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Feel free to use as much of this drafted communication as you would like, and customize to fit your needs and intended audience.

Dear _________,

Thank you for your service to our city/county/state/district/country. I’m reaching out to you regarding concerns I have regarding the disproportionate impact of education inequities on some of my most vulnerable fellow constituents.

Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color continue to experience inequities in access to high-quality education–and these disparities have been exacerbated by COVID-19.

According to this recent, well-researched article by McKinsey & Company, the average Black or Hispanic student remains roughly two years behind the average white student, and low-income students continue to be underrepresented among top performers. This situation ultimately leads to lower high school completion rates, barriers to college entrance, limited future job options, lower paying or less stable jobs, less flexibility to change jobs or miss work due to illness, and less money for food, health care, and other important living needs.

“Education equity” means offering individualized support to students that addresses barriers like poverty, malnutrition, illnesses, exposure to abuse or violence, and limited transportation. Persons, such as myself and my family, who have enjoyed significant education equity and privileges can and must work toward extending these privileges to students who don’t possess them.

To address this emergency, I’m requesting that you please do all you can to enact or influence adoption of policies that:

  • Address disproportionate COVID-19-related impacts on BIPOC students–most of which were needed before the pandemic and will be needed long after the pandemic subsides:
  • mandate distance learning for all school districts
  • provide health care and mental health care benefits to families who lack them
  • fund food and housing for families who lack these resources
  • provide access to broadband for all public school students
  • provide access to a growing body of available tutors, funded through the efforts of both non-profit and profit organizations, to ensure BIPOC students get the hands-on learning they need
  • during school closures, provide access to special needs educational professionals for students needing hands-on services
  • Enact public policies and legislation that financially support public schools committed to identifying and setting high, worthwhile, and attainable goals that help BIPOC students close the achievement gap.
  • Organize and elicit problem-solving and solutions-focused dialogue and collaboration among community organizations and leaders, parents, and schools, ensuring that, as this article states, “the success of the school becomes the success of the community.”
  • Increase diversity and cultural competence in the teaching and school counselor workforce, by recruiting and retaining teachers and counselors of color who look like their students and can identify with the uniqueness of their cultural heritage–and through training that equips all teachers and counselors to meaningfully and sensitively discuss race with their students and avoid microaggressions such as criticizing students’ hair styles.
  • Eliminate “zero tolerance” types of disciplinary processes that increase the odds of BIPOC children not being in the classroom or the school itself.
  • Increase the breadth and depth of scholarships, from both non-profit and for-profit organizations, available to BIPOC students.
  • Fund and require multilingual education opportunities for all public schools.
  • Fund and require additional curriculum that educates all public school students on the unique histories of Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color.
  • Fund and require all states and public school districts to consistently and regularly evaluate disproportionate impacts of standardized testing on BIPOC students.
  • Require all school districts to enact a specific, consistent, and transparent process regarding “advanced” and “special needs” categorization of children, with an emphasis on eliminating inequitable categorization of BIPOC children.
  • Fund school health services to ensure adequate support for children whose parents or guardians do not have adequate healthcare coverage.
  • Fund and expand pro bono legal services in each school district to support BIPOC students who encounter legal issues.
  • Increase funding for construction of additional public schools for districts where classroom overcrowding (which disproportionately impacts BIPOC requiring extra support) is an issue.
  • Enact and enforce anti-bullying measures in public schools, with a focus on addressing racist bullying and ensuring that BIPOC children aren’t unfairly accused of bullying.

Thank you for your time and consideration on these matters. Feel free to contact me if I can provide additional clarity on my requests.

Sincerely,

Your Name

Your City and State

John M. DeMarco is a writer, executive coach, and activist based in Nashville, Tennessee.