Most education reform leaders are white, notes Education Next in Education Reform’s Race Debate.
“Nearly everyone agrees that education reform would benefit from having more leaders of color, to better reflect and include the communities it aims to serve.”
But some advocates believe that “true school reform must be part of a broader social justice campaign led by people of color, which calls for progressive changes to health care, housing, immigration, and economic policies, as well as education.”
Is this a bold call for real social justice or a case of successful, bipartisan reform being overrun by identity politics and left-wing political agendas?
Education reform must discuss issues of race, class, and power, argues Ryan J. Smith of Education Trust-West.
Over the past year, the blogosphere has lit up with thoughtful commentary on this from Chris Stewart, Marilyn Anderson Rhames, and others. And EdLoc, launched by leaders of color across the country, is charting an inclusive third way to advance change in the polarized reform debate.
However, it’s important for education to “retain its collection of strange bedfellows,” he writes. “Recognizing race, class, power, and privilege isn’t a ploy to drive out white liberals or even social conservatives; rather, it is an attempt to help the movement mature.”
Jason Crye of Hispanics for Choice says his five children “don’t have time to wait for Utopia” before they get quality schools.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) is trying to woo Hispanics, writes Crye. However, he believes “Latinos are ill-served by being treated as an accessory to a black-led movement.”
Perhaps this is why just one in three Hispanics expressed support for BLM in a Pew Research Center survey earlier this year, compared to two out of three African Americans. The history and needs of Hispanics are distinct.
One in four U.S. students is Latino, while blacks make up 16 percent of students, he points out. The Latino share is growing, while the black and white share of enrollment is shrinking.
Whites who think people of color should lead should step aside and let people of color lead, writes Robert Pondiscio. “Closing the achievement gap will take decades. Closing the leadership gap can be done this afternoon.