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Let our girls learn: Albany's charter cap is holding back New York families hungry for new public education options


Added 06-15-19 10:13:03am EST - “Last year, our team of educators and community members set out to do something radical in public education: establish a community-grown, gender conscious school where Black and brown girls (inclusive of our gender non-conforming and…” - Nydailynews.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Nydailynews.com: “Let our girls learn: Albany’s charter cap is holding back New York families hungry for new public education options”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

Last year, our team of educators and community members set out to do something radical in public education: bring to Brooklyn a community-grown, gender-conscious school where black and brown girls (inclusive of our gender non-conforming and transgender youth) not only achieve at the highest levels, but feel safe, valued and affirmed. In partnership with our community, we designed a revolutionary model rooted in eliminating implicit bias, restorative justice practices and instruction of the highest quality.

We connected with over 300 young women and families, listened to their stores and centered them in our school design. In March, our school — Kwenda Collegiate Girls Charter School — was approved to open by the state. Yet our school, and the young women we represent, hit an unforeseen glass ceiling with the current cap on public charter schools.

Despite the hundreds of families that signed on in support of our model, and despite our being approved to open, unless Albany votes to lift the cap, we will never be able to open our doors. This unfair reality can only be explained by politics and, from where we sit, has very little to do with the wishes and lived experiences of our families.

Why does our school and its mission matter? Consider some data. An independent study of over a thousand New York City young people also found that 1 in 3 young women and transgender youth experienced sexual harassment in schools. Despite this, the New York City Department of Education — a school system with 1.1 million students — employs just one Title IX coordinator responsible for responding to reports of sexual assault and violence on the campuses of our K-12 public schools.

In New York State, black girls are almost four times more likely to be suspended than their white peers for the same offense. In New York City, black girls are 10 times more likely to be suspended than their white peers.

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