In the weeks following the killing of George Floyd by police, right here in our hometown of Minneapolis, protests have rippled across the country demanding change to end pervasive and systemic racial injustice in our country. As we process our outrage, grief, and pain, the staff and board of AdoptAClassroom.org have been reflecting on what role our organization can play in bringing about equity, justice, and healing. What can we do to make change, both internally and externally?
Our mission here at AdoptAClassroom.org of advancing equity in education has never been more important. As a country, we must do better for students of color. For too long, our nation has accepted separate and unequal schools, and those schools are failing our black, Latinx, and indigenous students. Right here in Minnesota, we have high rates of graduation for white students, but one of the lowest rates of graduation for black and hispanic students of any state in the nation.
We at AdoptAClassroom.org are redoubling our commitment to address racial inequity in education – and within our own organization – through the following actions:
- Prioritize strategic funding to create racial equity in education. Today, we announce the launch of our new Racial Equity in Schools Fund with a $10,000 matching grant from the ECMC Foundation. This important new initiative will provide support for teachers and schools who are working to eliminate racial inequities in their classrooms. This will start with a project right in our “own backyard” in St. Paul to provide teacher training that addresses racial bias in the classroom. The scope of this fund will be expanded over time to support similar projects across the country that focus on eliminating racial inequities in schools.
2. Prioritize partnerships with minority-owned and led businesses. Our initial focus with the Racial Equity in Schools Fund will leverage our existing strong relationships with two minority-owned and led business partners: Innocent Technologies Inc, which is the leading provider of teacher professional development focused on helping teachers work more effectively with students affected by racial bias and trauma; and Lee & Low Books, which is the nation’s largest publisher of multicultural books for children. Going forward, we will proactively seek to add additional minority-owned businesses to our roster of vendors who help us meet the growing needs of teachers across the country.
Above: AdoptAClassroom.org staff, board, and supporters with leaders of The Innocent Classroom, a teacher training that rebuilds the relationship between educators and their students, at a fundraising event in Minneapolis, MN. Read more about our work with Innocent Classroom in the 2019 Annual Report here.
3. Use our platforms to elevate the voices of teachers of color as we work to support all teachers as they address issues of race, inequity, and injustice in the classroom and in their lives. We have always believed that “teachers know best,” and we are working to share the wisdom and advice of teachers of color as school communities across the country tackle difficult conversations related to race, and make changes to school curriculums, and to ways of teaching and communicating with students.
4. Proactively work to add more people of color to our board and staff. Very simply put, we know we do not have enough representation from people of color on our Board of Directors or staff, and we commit to changing that. We are currently seeking minority candidates to join our Board of Directors. If you or someone you know may be interested, please contact us at [email protected] for more information.
Thank you for your support. If you have any questions about our Racial Equity in Schools Fund or other aspects of our work, please contact [email protected].
Ann Pifer, Executive Director