We cannot escape the reality that systemic racism is in our public education system. We see it in real, tangible examples of many of our Black and brown students. Students who due to biased policies, lack of educators of color, administrators and school board members who are innovators and committed to re-imagining education for the better of all children.
Every chain of the public education system in Gwinnett County is enslaving our Black and brown children. It discounts white students who are given the opportunity to see educators of color, in various disciplines, standing before them in classrooms and not solely on the negative things the see or hear about us.
Breaking every chain in the GCPS system that binding our children to inequitable educational outcomes. In the words of Tasha Cobb’s powerful song, Break Every Chain , we must do just that. Break the chains of racism are embedded in the design of this country. Systemic chains that must be broken in our school system and this society.
Oppressive ideals are evident in the data we see with Black and brown children in human sex trafficking, murdered and missing, on the run, school to prison pipeline, prostitution rings, homeless. Oh yes, this is happening in our backyards. Evidence of of systemic oppression and every aspect of our lives plays a role in this. It becomes a mindset. We’re conditioned to be good employees in the American public education system.
We know this through the data that is placed right in front of us. Black boys rank highest in red areas including deficiency in literacy, highest suspension rate, highest expulsion rate, highest dropout rate, highest to be retained a grade . . . our Black girls too are numbers of this same categories that are far too high. So what are we seeing and in a sense allowing to happen to our Black and brown children?
The teacher in me of course believes that it begins with the things we are taught. The these in our community, ration stations, media, social media, blogs what do these tell our children about us? What does it tell others about us? What does popular music in our culture say about us? Not even starting in classrooms but in the lessons we learn in our communities and around our families. It’s a journey that requires of us be willing to evolve in our thinking and our practices. How successful we are on this journey depends on our willingness to retrain our minds.
In our local public school district we must begin the work of dismantling the system in order for our children; red, yellow, Black, brown and white to succeed.