Dayton Youth, Parents, and Teachers Join National Week of Action

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Racial Justice NOW! and the West Dayton Youth Task Force is Part of Coordinated Efforts around the Country to “Invest in Public Education, Not Prison Cultivation”

What: A candidate forum with Dayton Public School Board candidates
When: Wednesday October 7 th , 2015 6:30pm-8:30pm
Where: Dayton Boy’s Preparatory Academy, 1923 West Third Street, Dayton, Ohio 45417
Who: Hosts, Racial Justice NOW! and The West Dayton Youth Task Force The candidate includes three incumbents: School Board President Dr. Robert Walker, Nancy Nerny, and Sheila Taylor. Also running is Dayton law school student, John McManus.

Dayton, OH – On Wednesday, October 7, members of Racial Justice NOW! (a parent organizing organization) and the West Dayton Youth Task Force (a youth organization) are bringing their voices to the sixth annual national week of action against school push out by hosting a candidate forum with the Dayton public school board candidates. The event will be held at Dayton Boys Preparatory Academy, 1923 West Third Street Dayton, Ohio 45417 at 6:30 PM.

Racial Justice NOW! and the West Dayton Youth Task Force will join communities in more than 50 cities across the country to demand that our school systems adopt positive approaches to addressing behavior instead of relying on zero-tolerance discipline policies, school police and other punitive practices that push young people out of school in our city.

The week of action, will take place from October 3 to October 11, and is coordinated by the Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC), a national coalition of 98 organizations led by youth, parents, educators, civil rights leaders and social justice advocates that promotes alternatives to zero-tolerance discipline policies. Such policies have been found to result in much higher suspension and expulsion rates and referrals to law enforcement, often for minor misbehavior, fueling a “school to prison” pipeline.

During the week of action DSC member organizations will hold rallies, marches, forums and trainings calling all states and school districts to shift funding from hiring school police to hiring more counselors and implementing positive discipline practices that build healthy relationships and treat discipline as a teaching moment. Racial Justice NOW! and the West Dayton Youth Task Force, along with other DSC members, will also be calling all school districts to address disparities in punishment and referrals of students to the criminal justice system, which disproportionately affect low income youth, Black students ( males in particular) LGBTQ students, and those with disabilities.

The struggle of public education is not a new one for the state of Ohio or for Dayton Public Schools. 18 years ago, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the state’s method for funding public education was unconstitutional (DeRolph v. State). Poorer cities, those with smaller populations or a minimal tax base suffer the most. Cities like Dayton provide an example of how underfunded schools look. This dynamic multiplied by the increase in charter schools, (which compete for public tax dollars) has made education an increasingly difficult topic.

“The education climate is compounded by the advent and increase of charter schools, which provides an alternative option for students, but also takes away from taxpayer dollars that would typically go to the local public school system”, says RJN! Executive Director Zakiya SankaraJabar.

Ten years ago DPS was in a state of academic emergency and after recovering it finds itself in a similar situation today. In January of 2015, DPS was visited by the Ohio Department of Education Distress Commission. The Distress Commission conducted observations, interviews, surveys, and focus groups, and later delivered a report to DPS with recommendations on how to increase student achievement. If DPS does not improve student achievement, the school system could be taken over by the state in 2018.

Racial Justice NOW!

“Our mission is to advance parent leadership that ensures that all children are rightfully educated regardless of where they live. Our work is especially focused on the public, charter, and vocational schools in the State of Ohio. We work from a political framework that is focused on systemic social change through racial justice and human rights fulfillment in public education. We want to impact how school discipline practices are being utilized as pushout mechanisms into the criminal justice system, leading to racial disparate impact and criminalization of African American families. We also want to impact how and what our children are taught, while working to keep the PUBLIC in public education. West Dayton Youth Task Force Mission The mission of the West Dayton Youth Task Force is to initiate programs for young people of all ages that will instill in them the core values of the Nguzo Saba (The Seven Principles) and to foster character development that will produce a future generation capable of building a community and society of their own. This is to be accomplished by means of study, social and cultural activities, academic and career development activities, as well as involvement in community work.

September 29, 2015
Contact :
Zakiya Sankara-Jabar
937-825-1791
z.sankara-jabar@rjnohio.org
rjnohio.org

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