racism in our public schools and colleges.

When we join together across race and place, educators can demand that our schools treat all our children equitably and with compassion, nurturing a love of learning and meeting childhood mistakes with the proven approaches that help students grow.

Three things to know:

  1. Seventeen percent of children of all backgrounds live in poverty, compared to 32 percent of Black children and 31 percent of American Indian children, according to the 2022 Kids Count Data Book by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The report also found 27 percent of all kids have parents who lack secure employment; this rate rockets to 44 percent for American Indian children and 41 percent for Black children. Latino children, when compared to their white peers, are also more likely to grow up in poverty and to have parents who aren’t securely employed.
  2. Students of color and Native American students lag white students in almost every measure. To cite just one example, in the 2021 data from the state, the graduation rate for white students in Minnesota was 88 percent, but only 69 percent for Black and Latinx students and 53 percent for Native students.
  3. Full-service community schools are a proven way to close the opportunity gap. In Brooklyn Center, about 84 percent of seniors graduated in 2020, up from 74 percent in 2010, according to data from the Minnesota Department of Education. 77.4 percent of Black seniors graduated in 2020 from Brooklyn Center High School compared to 69.2 percent of Black seniors statewide. And at the alternative learning site, 59 percent graduated in 2020, up from 22.7 percent in 2015.

Take charge:

  • The state Legislature can fund new restorative practices programs, expand full-service community schools and make sure educators are supported in developing welcoming curricula for all students.
  • Debt-free college, single-payer health insurance and other policies to shore up our family finances are possible, but only if we vote for the right people for state and federal offices.
  • No matter whom you vote for, hold them accountable through your local union, our allies among communities of color, immigrant rights groups and civil rights organizations.
  • Education Minnesota asked candidates seeking our endorsement on all levels of the ballot if they supported a $25 minimum wage for education support professionals, the lowest paid and most diverse employee group in our schools. Visit our Voter Guide to view their questionnaires and see who said they would support this legislation.

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