The theological reflection this month is about the church’s call to address education equity.
Choose one or more of the following:
"Racism Harms Children's Health" (article) a growing body of research finds that racism has lasting physical and mental effects on its victims
“A letter to my son” Ta-Nehisi Coats
"Racism has devastating effects on children's health, Pediatricians warn" by William Wan, Washington Post, August 2019
"Becoming Upended: Teaching and Learning about Race and Racism with Young Children and Their Families" by Kristen Cole, Diandra Verwayne, Publication: NAEYC May 2018
Dear White Counselor (5:05) by Sy Stokes
School to Prison Pipeline (3:16) A short video explaining the school-to-prison pipeline
Why Black Girls are Targeted for Punishment at School: (12:38) Ted talk by Monique W. Morris about the policies, practices, conditions and prevailing consciousness that criminalize and exclude children from learning environments.
A Tale of Two Districts 30:07 (podcast) In many parts of the U.S., public school districts are just minutes apart, but have vastly different racial demographics — and receive vastly different funding. That's in part due to Milliken v. Bradley, a 1974 Supreme Court case that limited a powerful tool for school integration.
The Problem We All Live With (podcast) Right now, all sorts of people are trying to rethink and reinvent education, to get poor minority kids performing as well as white kids. But there's one thing nobody tries anymore, despite lots of evidence that it works: desegregation. Nikole Hannah-Jones looks at a district that, not long ago, accidentally launched a desegregation program.
Iowa Code requires that equal opportunity in programs is provided to all students regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, socioeconomic status, disability, religion, or creed. 281—IAC 12.1(1), Iowa Code 280.3. Do some inquiring to find out what the barriers to participation in school programs might be in your area: cost, access, transportation for after-school activities, etc.
Iowa code requires nondiscrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, religion, creed, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Title IX 34CFR 106.9 Section 504 34 CFR 104.8, Iowa Code 216.6. Find out what your district is doing to attract and retain teachers and employees of color.
Find out if there are equity policies in place in your school district and what they are.
Attend a school board meeting and listen for things like: disparities in suspension rates, graduation rates, gifted and talented programs, hiring practices for teachers and administrators.
What steps has your church community taken towards school equity?
What stood out to you the most?
How are you feeling?
What action will you take?
Who in your family/community may want to take action with you?
God our Creator, you created humankind in your image, and blessed us with your love. Help us to show that love to one another as we work for equality for all races in education, housing, public services, and employment. Give us strength and courage to speak out against injustice, and to work for the transformation of unjust systems that keep some in bondage: that we may more fully live out your kingdom here on earth; through Jesus Christ your son, who came to set us free.” Amen.