Equitable Treatment for Black Male Students Addressed by AFT Task Force Report

AFT today issued a substantive, action-oriented report, developed by a task force of AFT leaders and members, on how to address the lingering effects of racism and inequity in our nation, especially relating to black males. The report, “Reclaiming the Promise of Racial Equity: In Education, Economics and Our Criminal Justice System, provides a framework for the development of national, state, and local policy.

racialequityreportcover“This report offers concrete steps to create schools where parents want to send their children, where students—particularly boys of color—are engaged, and where educators want to work,” says AFT President Randi Weingarten. “It focuses on ways to end the institutional racism that pervades our criminal justice system, and on ways to challenge the systems that give one-percenters obscene advantages. We must do everything in our power to make sure that black lives matter in every classroom, on every street and in every court in America. This report is a step in transforming our country for the better and in using this moment to start transforming ourselves.”

The report highlights a number of recommendations that AFT hopes to implement in partnership with state and local affiliates, including measures to:

• Fund programs providing alternatives to out-of-school suspensions that offer meaningful educational opportunities for black male students.

• Change school discipline policies to include restorative justice and fairer enforcement.

• Develop and implement programs to help identify, recruit, develop, and retain black male educators and staff.

Provide professional development and cultural competency training that help teachers and other school staff understand their own personal biases.

Create review processes in schools to ensure that black male students are treated fairly.

• Develop funding, mentoring, and counseling to create greater opportunity for black males to attend college.

• Establish partnerships with trade unions to develop apprenticeship programs that provide job training and placement in trade careers that open the door to economic opportunity and independence for black men.

• Continue and expand AFT’s work with the Conference of Chief Justices to help establish engagement strategies to bridge the gap between minority and low-income communities and court leadership through collaborative efforts that will increase public trust and confidence in the states’ courts.