Stay Vigilant: Preparing for a New Year

June was a busy month for the Alaska Black Caucus Education Committee. We participated in the Juneteenth Health Fair, highlighting the health benefits of coloring while handing out Juneteenth coloring pages and crayons to children. Committee member Cisco Mercado spoke at the Juneteenth Make It Monday luncheon on behalf of the chair to help share the committee’s mission and goals. 

Monday, June 19, Governor Dunleavy announced $200 million in vetoes to the proposed budget, with over $87 million of those in education. That will impact ASD in the form of predicted budget cuts, according to a June 26 article in the Anchorage Daily News. Therefore, there will be an increase in class sizes, fewer materials provided by schools, and fewer programs. For our students of color and those attending schools in neighborhoods that cannot offer comprehensive extracurricular programs outside the classroom, it is crucial to stay vigilant and advocate for them. 

On June 25, the Education Committee hosted the Alaska Black Caucus Community Conversation “Black children facing Racism before they even begin school.” We were fortunate to get Dr. Tony Jean Dickerson, lead faculty for Martin University’s School of Education’s Teacher Preparation Program, to speak with us. The conversation could have easily continued well beyond the allotted hour. It could have been one we may want to revisit.

The next Community Conversation to be hosted by the Education Committee will be August 20. The topic will be “It Takes a Village: Holding educators, community, families, and students accountable for academic and behavioral expectations in our schools.” The intention is to start the school year with a positive mindset for everyone in the community and understand that we all contribute to the education of our students (even community members who do not have children). 

Due to travel schedules, our July meeting will take place via email. The committee is honing in on issues to bring to the school board in the fall. The 2023-2024 ASD School Board meeting schedule was released last week. The chair hopes that meeting attendance can be divided among committee members so that we have a strong presence this upcoming school year.