*****Call to Action!*****
If you have 5 minutes today, please join us in an email & twitter campaign to urge Houston Schools to leverage the horrors of Hurricane Harvey into a space to build equity and meaningful integration. Below you’ll find a letter and email addresses; feel free to write your own or simply copy ours. Even more simply, if you’re on twitter, please retweet our message here and here!
Dear Houston Independent School District Superintendent Carranza and Trustees:
We wept with you as you toured your flooded campuses, we ache with you as you begin to care for the families of staff and student’s who have been affected by the hurricane. And as you are now contemplating how – and where – to educate your students, we hope you take this terrible opportunity and wield it for greatness.
Across the nation, our public schools are increasingly segregating. By some estimates, we are more segregated by race/class today than before the Civil Rights movement. Our segregation extracts deep costs for all children, especially those growing up in environments that have never been equal, much less equitable. Achievement and opportunity gaps between students in high poverty schools and students in privilege-segregated schools are substantial. By a vast number of measures (high school drop-out rates, disciplinary approaches, teacher turnover, technology availability, etc.), students in privilege-segregated schools fare far better than their more vulnerable peers. And these kids who spend their years in increasingly homogenous school communities, are themselves denied meaningful opportunities to build cross-cultural and problem-solving skills.
In addition to the heartbreaking inequity in our schools is the very real fact that we are growing generation after generation of adults in ever-shrinking bubbles of experience and meaningful contact. A just and vibrant democracy demands that we build a connected ‘public’ in our public schools; we are, in fact, doing quite opposite. Integration is about tying all of our children’s fates together, being ‘in community’ in our most public of public institutions.
Though many districts are not attentive to the issue of segregation, many others are struggling with entrenched power structures that make it difficult to reconsider school boundaries and zoning. As HISD is known to be progressive and equity-minded, we hope that the move toward intentional desegregation – and then, meaningful integration – might be the one positive opportunity we could take from the wreckage of the storm. We hope that you might see the necessary shuffling of kids as an opening to thoughtful attention to the urgent problem of school segregation. Seize this opportunity!
We are parents across the USA who care about equity, who care about integration, and who care about the nation we are building for our children with the choices we make every day. We stand with you, HISD and are willing to help however we can!
Richard A. Carranza – firstname.lastname@example.org
Wanda Adams – email@example.com
Rhonda Skillern-Jones – firstname.lastname@example.org
Diana Dávila – email@example.com
Anne Sung – Anne.Sung@houstonisd.org
Michael L. Lunceford – firstname.lastname@example.org
Jolanda Jones – email@example.com
Anna Eastman – firstname.lastname@example.org
Holly Maria Flynn Vilaseca -Holly.email@example.com