Parents Leading for Educational Equity (PLEE) “is a newly founded, parent-led, grassroots organization with a mission to fight for parent voice in education decision-making, and for access to a high-quality public school option for all children of color.”
The group looks to:
- Leverage collective knowledge and power among Rhode Island families to exercise our right to advocate for high-quality public schools, policy decisions that impact our kids; and
- Demand the voice of parents in education decision-making at the local and state level; and
- Advocate for policies that positively impact outcomes for children of color; and
- Collaborate with other Rhode Island organizations aligned with PLEE’s mission and vision.
PLEE has released a letter, addressed to “Rhode Island Political Stakeholders” demanding a “better education for children of color” and they are looking for supporters to sign on.
Here’s the letter. Click here to sign onto the letter.
December 3, 2018
Dear Rhode Island POLITICAL STAKEHOLDERS (State and municipal elected officials, education leaders, union leaders, teachers, and anyone who considers themselves an education advocate or advocate for children of color),
We, Rhode Island parents of color, our allies and accomplices, are calling on political stakeholders to take immediate steps in 2019 to address the state of education for all Rhode Island children, but especially for children of color who continue to lag far behind their white counterparts.
Allow us to be very clear: we will not accept the usual excuses that our kids are too poor and our homes are too broken for our babies to learn. Understand that our current system of education is one that was not built to serve the changing demographics and needs in our urban core. Our children are multilingual. They are rich in cultural experiences that our education system has yet to fully embrace. Please stop painting a broad brush. Our entire communities should not be considered too poor or too broken to rise up and meet high academic expectations. Please stop romanticizing our poverty and our circumstances to the point where you limit yourself to thinking that loving our children is enough. We know our children deserve to feel loved at school and we are grateful to all the humans who show up every single day to school ready to pour all of their love into our babies. We are also asking you to understand that love without unapologetic high expectations is not enough.
In Central Falls, Pawtucket, Woonsocket, and Providence School Districts, on average, only 17.8 percent of 3rd graders met expectations in math. In English Language Arts (ELA), only 18.5 percent of 3rd graders met expectations according to the recently released RICAS results. It gets much worse. Only 5.2 percent of 8th graders in the same communities met expectations in math and only 7.3 percent of those 8th graders met expectations in ELA (Reading). These percentages simply affirm what we already know. Overall, Rhode Island schools have not been serving our children well. We know these numbers do not reflect who our students are and what they are capable of achieving.
Rhode Island Parents of Color: Enough is enough. We must demand more for our children from all political stakeholders. Join our movement in demanding the following:
- Governor Gina Raimondo, Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, and Senate President Dominick Ruggiero: The FY 2020 budget should include significantly more funding for the urban core districts to meet the needs of students with special needs, multilingual learners, newcomers, as well as funding to address failing career and college advising programs, high student-staff ratios, among other things. We also want accountability measures for how the dollars are spent.
- Members of the Rhode Island General Assembly: Every moment you spend advocating for education, must include more funding and accountability measures for school leaders and teachers.
- White parents and those not sending your children to urban school districts: you must have our back. Your privilege and ability to pay for private school and/or move to a more affluent community with “good schools” does not mean you should not care about the state of Rhode Island public schools. Fight with us.
- Union leaders and teachers: Stop accusing anyone who criticizes the state of our schools as being anti-teacher. Don’t vilify us for demanding more from you. Stand with us as we fight for more funding, better practices that support students and teachers, and more accountability for union and non-union adults in schools who are not doing right by kids. We need you to fight alongside us.
- Municipal leaders, superintendents, and school boards: You have reached complicity. The alarms have been sounding long enough. District leaders in the urban core should be crafting a radical list of demands of each other and the state.
- Community organizations/leaders serving families of color: Show up with us and for us. Let’s put pressure on the current state of education and force it to move in a direction that best serves our children.
We do not simply want more meetings that delay actual actions. We have sat in too many of them. We want meetings that lead to concrete action steps that will support the academic learning and advancement of our children. You are either in or out. Your move, Rhode Island.
Rhode Island parents of color and allies fighting for a better education