Black Caucus calls for racial equity in education

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus continued to set the stage for its fall legislative agenda Wednesday, calling a news conference and committee hearing to discuss education policy.

Education and workforce development make up one of four pillars on the agenda unveiled by the caucus earlier this month. The others are criminal justice reform, violence and police accountability; economic access, equity and opportunity; and health care and human services.

Caucus members are hosting a series of committees on the various pillars ahead of the fall veto session, which is scheduled Nov. 17 to Nov. 19 and Dec. 1 to Dec. 3. Caucus Chair Kimberly Lightford, a Maywood Democrat and Senate Majority leader, said Black Caucus members would like to take the whole session to address items on their agenda.

“Black people matter,” state Rep. Will Davis, a Hazel Crest Democrat and member of a House education appropriations committee, said

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Improve Racial Education, Don’t Ban It | Opinion

Amid an ongoing cultural reckoning that’s spotlighted anti-Black racism in the U.S, educators around the country are searching for new ways to teach Black history in their classrooms. To this end, many public school districts are incorporating the New York Times’ “The 1619 Project” into their curriculum. The 1619 Project is an interactive project (originally consisting of essays, poems, fiction, and photos, now adapted into a podcast and free online curriculum) that reexamines U.S history by centering African slavery in our understanding of America’s past and present, beginning in 1619 — the year the first slave ship arrived on America’s shores. The effort positions slavery — often woefully mistaught in U.S schools — and its legacy as critical to understanding wide-ranging aspects of American society and history.

The 1619 Project being incorporated into schools has drawn outrage and criticism from Republican lawmakers. In July, Senator Tom Cotton ’98 (R-Ark.), a

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Massachusetts higher education system receives $1.2 million in grant funding to make transformation toward racial justice and equity

The state Department of High Education more than a year ago applied for grants with a goal of pursuing equity and racial justice across public colleges and universities.

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Now, the department has announced that it has been awarded more than $1.2 million in grant dollars to do that work, which comes as the country is in the midst of tense conversations about race and the treatment of Black and Brown people in America. Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos Santiago said the dollars will help transform the system of public higher education.

The funding is from Lumina Foundation’s Talent, Innovation, Equity initiative grant and its Equity Institution grant. The dollars will help statewide and will also go to six institutions. Campuses receiving the grants are Holyoke Community College, Bridgewater State University, Bunker Hill Community College, Greenfield Community College, UMass Boston and Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

“We

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