Some New Gardeners and others in our community have been involved with communicating in various ways with the Guilford County Board of Education. Holding signs outside prior to meetings, speaking at the meetings, and sending letters have all taken place, to counteract the Take Back Our Schools group that seeks to shield students from difficult truths about our history. Read on for information on how to participate in this effort to resist racism.
There was to be an in-person school board meeting on Tuesday, October 12, but that has been changed to a Zoom option at 6 p.m. that evening. It has been suggested by the Guilford Anti Racism Alliance (GARA) that concerned citizens continue to write emails to the board members and to sign up to speak during the public comments segment. The main message for the board is to ask them to adopt a more inclusive history curriculum and a more culturally responsive manner of teaching.
For ideas on what to communicate to school board members, please see the list below of demands from the Freedom Hill Coalition of the Piedmont Triad’s “Let’s Talk Series: North Carolina Education System.” For more information on Freedom Hill, at: https://tinyurl.com/7mubup6a
Collected from the participants during the Freedom Hill Coalition of the Piedmont-Triad “Let’s Talk Series: North Carolina Education System” held July 19 and July 26, 2021.
Participants were asked, “What do you want to see in public education?”
Here are their demands:
- Black, Indigenous, and all children of color to be affirmed for the talent they bring and for them to feel equal to all.
- Black, Indigenous, and all teachers of color to be rewarded for teaching the true and hard history of the United States and the world, so that children will avoid making the mistakes of the past.
- Decrease police precedence in schools that criminalize and punish students by “uprooting the drug war from the education system.”
- Utilize restorative practices in school discipline.
- Fully fund and provide teacher assistants in pre-K-5 classrooms.
- Hire administrators, teachers, and support staff that are committed to equity.
- Establish more direct education outreach and engagement to under-served communities.
- Avoid teaching history from a solely European perspective.
- Provide a multiracial presence in school administration, school staff, and the Board of Education.
- Purpose education to elevate minds and transform lives by teaching children how to think.
- Equitable access to and opportunities for educational scholarships, education enrichment, and career and technical education (CTE).
- Develop culturally responsive schools through instructional materials, curriculum, calendars, and school environments.
- End all punitive discipline:
- Stop adultification of Black and Brown children.
- Stop the prison to school pipeline.
- Restore counselors, social workers, and psychologists to support struggling students.
- Counselors who are culturally prepared to support college/university or vocational paths for our students.
- Property taxes equally distributed to all schools:
- New and adequate books
- Updated technology
- Counselors for traumatized students
- Access to support teachers and staff hired from the community.
- More special education teachers to help our children in reading and writing.
- Develop apprenticeship programs that will be certified beginning in middle schools.
- Provide students access to cultural experiences to travel and learn about their heritage and others.
- Fund school gardens to subsidize food programs to end food insecurity for our students and their families.
- Educators and families will have the opportunity to hear, suggest, and provide feedback concerning decisions made about curriculum and instruction practices for students.
- Quit framing the conversation on schools as a competition and demand that all public schools are an excellent place for all children to learn.
- Affirm identities and voices of all students and educators.
- Provide explicit acknowledgement, support, wellness, joy, training, and discussion normalizing LGBTQ+ students and staff.
- Provide health and wellness support for teachers and staff that insure strong mental and identity development.
- Provide stronger intersectional and anti-racist state education learning standards.
- Cultivate leadership and voice for all students to have brave spaces and take healthy risks.
- End state standardized testing and the state school report card measures.
- To provide space for students to learn to be creative and skills that are culturally responsive such as sewing, beading, weaving, fishing, gardening, cooking, music, art, dance, spoken word and voice.
- Centering questioning, critical thinking, and problem solving in the education curriculum.
- End PTA fundraising that could lead to inequitable opportunities in schools.
- Free breakfast, snack, and lunch for all students.