State Reps. Maureen Madden and Malcolm Kenyatta
How far have we come, and how far do we have to go to diminish — and possibly eradicate — racism in high schools and college campuses?
Our hearing on racism on the topic pulled the curtain on the continued systematic injustice towards minority students on high school and college campuses and the lack of diversity in educators. In some Pennsylvania school districts there is a blatant lack of effort to recruit and retain educators of color and that is problematic.
The historic limited access to education for people of color is still happening. Students shared their stories of the mental, physical and emotional toll their experiences with racism and discrimination have had on their well-being. Fortunately, these students turned their painful experiences into meaningful advocacy. Their testimony showed the challenge facing educational institutions in Pennsylvania.
Educators, including teachers and administrators play a large role in dispelling hate in their schools. It’s imperative that they are reflective of the communities that they represent but the statistics show, they don’t.
While students of color make up 33 percent of Pennsylvania’s population, less than 5 percent of teachers are people of color. Across the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education faculty, 4 percent are Black, 3 percent are Hispanic and just 6 percent are Asian. When students see a diversity that reflects them in their educators, it shows promise. It shows hope. It lets them know that they can achieve that same success in life.
Testifier Tameko Patterson, Stroudsburg Area School Board director and chairperson of the Education and Legal Redress Committees for the Monroe County Branch of the NAACP, said there are so many complaints from the various school districts such as:
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