educational equity

34 petitions

Started 4 days ago

Petition to Karen Symms Gallagher

Implement Accountability Practices for Racially Charged Classroom Incidents at USC

Women of color should be "sterilized." — This profoundly racist statement was made in one of my classes and the instructor accommodated it, so I created a petition to generate accountability. As a first year student, I encountered a racially charged incident that deeply impacted my introduction to USC and the Doctorate in Educational Leadership program. I spoke with the program director and filed an official complaint to the Office of Equity and Diversity Title IX, but as of the time of this writing, no action has been taken. In an effort to bring resolve to this incident, this online petition will be submitted to the Dean of USC Rossier School of Education, Karen Symms Gallagher.   Incident Description:On September 5, 2018, in Dr. Hirabayashi's Learning 525 course, we were broken into small groups and instructed to input behavioral principles into a communally shared document to address listed problems. One problem was "Increasing the number of women of color who receive prenatal care," to which one group inputted the following suggestions: "Sterilize them" and "Take away their babies at birth." I immediately showed the instructor, who assured me it would be addressed. At the close of the exercise, Dr. Hirabayashi opened the floor for discussion, at which time a white female student admitted she had written the comments and then deleted them, stating her group, which included her and two latinx women, did not “agree” with the comments, but had offered them as a possible solution, as that was their understanding of the exercise. Another student then raised her hand and began to ask about an unrelated topic, at which time it became clear the instructor was not going to address the comments further. I said I did not think we should move on, and stated I was stunned by the inappropriate and offensive nature of the comments, given the socio-historical context of sterilization and separating families as tools of oppression and genocide, as well as the saliency of current immigration policies separating children from their parents. Several other students also expressed their discomfort with the comments. A white male student defended the students who had written the comments, stating there was no ill intention. The instructor took a diplomatic stance, stating she wanted to maintain a comfortable learning environment, and repeatedly emphasized that no one should feel blamed. At her invitation, I met with Dr. Hirabayashi prior to the next class meeting and requested she bring resolve to the incident by acknowledging the comments as inappropriate and holding the students accountable. She then proceeded to open class with a vague statement about the incident, at no point addressing the comments directly. She then redirected the focus to the day’s lesson plan: a case study surrounding the disproportionately high pregnancy-related mortality rates of women of color. The incident was thus not only left without resolution, it was magnified. The instructor's impartial stance set an accommodating tone for explicit racism and allowed students to shoulder the weight of upholding moral integrity in her classroom. Her failure to acknowledge the unethical magnitude of the statements speaks to a subconscious communal acceptance of the dehumanization of black and brown bodies, and a profound insensitivity to misogynistic tools of oppression like the current legislative attack on reproductive rights. Further, an opportunity was lost for the students who wrote the comments to self-reflect through critical thinking, thus countering the pedagogical intent of a Doctoral program. This incident was antithetical to Rossier's mission statement: "to improve learning opportunities and outcomes in urban settings, to address disparities that affect historically marginalized groups, and to teach our students to value and respect the cultural context of the communities in which they work."  Requested Actions:(1) a public acknowledgement of the incident and a comprehensive articulation of the steps Rossier is taking to resolve the matter, (2) mandatory professional development training for Dr. Hirabayashi surrounding Critical Race Theory (CRT) and the facilitation of race-based conversations, (3) a mandatory CRT workshop for the group members who wrote the comments and the student who defended them, (4) a corresponding assignment for the aforementioned students to be publicly presented to the Learning 525 course illustrating their understanding of CRT as it relates to the incident, (5) a public apology from the school and the instructor to the many students who were deeply affected by the incident, (6) a required course with a CRT centered curriculum during the first semester for all newly admitted students to the program, (7) ample framing of historical context and racial implications for case studies used in Rossier courses. Sincerely, Gina Loring, Doctoral candidate, USC Rossier School of Education c/o 2021

Gina Loring
340 supporters
Update posted 4 weeks ago

Petition to California State Senate

Provide Transitional Kindergarten in all age-eligible California school districts

The Kindergarten Readiness Act (SB 1381), passed in September 2010, changed the required birthday for admission to kindergarten in California from December 2 to September 1. SB 1381 also created a new program for young 5 year olds (those turning five between September 2 and December 2) called transitional kindergarten. According to the California Department of Education, all age-eligible California school districts are required to provide transitional kindergarten. However, some do not. In particular, some basic aid districts (districts who receive little state funding, because their revenue from local property taxes exceeds what they would receive under the Local Control Funding Formula) have chosen to not offer transitional kindergarten.  I am a parent of a child whose birthday falls between September 2-December 2. He will not be 5 by September 1, therefore unable to start kindergarten until the following year. I recently discovered my son’s school district no longer offers transitional kindergarten. They say they are a basic aid district and receive no funding from the state for the program. The bill's author, retired State Senator Joe Simitian, argues that parents such as myself can either, “persuade their [school] board to provide the program...litigate, or they can ask the state Legislature to reconfirm the fact that (transitional kindergarten) is a requirement.” I am asking my state legislature to do the latter. While this bill was passed into law eight years ago, California school districts are clearly not all in agreement with its current language, leaving parents such as myself confused about our options for choice.  I have spoken with my son’s school district and their response to me was that there was no funding in their budget for a program that is not state mandated. However, per the TK funding page ( “according to School Services of California, ‘For funding purposes, transitional kindergarten (TK) is kindergarten. Any funding (federal, state, and local) currently provided to local educational agencies (LEAs) to support kindergarten (K) also includes TK pupils.’” Furthermore, "the 2015-16 state budget further clarified the law to allow school districts to enroll 4 year olds even if they turn 5 after the December cutoff date, providing another local option to get more children ready for kindergarten." Please help me reconcile my son's school district's interpretation of the law with what the California Department of Education,, Senate Bill 1381, and EdCode 48000c claim is true. Reconfirm the fact that transitional kindergarten is a requirement in California and that "districts must offer TK and kindergarten classes for all age-eligible children to attend." Thank you! Katherine Fitzpatrick San Diego, California  

Katherine Fitzpatrick
161 supporters
Started 3 months ago

Petition to Mayor of Bridgeport, Bridgeport City Council, Bridgeport Board of Education, Steve Stafstrom, Ezequiel Santiago, Aaron Turner, Dennis Bradley, Joseph Ganim, Aresta Johnson

Support the develoment of athletic fields on the New Bassick High School Campus

Bassick High School was built in 1924. The plan of architect Ernest G. Southey  was to build the school 100 feet from Fairfield Avenue, providing sufficient space to the south of the school for a large athletic field.  Bassick Junior High School opened in 1929 and was later converted to a senior high school and an addition was built in 1968.  The plan to build athletic fields was never executed.  The Mayor of Bridgeport, Bridgeport City Council, and the Bridgeport Board of Education have voted to "Renovate Bassick As New."   The current plans for renovation, do not include a plan to provide Bassick students athletic fields. For more than 50 years Bassick High School athletes that have participated in track and field, football, softball, baseball, and soccer have not had access to a regulation field for practice or home games on the campus of Bassick High School.  If the community does not take a stand, the children on the West End, South End, and Black Rock Communities will have a new high school that does not offer students athletic facilities comparable to the other comprehensive high schools in the city and the state of Connecticut. Please sign and share this petition and voice your opinions to our elected officials.

Bassick High School Governance Council
756 supporters