In a call to continue to address equity and parity, a meeting was held Dec. 11 to discuss the disproportionate impact of Rochester City School District budget cuts on Black educators, especially Black teachers and other educators of color.
The gathering , which took place at the FIGHT Village community room, 186 Ward. Street, was convened by RCSD Board Commissioner, Rev. Judith Davis in conjunction with RCSD parents, grandparents and guardians, the Take It Down Planning Committee, the Faith Community Alliance/Movement for Anti-racist Ministry and Action Coalition, and community members.
Commissioner Davis released the following press statement leading up to the session: “The Rochester City School District has a major initiative, the Racial Equity Advocacy Leadership (REAL) team, that has worked over the past two years to develop a district-wide Racial Equity Action Plan.
The Plan is to initially address, among other things, the under-representation of race and class-conscious Black Educators, especially Black Teachers, and other Educators of Color in the District by promoting a workforce that reflects the diversity of the RCSD student body.
The REAL team as a permanent body works with the Superintendent to assist in the development, implementation and monitoring of the District’s Plan. A last hired, first fired, strict seniority-based policy historically has had a grossly disproportionate, negative impact on Black Educators, especially Black Teachers, and other Educators of Color.
“The Rochester Teachers Association heavily publicized the idea that more positions could be made available for Black Educators, especially Black Teachers, and other Educators of Color by offering retirement incentives to higher paid educators, which the Board did approve and provide.
Since negotiations are currently taking place with bargaining units, this is an opportune time to raise discussions about the Board, Superintendent, bargaining units, parents, grandparents, students and the community working together to have restrictive, regressive, seniority laws changed. Constant movement toward racial equity in staffing must be maintained, even during difficult financial times,” she concluded.