In July, as a response to the killing of George Floyd and the start of Black Lives Matter protests across the nation, the Ohio Board of Education passed an anti-racism resolution.
That document recommends Ohio school districts do internal examinations of their own policies and practices, with regards to equity. The resolution, which only passed the Board by a 12 to 5 tally, cites several inequities in Ohio schools.
Those include recognizing systemic inequity that has relegated millions of children of color to under-resourced and struggling schools. It points to black male students lagging behind their white counterparts in graduation rates, and being disproportionately affected by suspensions.
The resolution also recognizes achievement gaps between Black and white students, even in generously resourced schools.
Wednesday night, Rick Jackson will be moderating the second of a two-part forum, organized by the League of Women Voters, focused on equity and anti-racism in Ohio's schools. Guests will be school superintendents, and other state education leaders.
To talk about this important topic and the event, this hour we'll start by hearing from some of the educators leading anti-racist work in their own districts, locally and across the state.
Moderated by Rick Jackson
Senior Host and Producer, ideastream, WVIZ PBS, and WCPN NPR
Opening Remarks: Paolo DeMaria, Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction
-Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby, Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District
-Superintendent Tom Gibbs, Ed.D., Athens City School District
-Honorable Meryl Johnson, Dist. 11 Member, Ohio Board of Education
-Superintendent Andrea Celico, Ph.D., Bedford City Schools
Are you ready to be uplifted? We're about to meet Lorain County Community College student Nikita Johnson who is one of only eight students this year to be named a 2021 DREAM Scholar by the national organization, Achieving the Dream.
The scholars are described as "resilient community college students determined to reach their goals and lift up their communities."
Johnson is certainly resilient. Nikita grew up in poverty in Cleveland, dropped out of school in eighth grade, and became a mom at 15. But this May, at the age of 30, she will become the first person in her family to earn a college degree, and she will be pursuing a bachelor's degree in social work following that achievement.
-Nikita Johnson, student, Lorain County Community College