Equity Platform and Policy

In Spring 2018, Teachers’ Democracy Project (TDP) partnered with Baltimore Movement of Rank-and-File Educators (BMORE) members, a parent from the Parent Community Advisory Board (PCAB), a community advocate, and TDP staff to produce an equity policy which we hope will create a framework for what the district might adopt. As a part of this work we came up with a platform that we think encompasses the equity areas that concern parents, teachers and many allied organizations. 

Team members included:

Natalia Bacchus, Teacher, BMORE

Diamonté Brown, Teacher, BMORE

Corey Gaber, Teacher, BMORE

Trish Garcia Pilla, Parent, PCAB

Edwin Green Jr., Former Teacher, Advocate

Antinnea Skipwith, TDP Staff

Rebecca Yenawine, TDP Staff

The platform incorporated feedback from:

Helen Atkinson, TDP Advisor

Lawrence Brown, Morgan State University

Julia Dibussolo, Arts Everyday

Keysha Goodwin, Paraprofessional, BMORE

Pat Halle, Disability Rights Advocate

Ralikh Hayes, Baltimore Education Coalition

Rob Helfenbein, Loyola University

Frank Patinella, ACLU

Jessica Shiller, Towson University

Kim Trueheart, Advocate

The Schools Baltimore Deserves

TDP worked with a team of fellows to produce an equity policy which we hoped would create a framework for what the district might adopt. As a part of this work we came up with a platform that we thought encompassed the equity areas that concern parents and teachers and many allied organizations.

The following vision for Equitable Baltimore Schools was researched, discussed in small groups, and in a series of public forums with a wide range of community members. This platform is focused on schools but acknowledges that the state of education is inextricably linked with a racially-based, systemic disinvestment in housing, health resources, jobs and economic infrastructure in Black communities. Our city will not thrive until we simultaneously address the impact that systemic oppression has on Black students lives.

This platform expresses what we believe the school system needs in order to move toward repairing past harm and creating equity in education in Baltimore.

All Baltimore City Schools Need:

Curriculum and teaching that’s relevant to students lives and meets the learning needs of all

We want students to be engaged and to feel like learning is relevant to their lives. We expect a focus on experiential and culturally responsive teaching and curriculum, access to the arts, the hiring and retention of homegrown teachers and teachers to have training and access to materials and supplies to meet the learning needs of youth with disabilities and English language learners. We support the demand for better teaching/learning conditions which includes time allotted for teachers to be able to plan, collaborate, and provide special assistance to students as needed.

Healthy school culture through Restorative Practices

To ensure that schools create a positive sense of community, we expect implementation of Restorative Practices. These are a set of practices that improve how young people (and adults) are treated in schools by focusing on building relationships and helping the school community to treat conflict as an opportunity for growth.

Sustainable Community Schools

We expect all schools to be community schools where the community determines their needs and how those needs are met. These schools should be places where stakeholders have access to the supports and services they need. This could include health services, enrichment classes and after school programs that help support the development of the whole child and equitably include students with disabilities.

Parents, community, teachers and students as vital voices in schools

We expect schools to be places where parents, guardians, teachers, students and school community leaders are valued and work collaboratively and democratically to improve schools.  This should be evident all the way from how various groups are involved in school reflection and accountability, the degree to which all stakeholders are sought out and respected in decision making, to how visitors are greeted and how guardians are included and communicated with.

Equitable funding for Maryland’s public schools

The amount allocated needs to surpass MD states standards of “adequacy” and include reparations for systemic and racist disinvestment. We support the Kirwan Commission’s proposal that  in order to attract and retain quality teachers, there must be an intentional effort to create more time for professional responsibilities such as receiving mentoring, collaborative planning, connecting with parents and tutoring young people who need support.

This platform was also made into a set of policy recommendations. A PDF of all the recommendations can be downloaded here.