New York, NY – Alongside senior representatives of the United Way of New York City, The Eagle Academy Foundation, Teachers College, Columbia University; the Association of Black Educators of New York, Inc. (ABENY), and Black Edfluencers-United (BE-U), the leadership of the New York City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus (BLAC), Council Members I. Daneek Miller and Adrienne Adams, along with New York City Department of Education (DOE) Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter, gathered at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture to formally unveil a groundbreaking initiative designed to pave the way for the institution of a citywide K-12 Black studies curriculum in the nation’s largest school system: the Education Equity Action Plan (EEAP).
The Education Equity Action Plan is the product of a collaboration between the parties that is aimed towards addressing pre-existing, fundamental racial inequities in access to quality education as well as fostering positive educational experiences for scholars of color, which ultimately were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Plan advanced when the City adopted its Fiscal Year 2022 budget this past June.
A $10 million pilot project, the EEAP will serve as the main vehicle for the creation of a comprehensive interdisciplinary curriculum focusing on early African civilizations, the continuum of the Black experience in America, the contributions and achievements of African-diaspora peoples and their impact on the modern world, as well as the role of race in power relationships and the adverse social effects of systemic and institutional racism; all of which will be complimented by a professional development program to support teachers and administrators in ensuring the effective implementation of the curriculum.
The $10 million in FY22 funding for the Education Equity Action Plan is to be allocated in the following amounts:
- The Eagle Academy Foundation - $3.25M
- United Way of New York City - $3.4M
- Black Education Research Collective, Teachers College, Columbia University - $3.25M
- Association of Black Educators of New York, Inc. - $50,000
- Black Edfluencers-United - $50,000
The target timeline for the launch of both the Education Equity Action Plan’s pilot K-12 Black studies curriculum and accompanying professional development program is between the first and second quarter of 2022, and implementation will occur at a select number of DOE schools.
Establishment of both the EEAP’s educational and professional development programs will be led by the Black Education Research Collective (BERC) at Teachers College, Columbia University; in partnership with Eagle Academy Foundation, BE-U, and ABENY, Inc. Additionally, BERC will engage with its partners in research and evaluation processes as well as stakeholder outreach and community engagement. Their efforts will be overseen and administered by an EEAP commission. The search for the commission’s members will be conducted in concert with BERC, and, along with the collective, the appointments made in consultation with United Way, Eagle Academy Foundation, the City Council, and DOE; all of whom will act as EEAP partners and facilitators.
“We made it our mission to secure funding for an inclusive and culturally responsible K-12 black studies curriculum, and thanks to this partnership and coalition of black educators, that vision is now becoming a reality,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller, Co-Chair of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus (BLAC). “We started with simple dialogue, and are now working collaboratively to address years of inadequacy. This Education Equity Action plan derives from nearly a half-century of advocacy, and all these years later, it is truly more important than ever that we are telling our story, not just for our own legacy but to educate the students of the nation’s most diverse and largest public school system about the history and contributions of black people. I want to thank each of our partners who worked on this, including my BLAC Co-Chair, Council Member Adrienne Adams, and all those who helped push this forward. We will continue working to address generations of inequities that have been perpetuated on our young scholars.”
“New York City students need to see their identities, histories, and communities reflected in their educational experiences. For far too long, Black students in particular have not had access to a curriculum where they can learn about the contributions and impact of peoples of the African diaspora,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams, Co-Chair of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus (BLAC). “By establishing the Education Equity Action Plan, we are taking an important step forward toward the creation and implementation of a K-12 Black Studies Curriculum in our public schools. I am proud to have championed this initiative alongside Council Member and BLAC Co-Chair I. Daneek Miller, and to have secured $10 million in funding in the FY22 Budget. I am excited to see the impact that this robust curriculum will have on all of our students.”
"I want to thank Co-Chair Adams, Co-Chair Miller and the Members of the Council's Black, Latino and Asian Caucus for their strong advocacy and partnership in securing $10 million for the Education Equity Action Plan in the adopted Fiscal Year 2022 budget. The Council will continue working closely with educators, advocates, and parents on helping our students to build understanding, appreciation and respect for each other," said New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
"Educational inequities in our schools extend to not only the resources being provided in our classroom, but the curriculum taught there,” said New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams. “It's important that we combat each of these areas of inequity directly, and the Education Equity Action Plan is a critical framework for and path toward a more inclusive, culturally responsive and culturally competent curriculum. Through presenting information and facilitating dialogue, it will help our students be better equipped to understand our history, engage with our current environment, and build new systems for the future. I thank the BLAC for ensuring that this funding was secured in the budget, and thank all the partners helping to make the program a reality."
“The Education Equity Action Plan is an incredible step forward in transforming our education system into one that is more equitable and fosters greater empathy and understanding within our students,” said David C. Banks, President and CEO, The Eagle Academy Foundation. “Our educators and leaders at The Eagle Academy have long fought to change the outcomes for Black and Brown students, and we look forward to making a similar impact on the students of all our city’s public schools through this work. We want to thank our partners, including the leadership at the City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, who have made this vision a reality.”
“United Way of New York City proudly stands as a key partner in the Education Equity Action Plan Initiative. In the creation of a Black history and contributions curriculum for our K-12 schools, we ensure that every single NYC student can benefit from understanding the richness of Black history, which is American history. We also know that a culturally relevant curriculum that helps children identify with their history and inspires them to pursue a successful future is essential for their pathway to success. This is a major step forward and, thanks to this effort, all of society will benefit,” said Marielys Divanne, Vice President of Education, United Way of New York City.
“A rigorous curriculum that truly connects to who students are and the communities they come from is critical to their engagement in the classroom and in their learning,” said NYC Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter. “The Education Equity Action Plan furthers our goal to provide high-quality and culturally responsive resources for all our schools and we look forward to working in partnership with all involved as it’s developed.”
“Ending systemic racism in our society begins with education,” said Thomas Bailey, President, Teachers College, Columbia University. “The Education Equity Action Plan will create an essential new paradigm of Black studies for New York City public school students. Teachers College is honored by the opportunity to apply our deep expertise in culturally relevant education research, curriculum development, pedagogy, and evaluation to this landmark new initiative through leadership from the Black Education Research Collective (BERC). We are proud to work with our partner organizations, who stand at the forefront of the fight for racial equity.”
“Teachers College faculty, students and alumni are actively engaged in supporting culturally relevant and sustaining approaches to education throughout the New York City Department of Education,” said Stephanie Rowley, Provost, Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Teachers College, Columbia University. “The groundbreaking Education Equity Action Plan sets the stage to strengthen and expand that work through an inspired new Black studies curriculum, bringing together valuable partners across sectors, and engaging families and communities in ways that will support their children’s education.”
“BERC is grateful to the New York City Council, particularly its Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, for its tremendous support and the opportunity to play an integral role in this historic initiative,” said Dr. Sonya Douglass Horsford, Associate Professor of Education Leadership and Director of the Black Education Research Collective (BERC) at Teachers College, Columbia University.
“We look forward to bridging research and practice through collaboration with our community partners and the New York City Department of Education to develop an interdisciplinary Black studies curriculum that will improve the quality of education provided to all students.”“The Association of Black Educators of New York, Inc. and its membership are incredibly moved by the New York City Council’s support in funding the creation of the Education Equity Action Plan,” said Adrian Straker, President-elect, The Association of Black Educators of New York, Inc. “In partnership with the New York City Department of Education, this plan stands for the adoption of the citywide K-12 Black Studies Curriculum. Our members, along with our Education Equity Action Plan collaborators, will engage in arguably the most significant professional work of this decade.”
“Black Edfluencers-United is proud to be a part of the New York City Council’s Education Equity Action Plan,” said Dr. Shango Blake, President, Black Edfluencers-United. “For too long, our nation's true history has been misrepresented in our classrooms, leaving our youth in the dark about who we really are. It's time that we teach every child about the contributions Black people have made and continue to make in this country. By sharing our true history, we can inspire our youth to dream bigger, and shape their communities for the better, as their ancestors did. We’re especially pleased that the New York City Department of Education will also be a partner in our collective efforts to better serve Black educators and children through the this important initiative, which we will continue to champion.”
“Representation matters. Growing up, there weren’t many examples that detailed the history and success of black people in our history books,” said Council Member Kevin C. Riley. “My education was found outside of the classroom, surrounding myself with successful people that looked like me in order to believe it was possible. Initiatives like the Education Equity Action Plan are meaningful to highlight and give substance to Black history. This is especially significant in addressing the effects of systemic and institutionalized racism. In order for our youth, especially our black and brown youth, to understand who they are and where they are going, it is fundamental to receive education and have an understanding of our history beginning in their formative years. Black history is a major part of American culture, and we have an opportunity to pave the way in educating all of our students by adding a citywide K-12 Black studies to our curriculum.”
“It is an honor to join my colleagues in the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus in partnership with The United Way of New York and black education advocacy groups to allocate $10 million towards the Education Equity Action Plan Initiative,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene. “As a former teacher, and a lifelong advocate for providing our young people with the tools they need for success, I am pleased to support the creation of a comprehensive interdisciplinary curriculum focusing on the history and accomplishments of the African diaspora in connection with the black experience.
Our students need a complete and thorough education that details and reinforces the legacy of their ancestors and the struggle for equal rights and fair treatment that they were a part of. I am confident that through similar collaborations we will be able to expand the ability of our educational institutions to provide these essential cultural resources and learning experiences for our students.”
“Our students need to see themselves reflected in our curriculum. When we exclude the contributions of African-Americans and the impact of the Black diaspora on this country, we are preventing our youth from receiving the comprehensive, high-quality, well-rounded education that they deserve. Black history is American history, and the Education Equity Action Plan is the first step towards achieving racial equity and inclusion in our educational system. I want to thank Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter, the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus, and advocates for pushing this important initiative forward. An investment in our students and educators is an investment in our city,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson.
The Black, Latino and Asian Caucus (BLAC) comprises 25 of the 51 members of the New York City Council. Collectively, BLAC wields its authority on matters of legislation, public policy, budget, and government oversight on behalf of more than five million New Yorkers of color, citywide, whose interests they represent. Its Co-Chairs are Council Members I. Daneek Miller and Adrienne E. Adams.
The Eagle Academy Foundation empowers at-risk inner city young men to realize their academic and civic potential with quality immersive learning experiences and proven community-based practices that address shortfalls in public education. The Foundation is led by its president and CEO, David C. Banks, who was the Founding Principal of The Eagle Academy for Young Men, the first school in the Foundation's network of innovative all-boys public schools in New York City. Since opening in 2004, the Eagle Academy network has grown to encompass a total of six schools in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Newark, Harlem, and Staten Island and is expanding its vision nationally.
United Way of New York City (UWNYC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping low-income New Yorkers make ends meet and lead self-sufficient lives. Working in the poorest communities we ensure that individuals and families are never one paycheck away from hunger or homelessness, that children can dare to dream and build a future for themselves, and that cross-sector partners can collaborate to provide the resources and infrastructure necessary to support community needs.
Founded in August 2017, the Black Education Research Collective (BERC) at Teachers College, Columbia University, is a collective of scholars focused on education research at the intersections of Black history, culture, politics, and leadership. BERC is comprised of research faculty, postdoctoral scholars, graduate students, and alumni of Teachers College and other institutions devoted to enriching Black education through transdisciplinary research, cross-sector collaboration, and policy advocacy.
Since its founding during the late 1960’s, the Association of Black Educators of New York, Inc. (ABENY) has organized to increase education equity, advocacy, and excellence for communities of educators and students across the African Diaspora.
Black Edfluencers United (BE-U)’s mission is to influence and develop the capacity of Black educators and raise awareness about the systemic challenges within education. BE-U is committed to promoting a "call to action" that ensures equity and transparency in all schools, and to developing a system of networking and mentorship in support of Black educators. BE-U, with over 55 members and 300 influencers, is a coalition of Black educators and education equity experts.