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Modern Day Racism in Education

Release Date: 

August 24, 2020

The State Board of Education hosted a student voice panel on August 24 from 12:30-2:00 p.m. facilitated by Margarita Amezcua (SBE's west-side student Board member). The session was entitled "Modern Day Racism in Education."

The goal of this panel was to give policymakers a better understanding of the problems that students of color face in the education system and the broader world, so that policy actions can be informed by student voice. Over 200 people registered to listen to the experiences of students Mineva Misiaita (Auburn Riverside High School), AJ Lopez (Bainbridge High School), Shreya Mehta (Hanford High School), Jennifer Tran (Foster High School), Shafaq Buttar (Foster High School), Ally Sutherland (Woodinville High School), Alicia Ing (recent graduate, Renton High School), and Margarita Amezcua (Auburn Riverside High School). Special thanks to those students who shared their view! Check out the video recording of this session, and find the audio transcript linked here: video audio transcript.

Highlight quotes from panelists: 

"I see equity as having the resources to make sure everyone can be successful, but also taking the extra steps to make sure those resources get to the ones who need it most..." - AJ Lopez

"A lot of students when they do learn about their history, it's about oppression. That's not fair for them to only learn about their oppression. When we start adding in a more worldly perspective of the world, not only will it make our students more knowledgeable, and lead with an accurate perception of what history was and what other ethnic groups contributed to society, not just white Americans, I think that's where equity needs to be implemented." - Ally Sutherland

"We need to be more open about education and not be so white washed. At the end of the day, students are facing discrimination based on the color of their eyes..." - Shafaq Buttar

"Our curriculum and the stories we tell through them should be both a mirror and a window. We should be able to see our own experiences mirrored in our education, but also have a window into the experiences of other students unlike ourselves." - Alicia Ing

"It really effects your mindset when you see all the eurocentric-based history, you're like oh, so where were my people? But if you look, you know your culture helped out with everything."- Mineva Misiaita

"It's so important to implement ethnics studies from K-12. In one semester of ethnic studies, you can only teach so much about what's going in the world." - Jennifer Tran 

Some attendee comments: 
"I just want to say - this has been amazing. Your sharings have been very helpful. My wish would be that this would be required viewing for everyone in education, and an their own action list to follow! Thank you again for your courage to speak your truth. So valuable!" - SBE Vice Chair, MJ Bolt

"This is precisely the information we need more of to better inform everyone who considers themselves to have a stake in education. I appreciate you all! Thank you!" - Associate Education Ombuds, Yordanos Gebreamlak

"As a longtime advocate for Ethnic Studies, thanks for your insightful comments on this. Y’all are SO RIGHT!" - Washington Education Assocation Board of Directors, Michael Peña

Update (September 17):

At the September 2020 Board meeting, student Board member, Margarita Amezcua answered Board member questions and reflected on the student voice panel.

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Media Contact: 

Stephanie Davidsmeyer
Communications Manager
360-764-0522