Promoting Racial Justice, editorial by NEA Directors Mike Harman and Mindy Layton

We hope during the summer you have found time for self-care, opportunities to spend quality time with friends and family and time to reflect on ensuring every student in your sphere of influence learns.

The start of a new school year brings new possibilities and as your NEA State Directors, we are excited to be representing you on the NEA Board of Directors.

Additionally, we are excited to bring you a NEA resource to include and embed into your curriculum this new school year. We wanted to share NEA’s newest resource guide for members titled Racial Justice in Education, available online at myUEA.org/NEARacialJustice. The guide uses a racial equity lens to advance racial justice in education which provides the strategic framework of awareness, capacity building and action. This resource guide offers working definitions, guiding principles and practical ideas that can be used in the classroom to promote racial and social justice in education.

Also included in the guide are a glossary of terms, frequently asked questions and tools for assessment, strategic planning and action. The guide lists issue-specific considerations to build awareness, capacity and action on topics such as: school-to-prison pipeline, immigration, racial justice, Every Student Succeeds Act, LGBT, gender justice and English language learners. The guide provides resources and tools specific to each topic and a list of organizations and/or partners that are already engaged in the work.

For example, this resource guide includes suggestions on how to talk about race, as well as practices to avoid that have negative effects on racial discourse. We have found many educators avoid the topic of racism in education because it is complex and often contentious, but it is important to recognize that racism exists at multiple levels and if we don’t address it, it continues and even increases.

We strongly encourage each of you to review this tremendous resource, collaborate with your peers and look for ways to promote racial and social justice within your classrooms, school and community. Together we can fulfill the vision of a great public school for every student.