October 28, 2016
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GA Parents Urged To Fight For Equity In Schools


ATLANTA -- While each year nearly 28,000 students of color do not graduate from Georgiahigh schools, the State Board of Education's recent decision to pass Common Core State Standards presents a critical opportunity to close the achievement gap and graduate every student in the state prepared for college and work. That was the message the Campaign for High School Equity (CHSE) shared with Georgia's education and community leaders at meetings this week to discuss strategies for successful implementation of Common Core State Standards.

"Common Core State Standards present a viable solution for our students, but this framework is not a silver bullet," saidMichael Wotorson, executive director of CHSE. "These standards have the potential to build upon, strengthen, and advance the already-established Georgia Performance Standards and create benchmarks for truly understanding and measuring every student's achievement. But as implementation of the standards takes shape, we need to remember we're at the beginning of the process. The efficacy of this effort will be defined by the role that communities of color have in its implementation."

Yesterday, CHSE joined the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), 100 Black Men of Atlanta, and the W.E.B. Du Bois Society in hosting a meeting for Georgia parents, the local PTA, and other equity stakeholders in the state to develop a clear, collective understanding of Common Core State Standards among members of the community whose involvement will be necessary for the successful implementation of the framework in the state.

"Common Core State Standards reassure parents in Georgia that, regardless of where they live, their children will receive an adequate education that will prepare them with the necessary skills and knowledge to be competitive in a global economy," said Isabel SanceAtlanta program director for MALDEF. "But in order for all children to benefit from this initiative, the necessary support for teachers, students, and parents needs to be in place when the standards are implemented at each school."

According to CHSE, standards that do not take the unique needs of students of color into account will miss the mark and ultimately do communities across the country a disservice, making it critical that communities become engaged in the implementation of Common Core State Standards. Specifically, parents and leaders in the community must call on state education authorities to ensure that communities of color and Native communities are integral partners in the implementation and evaluation of Common Core State Standards; that standards are aligned to assessments and professional development for teachers and adequate student support systems; that the concerns of communities of color and Native communities are addressed; and that standards are aligned to appropriate assessments for reliably measuring student achievement.

CHSE is a coalition of leading civil rights organizations representing communities of color that is focused on high school education reform. Members include the National Urban League, National Council of La Raza, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, League of United Latin American Citizens, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, Alliance for Excellent Education, National Indian Education Association, and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center.

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