Yesterday, about 2,000 Seattle educators voiced their support for racial equality by wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts. The teachers are part of a group known as Social Equality Educators, which is a subdivision within the Seattle teachers union.
Organizers wanted to draw attention to racial disparities in the school system. Statistics from a 2007 study by the National Center for Education Statistics show that for grades 4 and 8, white students, on average, have higher test scores than black students. Specifically, white students scored at least 26 points higher than black students in all subjects.
Educators believe the disparity is due to unequal access to opportunities. For example, a study conducted by the Department of Education revealed that a quarter of the schools with the highest numbers of African American and Latino students do not offer Algebra II classes.
But that’s only the beginning. Statistics also show that black children were expelled at a rate three times higher than that of white children. Additionally, black children were more than three times as likely to be enrolled in schools where less than 60% of teachers meet certification and license prerequisites.
Statistics like these are what brought teachers and activists together to rally for educational reform. They met early in the morning at Chief Sealth International High School in Seattle to protest what they believe is an unjust education system.
“Black Lives Matter means ‘don’t leave us out,’” said 17-year-old Precious Manning, president of Chief Sealth International High School’s Black Student Union.
Since the event was not sponsored by the school district, educators were asked to leave before students started arriving. However, members of the Black Student Union elected to stay until classes began.
The latest show of solidarity caused quite the stir among the public. While most people were incredibly supportive, others voiced their concerns with the Black Lives Matter movement. Some even likened it to being a “terrorist group.”