This is the third in a series of five articles on expanding educational opportunity in North Carolina on Education NC, culminating in the release of the Public School Forum’s Study Group XVI final report — Expanding Educational Opportunity in North Carolina: Action Plan and Recommendations. The author served as one of the co-chairs of the Study Group’s Committee on Racial Equity, along with Deena Hayes-Greene of the Greensboro-based Racial Equity Institute.

Neither a conversation nor any real meaningful planning can take place around expanding educational opportunity in North Carolina without addressing issues of equitable access of ALL students to a quality education. In the soon to be released action plan and recommendations by the Public School Forum of North Carolina’s Study Group XVI, titled Expanding Educational Opportunity in North Carolina, committee members focused their collective expertise on three areas: Trauma & Learning, Racial Equity, and Low Performing Schools. Taking a student-centered approach, the Racial Equity Committee bravely tackled race and racism as an underlying issue to inequities and lack of access by students of color in North Carolina.

In addressing the issue of racial equity, members of the Public School Forum Board of Directors, along with Forum staff, solicited committee membership by education stakeholders from across the state of North Carolina to look at racial inequities. More than 60 individuals — including active and retired public school teachers and administrators, college and university staff and faculty, various governmental agency staff, as well as a number of individuals affiliated with nonprofit community organizations — joined the Racial Equity Committee. As one might imagine, given a group of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences, the ideas on race and educational inequities were varied and yet vital to approaching and addressing such a sensitive, yet oftentimes charged topic.

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