Work on Yourself and Work on Your Community

Hi Friends!
Thanks to those of you who were able to come to last week’s discussion group. We had a great conversation about how we might address inequities in local schools (related to neighborhood schools v. choice schools) and some helpful context about how the school board/district has evolved over time.
A friend from my alma mater shared a letter written by the current college president about starting a study group on whiteness. He was responding to some backlash from the initiative and his letter reminded me why I wanted to start this group in the first place. Here’s the letter.
As a reminder, we have two main goals in this group. First, identify and address our own individual racism and privilege and our role in perpetuating systemic racism. Second, use that knowledge to encourage others to do the same, and work to dismantle systemic racism in our community in whatever way we have leverage and power.
One of the challenges I think we face in this group is figuring out how to balance our advocacy for integrated schools with avoiding judgement of families’ personal decisions about school choice. One of our members made a very interesting suggestion. What would happen if every local school was a choice school, with a certain % of spots held for economically disadvantaged students at each school? Would that end up integrating our schools via family choice rather than some imposed redistribution? What do you think?
To facilitate and encourage progress on our first goal (stated above), I would like to make myself available to meet with any of you individually or in small groups to have these conversations in person or via email. Sometimes we don’t understand our own beliefs about something until we hear ourselves say it out loud, so I am happy to be your sounding board. I don’t have it all figured out, so it’s an opportunity to work on this together. Reach out anytime.
Here are some resources I came across recently (so many!):
(1) “Tell Me About… How Your Disrupt Inequity at Your School” in ASCD for ideas about how schools have addressed this issue creatively.
(2) “Racial Inequality in Public Schools” by Kimberly Jade Norwood in American Bar Association’s TYL is an excerpt from Ferguson’s Fault Lines: The Race Quake that Rocked a Nation.
(3) “Racial Inequities: What Schools Can Do” in Education World includes some concrete examples of what schools/districts can do to address these issues.
(4) “The Inequity in Public Schools” by Michael Godsey in The Atlantic includes some very clear illustrations of the inequities that exist and how our choices might exacerbate them.
(5) “Good School, Rich School; Bad School, Poor School” by Alana Semuels in The Atlantic focuses on the funding of school districts and how that contributes to inequities.
(6) “Civics, Community, and Allyship: Why We Chose Our Local Public School” by ILOVECAKE in Integrated Schools was shared with me by one of our members.
These have all been added to the overall resource list, along with a few others. Thanks for your work on these issues!

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