NJEA’s Delegate Assembly (DA) voted to join the national call for Black Lives Matter at School Week, which began in Seattle in 2016 and will be held this year Feb. 5-11.
The purpose of the week’s activities during school and in the evening is to support the movement’s call to end zero tolerance discipline measures that disproportionately affect minority children, implement restorative justice in schools, hire more Black teachers in education and ensure they have the support they need to be successful, and to mandate black history/ethnic studies in K-12.
Black Lives Matter at School Week seeks to educate all students about structural racism, intersectional black identities, and black history. While it coincides with Black History Month, the intention is to begin – or continue – conversations around these topics throughout the year.
In addition, the DA voted to:
- Create and prominently publish content that informs members and the public at large about the racial disparities in discipline that exist in schools throughout the state, and the power of restorative practices to help address these disparities.
- Convene a task force as a joint effort between the Human and Civil Rights Committee and the Professional Development Committee to develop a program that will assist members in advocating for the full implementation of the Amistad curriculum in their districts, as well as informing and educating community members about the Amistad Law.
- Survey local presidents to determine which districts are currently implementing the Amistad curriculum resources developed by the NJ Department of Education (NJDOE) and what types of support resources are most needed to assist local associations in advocating for increased implementation.
- Write to the State Board of Education and NJDOE to urge the strengthening of accountability for compliance with the Amistad Law.
- Advocate for research on the impact of charter proliferation, school closures, ACHIEVE NJ, and high-stakes standardized testing on the push-out of teachers of color.
- Actively advocate for the development of programs and supports that are purposefully designed to increase and retain the number of Black teachers and teachers of color that may include such programs as expanded pathways to certification, specific mentoring programs, and the development of new and targeted recruiting methods.
- Publish an article in the NJEA Review and on njea.org highlighting the work of those districts that actively participate in the National Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action.
For more information about National Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action, including resources for educators, go to educationvotes.nea.org/neaedjustice/black-lives-matter-at-school