You don’t know what you don’t know

District Equity Team continues two-year study

Bethel’s District Equity Team is in their second month of a two-year study of racial equity in our district.

Part of the group’s homework before coming to their second meeting was to listen to the 1619 project, an audio series from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery.

The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation before the Cabinet / Alexander Hay Ritchie, after Francis B. Carpenter / 1866 / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

One surprising fact that team members learned from the series was that before signing the Emancipation Proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln first supported the idea that slaves should be freed and then encouraged or required to leave the United States.

Depending on where we come from, we each grow up learning different things in school. We all have different home lives, different families and different friends. This is where our implicit biases come from. Schools can be one of the first places kids meet people from other walks of life. That’s why our equity teams — both at the district and school levels — help to prepare our staff to have, what can be, some very difficult and uncomfortable conversations.

The first step is to help team members get past the way these conversations impact them as individuals, so they can begin to look at them holistically.

The District Equity Team meets every month and consists of staff, parents and community members.

Learn More:

Watch: The Danger of a Single Story

Watch: What Beyonce Taught Me About Race

Read: New Study Finds Black Teens Face Racial Discrimination 5 Times A Day On Average

Helping kids learn is the driving force behind all we do in the Bethel School District.

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