100 signatures reached
To: NYC Mayor de Blasio
Tell NYC Mayor to Stop Tolerating Racism in Schools
Implement Culturally Responsive Education across the NYC public school system:
1. Expand cultural competency training for thousands of teachers and school staff
2. Multicultural curriculum in all grades and subjects
3. Create an Office of Culturally Responsive Education within the NYC Department of Education
Why is this important?
It's been more than a week since the Daily News broke a story about a white teacher in the Bronx who, in a lesson on slavery and the Middle Passage, made Black students in several classes lay face down on the floor and even stepped on a female student while asking "see how it feels to be a slave?"
It's been more than a week, and the city has still not taken any steps to ensure that this type of degrading and traumatic incident will not occur again.
When asked by press about what the city is doing to make sure this type of incident never occurs again, Mayor de Blasio has said that the city already offers training on cultural competency. The truth is that those trainings are currently offered to just 450 out of 77,000 teachers - less than 1% of NYC teachers.
For over a year, parents have been demanding that Mayor de Blasio provide leadership in our schools and implement a comprehensive program of Culturally Responsive Education, including cultural competency trainings for teachers and school staff, in order to avoid just this kind of traumatic incident. Now, the responsibility for this incident rests firmly on the Mayor's shoulders.
We know that racism and bias in schools is a national crisis.
" White teachers have lower expectations for students of color, and are significantly less likely to expect Black students to finish high school and college
" School staff frequently perceive Black boys as threatening and dangerous for the same behaviors that are seen as innocent for White students.
" In 2015, only 15% of children's books were written by African-American or Latino authors, or focused on African-American or Latino characters
" Over 80% of public school teachers are White women, though a majority of public school students are people of color. In New York City, for example, that means that 266 NYC schools have 0 or just 1 Latino teacher, 327 have 0 or just 1 Black teacher, and 690 have 0 or just 1 Asian teacher
Given these statistics, in how many other classrooms across the city are Black children are learning about slavery in a degrading way? And in how many classrooms across the city are Black children learning that their ancestors were kings and queens, fighters against enslavement, strategists and spies, scientists and inventors, doctors, healers and entrepreneurs?
Culturally Responsive Education is a research-based strategy that helps teachers build social and emotional connections with their students across racial and cultural differences, and root learning in students' culture and prior experiences. It has shown to have impressive impacts on student achievement in Tucson, San Francisco, and other districts across the country. But Mayor de Blasio, who claims to be a national progressive leader, has dragged his feet and been slow and timid to embrace this approach. Parents need him to step up and take action, to get justice for those students in the Bronx, and to make sure no child has to experience that again.