It takes 21 days to form a habit. 

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Week 2: Education
Today's Challenge: School Segregation
Welcome to week two of the 21 Day Racial Equity & Social Justice Challenge 2020. This week we will discuss the history and impact of inequity within our education systems. Over 65 years ago, the landmark ruling in the Brown vs. Board of Education declared racial segregation unconstitutional, yet today we see our schools continue to be just as segregated, if not more than in 1954. The result of this continued segregation has perpetuated a lasting negative effect on children and communities of color. Today we will explore that history and its continued and renewed impact on our education system.

The Clinton 12

Clinton, Tennessee played a key role in the start of the Civil Rights movement with the “Clinton 12.” Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown vs. Board of Education (1954) that segregation was inherently unequal, twelve Black students registered without incident for Clinton High School. In the weekend following this, crowds of white pro-segregationists gathered to rally in protest. Even still, the “Clinton 12” made history by walking to school as the first students to desegregate a public high school in Tennessee and the first to do so in any southern state. We encourage you to check out the Green McAdoo Center in Clinton.
Watch this four minute video from the National Education Association about the Clinton 12.

We Challenge You To Take...

Districts can draw school zones to make classrooms more or less racially segregated. Read this quick article and find your school district to see how well it's doing.
Read this quick piece to better understand how America has used schools as a weapon against Indigenous People. From years of coercive assimilation and historical trauma, generations of children find themselves suffering with subpar education outcomes.
Read this article on how busing within school districts was implemented as a way to break segregation’s stranglehold within the education system and its impact on generations of students. Find out how in 2020, we find our schools continue to be segregated. 
As the child population becomes “majority-minority,” racial segregation remains high, income segregation among families with children increases, and the political and policy landscape undergoes momentous change, it s a crucial time to consider the consequences of segregation for children’s opportunity and wellbeing. Read this study presented at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies in April 2017.

Education Week Action Items

  • Read this brief intro on school segregation and bring together a small group of colleagues, family or friends to participate in one of 6 interactive activities. 

  • Before reading Tuesday's material, create a quick list of your top 5 favorites books, that you read in high school. Keep these in the back of your mind as you move through the day's content. After reading the content, take a look at the authors of the books on your list and answer the following questions. Is there any racial/ethnic diversity? How did the cannon affect your viewpoint as a young pupil? Now create a list of 5 books you would add to the high school cannon that you feel all students should read.

  • Check out this map and see which school district you are located in within Knox County. Write a letter to your  school board representative or attend your next school board meeting to bring up a big issue of concern.

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