On Monday, November 12, Black Students in Public Policy (BSiPP) hosted the Education Policy Forum: Advocating for Education in a Unique Political Climate. The event featured a discussion on policies and issues affecting marginalized student groups in public schools today.
John King Jr., former U.S. Secretary of Education, shared his insight in creating and advocating for inclusive policies in the federal and non-governmental sectors, and how his personal background in attending and working in public schools shaped his passion for education policy. The discussion covered an array of diverse issues including transgender bathrooms; disproportionate school expulsion rates of black girls and boys; the low rate of black male teachers and hiring practices; college affordability and access; and school funding formulas. The audience included faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students representing various departments.
“My main takeaway from this event is that education policy affects everyone and almost everything, but particularly those that are underserved and underrepresented,” said MPP student Morgan Johnson, president of BSiPP and co-organizer of the event. “Dr. King discussed how education policy intersects with health policy, housing policy, immigration policy and much more, and I think as future policymakers it is important we connect these issues and work to understand how identity plays a vital role in the creation and implementation of education policy.”
King expressed the invaluable need for teachers and education advocates to work together in developing equitable policies that benefit students. He stated that, “we need intentional efforts by school districts to go out and recruit a diverse faculty. We need boards of education and superintendents to commit to faculties that are more diverse.”
MPP student Dariya Brown said, “Dr. King’s remarks show that valuing diversity is not enough. Leaders across the country need to make conscious and deliberate efforts to create, promote and uphold diversity initiatives.”
Throughout the event, King urged and encouraged students to advocate for education at all levels of government and learn from teachers, principles and students to truly make a difference.
You can find photos from the event on the SPP Flickr.