Education equity at center of "Mike Brown vs. the Board of Education" summit in St. Louis

Posted by: Gordon on 11/3/2014

Pictures from St. Louis education Summit nov 1, 2014
UCM, MCU, St. Louis Federation of Teachers and others came together Saturday, naming the racial inequities that exist as much in the educational system as in the criminal injustice practices and policies across the region. (Photo via @iamkaranicol on Twitter)

Representatives from 18 school districts turned out Saturday to hear national education equity expert Dr. John Jackson speak on “Mike Brown vs. the Board of Education” in St. Louis, an event co-organized by Metropolitan Congregations United and United Congregations of the Metro-East, with support  from American Federation of Teachers and other groups.

“Our current system is unequal and we believe unfair. It’s unjust,” Rev. Charles Burton, UCM president, told a St. Louis Public Radio reporter. “So how we fix that’s important and having people engaged in that work’s important. Having people not only involved in the school district, but engaged in the envisioning of the school district—that’s important.”

More than 150 educators, parents, members of faith-based groups and other community activists rolled up their sleeves to explore the best strategies for improving area public schools and eliminating racial and income inequities that deny disadvantaged children opportunities for a brighter future. Those areas included implementing restorative discipline policies more widely and discussions of school finance.

“It’s important that we work to provide all of our students a fair and substantive opportunity to learn, which starts by ensuring that parents, students and educators have healthy living and learning communities. The road there is long, but the journey has been started by advocates across the state who cannot get weary in their well-doing,” said Jackson.

The participants also began planning for St. Louis’ Nov. 20 “walk-in” events to promote policies that improve public schools instead of closing them and support high-quality teaching instead of high-stakes testing.

Spearheaded by the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, 20 cities across America will be holding similar walk-ins, in which parents walk their children to school and then join with civil rights leaders, elected officials and faith leaders to galvanize support for the movement to reclaim our public schools. Nov. 20 is also Universal Children’s Day. On that day in 1959, the United States approved the United Nations’ Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

The story was covered on KMOX radio, Post-Dispatch, KDHX, KWMU and Bergers Beat blog.
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