New York, NY — Today, the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice rallied on the steps of Tweed Courthouse in support of ongoing implicit bias trainings in NYC schools. The New York City Council Progressive Caucus stands with the coalition in calling for culturally responsive education for all NYC students.

Recently New York CIty implemented a Culturally Responsive Education Plan, including implicit bias training to address the systemic racism in our schools. The goal of these programs is to create a more inclusive learning environment for students of color, who make up 85% of enrolled students. These programs aim to address issues such as the lower expectations white teachers have of students of color compared to white students and the fact that only 15% of children’s books were written by African American or Latino Authors or focused on African American or Latino characters. In the most diverse city in the country, this is completely unacceptable, and extremely detrimental to the educational experience of all NYC students. The Progressive Caucus continues to stand with education advocates and will fight to improve the education of students from all backgrounds.

Opponents of these programs claim that they devalue the efforts of New York’s white teachers, and will hurt student performance. This initiative in no way targets the efforts of white educators, but enhances their skills to better meet the needs of our diverse student bodies. Additionally, in other cities where these programs have been implemented, dropout rates and suspensions decreased, while GPA and graduation rates increased for all students. These unfactual claims from Conservative news outlets are based in fear-mongering and seek to keep the deep inequities in our system intact.

We will continue to support Chancellor Richard Carranza’s efforts to tackle issues such as school segregation and the over-policing of students of color. These trainings will not only enhance the experience and confidence of students of color, but improve their educational achievement levels. These programs have been proven to work, the City should continue to invest in these programs to combat New York’s still heavily segregated school systems.

“Our students have the right to learn in an environment that respects the culture and background of all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Debi Rose, Member of the Progressive Caucus. “For far too long this has not been the case. I support Chancellor Carranza’s efforts to root systemic racism and implicit biases from our educational system, and I look forward to the day that every New York City public school shares a commitment to racial equity and culturally responsive education.

“It is critical that we not lose sight of why implicit bias trainings are becoming more commonplace in institutions across our society. We are working to address decades, if not centuries, of deep-seated racism, sexism, and other systemic forms of oppression. As chair of the Committee on Women and Gender Equity, I recognize the profound destructiveness of implicit bias and, as difficult as it is, why we must address it,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Member of the Progressive Caucus.

“With great power comes great responsibility, that is why as a City we should be educating our children in a way that is culturally responsive and include implicit bias training for teachers and administrators. Our school system can and should be a place where children from all backgrounds feel supported, “said Council Member Ben Kallos, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus.

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