The pandemic took down all the smoke, mirrors, and facades about how the education Black children have been receiving.
So here’s the deal. We’ve been talking about equity in public schools for Black children for far too long.
The current system does not work, and we all know this. We need a better education system. Period!
Georgia teachers and students are leading the call to action for public school districts in Georgia to adopt culturally inclusive curricula to help improve the retention and recruitment of teachers of color.
This work is urgently important to help improve the racial equity gaps in education across the state, especially when the number of Black students (36.5%) is just as large as white students (38.9%).
White teachers in Georgia out number Black teachers by double. In fact, Ed Trust report reflect that Black teachers in Georgia only make up 25.6% of the workforce. Whereas, 68.8% of the teacher workforce in Georgia is made up of white teachers.
I saw first hand in my call to action for the Georgia Professional Standards Commission to remove the EdTPA test that had racial bias as well as the unclear time limit of waivers extended to working educators to complete certifications.
Part of this bias included the fact that the GaPSC and state educational leaders are appointed by the governor. Most of the appointments have been conservative white males.
Then the entities that impact the training, recruitment of teachers on the state level from teacher preparation programs by the state department of the university system lack diversity.
Therefore, the entities that are preparing teachers don’t have the representation needed to even begin conversations around reimaging schools to improve equitable, educational outcomes.
I believe that in order to improve the preparation and retention of teachers of color in the area of investing in educator preparation programs that we must look at diversifying the boards and departments of the state leading this work.
In addition, a goal to help improve the enrollment of teachers of color and help better prepare them is to increase the number of state partnerships with organizations of color that can aid in the recruitment and retention of teachers of color across the state.
And this work isn’t just to be done in “Black schools!” Equity needs to flood the hallways, classrooms, boardrooms and educational spaces throughout every school district in Georgia.
Georgia currently does not meet in the area of setting a clear goal at the state and district level to increase students’ access to diverse educators.
Let me be clear on “diverse” educators. I know for a fact several districts in Georgia will opt to show diversity by hiring white females to break the dynamic of older or middle aged white males.
We aren’t standing for that level of ‘diversity’ anymore. As context to this goal, diversity must mean racial, sexual orientation, religion and gender.
I believe reimagining how we facilitate school programs in Georgia directly impacts how we prepare teachers.
Representation is important to the movement of reimagining schools and starts with the cornerstone of education, teachers.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.