Until [Educational] Justice…Just Is.

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Until [Educational] Justice…Just Is.

Categories: News

UNTIL [EDUCATIONAL] JUSTICE…JUST IS.

YWCA Greater Cleveland is proud to be a part of the Until Justice…Just Is campaign. Join us as we cover a different topic each month to explore some of many areas in which true justice is needed, and what we can do to achieve equity in our community and our country until justice…just is.

This month, we believe that all children have a right to high-quality, trauma-informed education, free of discrimination and other traumas that prepares them for academic and career success. Join us in reading and learning about how we can ensure this becomes a reality until educational justice…just is. #UntilJusticeJustIs


WE ADVOCATE FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD SUPPORT

The Problem

  • Early childhood education is integral to future academic success, but widely varies for students.
    • Students from low-income families and students of color are less likely to have access to high-quality early childhood education programs, if at all.
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) negatively affect students’ physical and mental health, academic performance, and ability to learn.
    • Children of color, especially girls of color, are at an increased risk of experiencing traumatic events such as racial discrimination and experiencing or witnessing abuse or violence. Unfortunately, many ACEs happen in school.
  • Lack of trauma-informed models in schools can create unsupportive environments that re-traumatize students who have had ACEs. 
  • The adultification of Black children begins as early as 5 years old for Black children, leading to inequitable treatment, discipline, and opportunity and often causing or exacerbating ACEs.

The Solution

  • Center and uplift voices of students of color in policy and practice changes to best meet their needs and support their success.
  • Widespread adoption and access to trauma-informed educational models and trauma training for school teachers and staff.
  • Widespread access to high-quality early childhood education for all children, regardless of race or family income. 
  • School teacher and staff training on the existence and effects of adultification and resisting implicit bias.

Where We Stand

We believe all students have a right to high-quality, trauma-informed early childhood education, free of discrimination and other traumas that prepares them for academic success. Our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan advocates for racial equity and social justice, particularly for women and girls of color. We believe this can only be truly met until all children receive the highest quality early childhood education possible, regardless of race or family income.

Our Early Learning Center works to give children a high quality early childhood education to promote future academic success, while empowering families to achieve their career and educational goals. Nurturing Independence and Aspirations (NIA) pairs Independence Place Residents with case managers who work to support them in achieving their educational goals.

WE ADVOCATE FOR FAMILIAL SUPPORT

The Problem

  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) negatively affect students’ physical and mental health, academic performance, and ability to learn.
    • Children of color, especially girls of color, are at an increased risk of experiencing traumatic events such as displacement, hunger, poverty, and more.
  • Parents and families of color face significant barriers to providing environments that support children’s academic success, such as gender and racial wage gaps and employment discrimination, criminal justice discrimination, and many more. 

The Solution

  • Supporting families as well as students in achieving their career, financial and educational goals to help create home environments that allow students to succeed.
    • Increased educational environments that support families as well as students.
    • Widespread access to supportive services that support students, parents, and families.
    • Widespread trauma-informed school models that consider ACEs students may be facing outside of school.

Where We Stand

We believe all students have a right to high-quality education that prepares and empowers them to succeed during enrollment and post-graduation. We acknowledge that familial support is a key factor in making this a reality. Our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan advocates for racial equity and social justice, particularly for women and girls of color. We believe this can only be truly met until all children receive the highest quality early childhood education possible, regardless of race or family income.

Our Early Learning Center is built on a trauma-informed, two-generational model that works to give children a high-quality early childhood education to promote future academic success, while empowering families to achieve their career and educational goals. Nurturing Independence and Aspirations (NIA) pairs Independence Place Residents with case managers who work to support them in achieving their educational and parenting goals.

WE ADVOCATE FOR ELIMINATION OF THE SCHOOL-TO-PRISON PIPELINE

The Problem

  • School practices such as an increased police presence and “zero-tolerance” policies that criminalize minor infractions help perpetuate the school-to-prison pipeline, a trend where students of color and from low-income families specifically are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile criminal justice system.
  • Black students are most affected by the school-to-prison pipeline. 
    • The adultification of Black children leads to the assumption that infractions are purposeful and more violent than those of white students, leading to harsher discipline.
    • Black students are disproportionately suspended and expelled, starting in preschool.
    • Black students make up 16% of the national student population, but 31% of all in-school arrests.
  • Trauma-informed policies and practices are severely lacking in schools.
    • Experiences like homelessness, hunger, poverty, learning disabilities, and physical, mental and/or behavioral health struggles that manifest themselves as classroom disturbances are generally severely disciplined and/or criminalized instead of being acknowledged and addressed.
    • The presence of police officers in schools is traumatizing for many students, leading to further exacerbating existing mental and behavioral health struggles.
  • Even when schools avoid explicitly sending students to the juvenile criminal justice system, harsh and discriminatory discipline creates barriers that make it more likely to end up there.
    • Students who are suspended are more likely to fail a grade, more likely to drop out of school, and more likely to have experiences with the juvenile justice system.

The Solution

  • Elimination of harmful school practices such as “zero-tolerance” policies and increased police presence. 
  • Increase of trauma-informed policies and practices that support and empower students, instead of criminalizing and harshly disciplining them. 
    • For example, increased use of mediation and restorative justice sessions as discipline.
  • Extensive school teacher and staff training on the existence and effects of adultification and resisting implicit bias.
  • Center and uplift voices of students of color in policy and practice changes to best meet their needs and support their success.

Where We Stand

We believe all students have a right to high-quality education that prepares and empowers them to succeed during enrollment and post-graduation. We believe that this can only be possible with the complete elimination of the school-to-prison pipeline. We continue to work to prevent this in our services and support those who may have been affected by this unfortunate reality. 

Our Early Learning Center is built on a trauma-informed model that works to give children a high quality early childhood education to promote future academic success, while empowering families to achieve their career and educational goals. Nurturing Independence and Aspirations (NIA) pairs Independence Place Residents with case managers who work to support them in achieving their educational, career, and financial goals.

WE ADVOCATE FOR EQUITABLE GIFTED PROGRAMS

The Problem

  • Gifted and talented programs in school have long favored wealthy, white children and systematically exclude children from low-income families and children of color. 
    • 13% of students that live in high-income households are enrolled in gifted programs, compared to 2% of students that live in low-income households.
    • Students of color are underrepresented in gifted programs by at least 50%.
  • Students are usually selected for gifted programs first based on teacher referrals, then standardized test results.
    • Conscious or unconscious racial bias and racial profiling plays a major role in the exclusion of children of color from gifted programs.
    • Standardized test questions are widely criticized for favoring experiences exclusive to wealthy, white children, further excluding children from low-income families and children of color.
  • Even with the exact same academic performances, children of color are much less likely to be referred to a gifted program.
    • Black students make up ~17% of the total student population, yet less than 10% of students in gifted programs.

The Solution

  • Some suggest educational system redress is needed to meet the academic needs of all students; ensuring students from low-income families have equitable access to gifted programs as their high-income classmates.
    • For example, making gifted testing available to all students, regardless of teacher referral 
  • Others suggest elimination of gifted programs altogether and instead working to provide widespread access to the benefits of gifted programs:
    • Smaller classrooms, more individualized attention, and participation that correlates with lower stress levels of students and higher post-graduate academic success.

Where We Stand

We believe all students have a right to high-quality education that prepares and empowers them to succeed during enrollment and post-graduation. Our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan advocates for racial equity and social justice, particularly for women and girls of color. We believe this can only be truly met until all students receive the highest quality education possible, regardless of race or family income.

Our Early Learning Center works to give children a high-quality early childhood education to promote future academic success, while empowering families to achieve their career and educational goals. Nurturing Independence and Aspirations (NIA) pairs Independence Place residents with case managers who work to support them in achieving their educational goals.

WE ADVOCATE FOR TEACHING ANTI-RACISM

The Problem

  • Across the country, teaching race-based history and racial subjects in the classroom is being resisted on the incorrect basis of it having a divisive effect on students.
    • Many of this resistance is specifically an attack against teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT) in schools. CRT is based on the idea that race is a social construct created to oppress and exploit people of color. CRT critically examines how race intersects with U.S. law and practice and challenges mainstream approaches to racial justice and education.
  • Some argue acknowledging race and racial issues with young students encourages them to become aware of race and perpetuate racism when they otherwise wouldn’t. However, research demonstrates that children begin to understand racial differences and the existence of racism from a very early age. 
  • Not acknowledging the factual history of people of color and its impacts today, completely leaves students of color out of the educational narrative. 

The Solution

  • Widespread implementation of explicitly teaching anti-racism in school is integral to creating current and future anti-racist communities.
    • Teaching anti-racism validates the experiences of students of color and allows white students and staff to confront and eliminate biases, become advocates, and create safer schools and communities.
  • Widespread anti-racism training and workshops for school teachers and staff.
  • The voices of students of color must be centered and uplifted in creating anti-racism trainings and curriculums.

Where We Stand

We believe all students have a right to high-quality education that prepares and empowers them to succeed during enrollment and post-graduation. We believe this can only be done if anti-racism and the history and current realities of people of color is a part of school curriculum.

Our Early Learning Center works to give children a high quality early childhood education to promote future academic success, while empowering families to achieve their career and educational goals. We provide important racial equity materials that emphasize anti-racism in programming like the 21-Day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge and the Go LIVE for Equity Virtual Discussion Series.


Sources
The Impact of Discrimination on the Early Schooling Experiences of Children of Immigrant Families, Migration Policy
How Racism Can Affect Child Development, Harvard University
Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood, Georgetown University 
Unlocking the Door to Learning: Trauma-Informed Classrooms and Transformational Schools, Education Law Center
The Need for Trauma-Informed Schools, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools 
What is Trauma-Informed Care? Trauma-Informed Care Implementation Resource Center
Trauma-Informed Care, The Trauma-Informed Care Project
Critical Race Theory, University of Denver
What is Critical Race Theory and Why Is It Under Attack, Education Week
Becoming Upended: Teaching and Learning About Race and Racism with Young Children and Their Families
Anti-Racism in Early Childhood Education, Saporta Report
2020-2025 Strategic Plan, YWCA Greater Cleveland
No, It Isn’t Racist to Teach Anti-Racism, Education Week
All Students Need Anti-Racism Education, Learning for Justice
School to Prison Pipeline, ACLU
Impact of the School to Prison Pipeline, ACLU
School to Prison Pipeline, 2020 Bipartisan Justice Center
The School to Prison Pipeline, Explained, Vox
The School to Prison Pipeline: Time to Shut It Down, National Education Association
Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline, NAACP
Pros and Cons of Gifted Programs in Schools, Education Corner
Gifted Programs Worsen Inequality. Here’s What Happens When Schools Try to Get Rid of Them, NBC News.
Gifted Education Programs Face Clear and Present Problem, Education Next.
Why Decades of Trying to End Racial Segregation in Gifted Education Hasn’t Worked, the Hechinger Report
The Other Segregation, The Atlantic
The Contradiction at the Heart of Public Education, The Atlantic 
A Strategy for Overcoming Equity Issues in Gifted Programs
Schools Under-Identify Giftedness in Low-Income Socioeconomic Status Students