racial equity | KNKX

racial equity

Jordyn Famimiko (left) and Mary Belay are part of a new student group called the Highline Youth Race and Equity Coalition. The group wants students to have a say in teacher hiring committees.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis have sparked a surge of activism among high school students around issues of racial justice.

Students in Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue and other districts in the Puget Sound region have pushed for police officers to be removed from schools. Now, a new student group in the Highline district, south of Seattle, wants youth to have a say in hiring educators.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented a rise in incidents at schools involving racial slurs and discrimination against students of color in the past few years.

But students are increasingly speaking out. This week, educators and students across the country and in Washington state are taking part in the Black Lives Matter at School week of action, which grew out of a movement that began in Seattle in 2016.

Students from the Highline and Renton school districts shared their stories and concerns as students of color at an equity conference in SeaTac hosted by the Rainier Educators of Color Network. The group includes teachers from the Highline, Renton and Kent school districts.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

In his time as superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, Larry Nyland has said that it’s a “moral imperative” to ensure that every kid in Seattle gets a great education. But the district has not managed to eliminate troubling gaps that exist between white kids and students of color in things like test scores and graduation rates.

Joe Mabel / Flickr

 


The University of Washington admitted its most diverse incoming class in the school’s history this year, but black students made up less than 3 percent of that population. Students like Mayowa Aina say that’s no surprise. She saw very few students who looked like her during her five years on campus.

 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The majority of teachers across the country are white. But the student population is much more diverse. A panel of local education experts will be on stage at Town Hall Seattle June 15 for an event called #EducationSoWhite to talk about how that gap can impact everyone inside schools.