November 18, 2020

Featured News

Joe Biden Promises Education Justice--Will He Deliver?

In December 2019, the Schott Foundation co-hosted a first-of-its-kind presidential candidate forum in Pittsburgh. Seven leading contenders for the Democratic nomination directly faced questions from students, parents, and educators. Joe Biden was among them. 

During that forum, Biden made important pledges to the more than one thousand grassroots activists in attendance.  Among his commitments, Biden pledged to:

  • Triple funding for Title I, the federal funding that goes to schools in low-income neighborhoods, including funds for increased educator salaries;

  • Fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), which since its passage has never been allocated the funds needed;

  • Provide high-quality, universal pre-kindergarten for all three- and four-year-olds;

  • Double the number of psychologists, counselors, nurses, social workers, and other health professionals in public schools; 

  • Dramatically expand the number of community schools nationwide to serve at least an additional 300,000 students; and 

  • Dedicate federal infrastructure funds to rebuild public schools.

The question is, will he honor the commitments he made? He has asked Linda Darling-Hammond to lead his transition team on education issues. Darling-Hammond has been an advocate of high-quality teacher preparation, teacher professional development, and efforts to retain teachers in the profession. She is also an ally of teacher unions. Four members of the twenty-member transition team are from teacher unions (all of the education transition team members are volunteers). Additionally, Biden has pledged to appoint a teacher as Secretary of education. Dr. Jill Biden’s influence on education issues is sure to make an impact in this area. She has committed to continue to teach while serving as First Lady and is a staunch advocate of public education and teachers.

Resources and Connections


Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse culture, traditions, histories, and often ignored contributions of Native people. Nationally, only 2 percent of teachers identify as American Indian or Alaskan Native. Educators can work to ensure their curriculum is culturally responsive by incorporating content representing Ingenious peoples’ histories and cultures--which are often underrepresented in American history. These resources can help educators do just that.

The most recent protests for the Black Lives Matter movement, and racial justice consequently led to positive changes for Native Peoples - renaming the Washington NFL team, exposure of medical racism in Indian Country, and the removal of racist monuments. The IllumiNATIVE Project acknowledges this as good momentum to continue to do the work of undoing the centuries of settler colonialism's erasure. “Invisibility creates a void that is filled with toxic and negative stereotypes that have been perpetuated and institutionalized by K-12, pop culture, media, and other sectors. These harmful stereotypes have been used to justify racist campaigns and slurs, build pipelines on sacred lands, and pass policies that negatively impact our sovereignty and our communities.” Their "Reclaim Native Truth" project, a $3.3 million public opinion research and strategy setting initiative, resulted in comprehensive data and learning about the challenges and opportunities that Native Americans face in educating Americans and changing public perceptions. Here are their top findings:

  • Invisibility is the modern form of bias against Native Americans;

  • The majority of Americans know little to nothing about Native Americans;

  • Many Americans are not clear how many Native peoples still exist;

  • Invisibility is one of the biggest barriers Native peoples face in advocating for tribal sovereignty, equity & social justice;

  • Stereotypes and myths inform many Americans that all Native Americans receive federal government benefits and are enriching themselves off of tribal gaming;

  • Many of the judges and law clerks interviewed admitted to knowing little about tribal sovereignty and Federal Indian Law; and

  • Findings show how invisibility, erasure, stereotypes, and false narratives underlie the stories being told right now about Native people in the 21st century.

Here is the opportunity and hope moving forward:

  • 78% of Americans are interested in learning more about Native cultures and that strong majorities support Native positions on most issues;

  • 72% of Americans support significant changes to K-12 curricula to ensure accurate Native history and culture is taught in schools; and

  • 78% of Americans polled support increased representation and inclusion of Native Americans in entertainment.

Education Commission of the States

50-State Comparison: State Post-secondary Governance Structures. This resource provides a comprehensive summary of the various entities that make up post-secondary governance ecosystems in each state and the District of Columbia.

In the News

The 74 Million

How Black and Latino Youth Fueled Biden’s Win. In key states that swung from red to blue, young voters of color may have ‘single-handedly made Biden competitive.  President-elect Joe Biden might have won the White House. Still, his expansive education plan will soon hit a Congress with far fewer Democrats than envisioned under the “Blue Wave” forecast before the election.

Connecticut Public WNPR

Connecticut's Department of Education is preparing to review and approve a new Black and Latinx history curriculum for all public schools in the state. Last year Connecticut passed a law requiring schools to offer the course. When the new curriculum is approved next month, it will reportedly be the first statewide Black and Latinx history course in the country. It will be required in schools in the fall of 2022.

Please note that the articles and events in the NCTR E-Blast do not reflect the opinions of our organization, but rather represent information that we believe will be relevant to you and your programs.

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