Close Minority Education Gaps

Elementary school by Sadiya Durrani

Target: Tracy Quattrocki, District 65 School Board President

Goal: Ensure that African American students are given the same tools for educational success as white students.

District 65 in Evanston, IL is troubled by achievement gaps between white and African American students. In 2015, only 34 percent of the district’s black kindergartners achieved the reading readiness standard, compared to 64 percent of their white counterparts. This is why the Organization for Positive Action and Leadership has proposed that the District 65 School Board create a Racial Equity Statement. Advocate for District 65 to adopt this policy and close achievement gaps for minority students.

Barriers to minority success in District 65 include being tracked into lower level classes and experiencing harsher disciplinary standards.  Low expectations for minority students are a nationwide problem. According to the Center for American Progress, teachers across America assume that African American students are 47 percent less likely to reach college graduation than white students. These teacher expectations impact student futures. In District 65, grades three through eight, only ten percent of black students are on track to be college ready in math, and only twenty percent are on track in reading.

OPAL’s proposals for a District 65 Racial Equity Statement include creating a constructive learning environment for all students where ethnic and racial diversity is appreciated, as well as training District 65 staff members to overcome institutional beliefs that lead to racial achievement gaps. Furthermore, the proposal would guarantee that the school board and administration work to eradicate these institutional beliefs.

Insist that District 65 implement a Racial Equity Statement and provide positive academic outcomes for all of its students, regardless of race.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Ms. Quattrocki,

District 65 must adopt a Racial Equity Statement. The gap between white students and students of color in District 65 is unacceptable. In 2015, only 34 percent of District 65 African American kindergartners attained the reading readiness standard, compared 64 percent of white kindergartners in the district. To fulfill its mission to prepare each student for academic and personal success, gaps between white and minority students must be addressed.

Though educational disparities between white and minority students are a nationwide problem, there are still things that must be done locally to solve it. A Racial Equity Statement would symbolize District 65’s commitment to implementing local solutions to this issue. These solutions include training teachers to surmount institutional beliefs that impede minority success and pledging that the school board will work to eliminate these beliefs. In order for minority students to succeed in school, their teachers and administrators must believe in their success.

Embrace a Racial Equity Statement and take the steps necessary to close the disparity between white and African American scholastic outcomes. This will ensure a more inclusive, academically successful district.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit:  Sadiya Durrani

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