A statement from People for Education on anti-Black racism
Anti-Black racism is a reality in our society and in our schools.
For many years, People for Education has focused on a range of inequities in Ontario’s education system, but never explicitly enough on the racism that permeates the system. And by being silent on the issue, we have been complicit in the problem.
We have talked about the problems with streaming in high school, about the inequities caused by fundraising, and about how we must expand education’s goals far beyond the old ideas of “the basics” in order to ensure that all young people had an equitable chance for long-term success.
But what we failed to do in those articles, reports, and findings, was to analyze and assess the connection to racism, to anti-Black racism specifically, and to the importance of working to eradicate systemic racism from our school system.
People for Education is making a commitment to change. We will examine programs and resources in Ontario’s schools through our Annual Ontario School Survey, with an inclusion of research and commentary on race and racism in the school system. In our ‘resources on education’ curation process, we will ensure that research and articles addressing race, anti-Black racism, and inclusion are highlighted.
It is absolutely clear that society, and our institutions must change. At People for Education, we believe that our publicly funded schools can play a key role in that change. But for that to happen, we have to be willing – all of us – to be open, transparent and public about the problems.
There is some incredible work being done in school boards; by teachers around the province; by Pat Case in his leadership role at the Education Equity Secretariat; and by researchers and school leaders who continue to work to ensure that there is evidence to support the need for change.
Our work at People for Education is to bring evidence to light, and to advocate for change that will build a stronger and more equitable education for students. Our commitment is to end our silence on racism. We will support others’ work on these issues, we will listen and learn and shine a light on possible solutions. We will be reflective and challenge each other on issues of racism and injustice as a board and staff team that form the organization, and ensure that our research never fails to address the impact of systemic racism.