In Solidarity with Antiracist Action for Educational Justice
Updated October 7, 2020
We are heartbroken, grieving, and angry at the continuing murder of Black men and women, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, and Ahmaud Arbery along with countless others, named and unnamed. These horrific killings are directly connected to the fact that the coronavirus pandemic is disproportionately ravaging Black and indigenous communities; both are the result of the racist white supremacy intertwined with the history of this nation since before its founding. These events deeply affect our students; in many cases, they have taken place in communities where EL Education is directly involved in working with schools towards greater educational equity.
As educators, we believe that educational equity means that all children experience:
- Instruction that challenges, engages, and empowers learners
- Access to standards-based, content-rich, culturally affirming curriculum
- Explicit anti-racist discussion, practice, and action
- School culture that fosters positive identity, belonging, agency, and purpose
We will never provide these experiences for all children until we dismantle systemic racism. Our education system can be a powerful force for change. For the sake of our students, teachers, leaders, staff, and communities across this country, we are determined to move forward. Together we must create a future where all students are safe going for a jog, entering a store, standing in their backyard, or even sleeping in their own home.
Caring about the passion, curiosity, dreams, and potential of all students means recognizing their current realities and doing all that we can to create more equitable experiences for them. We know--from both research and our own experience--that racism impacts the learning of all students and is particularly harmful to Black students. That is why we are part of a movement in education, one that ensures all students have equitable learning opportunities that challenge, inspire, engage and empower them.
EL Education is an organization founded over 25 years ago on a set of clear values: that the purpose of education is to equip every child to contribute to the creation of a better world. Our 27-year history is rooted in beliefs about equity, but we must clearly and urgently be an anti-racist organization, even as we are still on a journey to fully embody all that means in our work and in our actions. The future of our country depends on having all students fully develop their potential.
Some resources that we have found especially helpful to build our knowledge:
- Helpful advice from teachers, for teachers: What Teachers Should Learn from the Murder of George Floyd (Larry Ferlazzo blog, Education Week)
- A thoughtful, influential essay, not specifically about education: The Pandemic is a Portal, Arundhati Roy (Financial Times)
- A factual report on a component of this picture: Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror (Equal Justice Initiative)
- A video highlighting academic discussion in an EL Education credentialed school, Codman Academy: Policing in America: Using Powerful Topics and Tasks to Challenge, Engage, and Empower Students (EL Education)
In addition, given that our teaching force is more than 80% white, some have found the following resources particularly helpful:
- What White Colleagues Need to Understand (Teaching Tolerance)
- 10 Things Every White Teacher Should Know When Talking About Race (Angela Watson)
- From Saviorism to Co-Conspiring (Promise54)
- Scene on Radio: Seeing White podcast
Standing for equity and anti-racism is a continual learning process at EL Education. Please read our Equity and Anti-Racism Stance and let us know what you think.