Department of Education: A Call to Action
Educate ourselves, our children, and our communities
We must acknowledge all injustice and cruelty that is happening right now in our country: A global pandemic disproportionately impacting people classified as Black and Latinx; the recent police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis; the grief and rage that has led to widespread protests against the police brutalities primarily targeted at people classified as Black; larger unrest about the vast racialized inequities produced by our institutions; the astronomical wealth inequality in this country; and the dangerousness and instability of our political ecosystem.
We, in the Education Department at Tufts University, firmly stand against these actions, White supremacist fascism, extrajudicial killings of people with Black and Brown bodies at the hands of law enforcement, and broader systems of structural oppression--including those that operate within schools and universities.
These are heavy, sad, confusing, and infuriating days for many of us, but they are also days where it feels like there are opportunities to do better, to work towards a more livable, more just society, and to continue to strive for educational institutions shaped by humanization and radical healing. In fact, everything that we do in this Department is predicated on these very commitments. Teaching and supporting students (in the classrooms and hallways of schools, in museums, and in the public squares, both physical and virtual) is essential culture work. We teach, coach, mentor, counsel, and educate students for the purpose of continually creating the kind of society that we so desperately need.
In schools, for example, this means asking hard questions of ourselves and our students about what we learn and why, as well as engaging in discussion about what matters in learning. It means analyzing the disciplinary systems in our institutions and whose behavior gets policed and punished. It means examining the power relationship between teachers and students. It means calling out how civics and civic engagement are defined and delineated. It means making explicit the hidden and null curricula and reshaping whose stories and ideas are centered and whose stories and ideas are peripheral. In sum, it is about challenging white supremacy and systems of unequal power. All of these issues are urgent. And they require each and every one of us to answer the call to action. Now.