It is week 118 of our new reality and many of the policies put in place a half century ago still shape the educational landscape of our country and constrain the opportunities of our children.
In a new episode of the New York Times podcast Still Processing, Wesley Morris “revisits a highway that he walked across as a kid. He never knew how deeply it had transformed the neighborhood it ran through … Wesley would occasionally cross the Vine Street Expressway as a kid — and he remembered that there was ‘a big to-do’ when it was getting built. But he never considered how its construction impacted the Chinatown neighborhood that it carved through. What happened to all the people who were living there? How did their lives — and their communities — get altered? And why did it take so long for Wesley to ask himself these questions? Wesley returned to his hometown to try to find out.”
These are the same kind of questions 50CAN President Derrell Bradford asked about the way residential assignment works in America. It led him to the conclusion that we can’t hope to achieve true educational opportunities until we right the historic wrongs of educational redlining. That’s why 50CAN’s Believe in Better policy agenda makes breaking down these barriers central to our work.
Last time in the New Reality Roundup, we took stock of the tragedy in Uvalde with reactions from the leaders of our western states and looked at the immediate need for mental health resources after the challenges of the last two years.
This week, we return to examining differing approaches to recovery, including Mississippi, where curricular changes and a smart use of federal stimulus dollars have led to success, and New York City, where an unwise use of federal funds have hamstrung the new mayor.
FROM THE FIELD
Victor Evans, executive director of TennesseeCAN, continues to spread the good news about the landmark school funding reform bill he helped to pass last month, including speaking on a panel to celebrate the new law. He’s also commented on the recent Tennessee Supreme Court decision that affirmed the constitutionality of the state’s ESA legislation.
NewMexicoKidsCAN’s Amanda Aragon weighed in on the departure of education secretary Kurt Steinhaus, the state’s third superintendent in the last three years, in an article for the Santa Fe New Mexican. “I am worried about the department’s ability to execute important work,” she said.
50CAN President Derrell Bradford joined the Learning Curve podcast, in a discussion over school shootings, lynching and the advocacy of Ida B. Wells.
Moment of Resilience
The 2022 cohort of our National Voices Fellowship met last week in Washington DC to build their media skills and to engage in discussions on contemporary political discourse and the future of American education. We’re tremendously excited to hear their unique perspectives over the course of the coming year, and invite you to learn more about the 2022 fellows’ backgrounds.