Press conference hosted by Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools, announcing effort to counter racism and discrimination in Vermont
For Immediate Release
February 5th, 2018
Contact: Amanda Garces, (520) 333-8864, email@example.com
MONTPELIER – An initiative by Vermont community members to incorporate ethnic and social equity standards in Vermont schools is heading to the state legislature. Last week, Representatives Kiah Morris, Kevin “Coach” Christie, Selene Colburn, and Barbara Rachelson introduced H. 794, which requires the Agency of Education to adopt statewide ethnic and social equity studies standards and seeks development of a model policy on ethnic studies and social equity in schools. The bill also requires the Secretary of Education to publish a related statewide education assessment.
“In the effort to reach a statewide vision of true equity and inclusion in our state, we must ensure these principles and values are infused into the educational experiences of Vermont’s youth at all stages. It is not enough to simply celebrate diversity of race, culture, gender, economics and ability, we must eliminate bias by nurturing school environments and rich educational experiences that challenge those same biases.” –State Representative Kiah Morris, Bennington
The concept was brought to the attention of legislators by members of the Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools, and is motivated by the need to bring increased awareness to the voices and contributions of non-dominant social groups in Vermont schools, and by recurring incidents of racism and harassment. Vermont would follow Oregon as the second state to adopt K-12 ethnic and social equity standards.
“The only way to defeat the scourge of racism and discrimination is through education. This bill is the right step towards education equity, and will benefit all our students, regardless of their background.” –Wafic Faour, father of current Vermont students, Palestinian American Activist, and member of Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools.
There is considerable research that demonstrates the benefits of incorporating ethnic and social equity curricula across grades and subject areas. According to The Academic and Social Value of Ethnic Studies, A Research Review, “both students of color and white students benefit academically as well as socially from ethnic studies curricula.”
“Every child deserves a high quality education that respects their dignity and identity, free of discrimination and harassment. A curriculum that includes the history and contributions of people from all of the identities and cultures that make up the richness of our society enriches all students’ personal development, and their ability to participate in their communities. This initiative will help to build more inclusive and socially just school environments.” –Sarika Tandon, mother, Equity Consultant and member of Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools.
The Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools is led by a multicultural and multigenerational group of Vermont residents. The coalition represents people from diverse racial and ethnic groups, varying gender identities, economic backgrounds and geographical regions of Vermont. This coalition believes diverse ethnic and social groups need to be accurately represented in the Vermont Education system from pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade.
What: Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equities in Schools Press Conference
When: Tuesday, February 6th, 10:30 AM
Where: Cedar Creek Room, Vermont Statehouse, Montpelier
Who: Media, Members of the Legislature