10 Feb Next Steps for BBAS
NEXT STEPS FOR BBAS
Nothing that’s happened in the last week has deterred us from the original mission and vision of Being Black at School. Black students are still marginalized, suspended more often than their white counterparts, and are denied access to higher level courses. Yet, as we watch the backlash to Devos’ appointment as the Secretary of Education we feel the need to address some important pieces as the Executive Director of a non-profit that seeks to work toward the goal of equity.
First, while we appreciate the protests of Devos in D.C. schools this morning we also understand the delicate balance of inviting her into public schools and monitoring her slight shifts in language about making it a priority. We don’t have to like Betsy Devos, but we do respect the office and title and our commitment to working with her on policy is also taking on a more focused shift. We want to be invited to the table. We want to be able to explain some of the issues we feel she isn’t well versed on with Black students. We want to make sure she understands the focus of BBAS.
Second, we are committed to holding the Secretary to her comment regarding the Civil Rights Data Collection (as seen in Answer 10). If she choose to abolish this segment of the Department of Education and we don’t have the information about equity for students then this mission works without the data. If the data goes dark, schools can go dark on us. If no one holds schools accountable for reporting equity, no one will PROMOTE equity.
It didn’t matter who was in that office because we at BBAS would have to work with them. However, let us be clear in stating we have not moved to scaling back the force and integrity of our mission: we will still advocate for Black students and cultural competency for all educators. We will still push the narratives of families and their concerns about raising Black children in the education system.
We know we have to find a way to work within the system we’re given and the more we get out in front of her office and sometimes in her office the more these issues remain at the forefront. We’re a small, grassroots-led movement that is growing faster than we thought we would and, in many ways, her appointment has increased attention to our work.
On behalf of our curriculum specialist and policy expert I thank you for your support and ask that you continue to provide it because we are moving ahead in ways we hadn’t anticipated a mere 6 months ago.
Please be sure to request equity kits for your schools and start BBASxYourCity chapters so this work can maintain a national focus. Any questions regarding policy can be directed to our Director of Policy, Advocacy and Research, Colin McGinnis.
We look forward to doing the work.
Kelly Wickham Hurst
Executive Director of Being Black at School