Important update on H3/S46, legislation related to ethnic and social equity studies standards for public schools

Important update on H3/S46, legislation related to ethnic and social equity studies standards for public schools

Please consider calling your local legislators in support of H3/S46, legislation related to ethnic and social equity studies standards for public schools. This legislation provides the tools needed to address severe disparities in education, facilitating the work of teachers otherwise lacking resources on important topics, and providing anonymized data on school environments to enable decision-making on policies that would enrich the lives of all Vermonters.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Does this legislation dictate how teachers perform their jobs? No. It provides resources that are otherwise lacking to make teachers’ jobs easier.

Does this legislation dictate how the State Board of Education performs its job? No. It creates a working group of subject matter experts to advise the State Board of Education on these issues.

Do we really need this legislation? Yes. Primary stakeholders are in agreement that this legislation is absolutely necessary to ensure that Vermont is a safe and welcoming state for everyone.

On Tuesday of this week Tabitha Pohl-Moore, President of the Rutland area branch of the NAACP, and representatives of the VT-NEA and the VSBA testified in front of house and senate legislators about the urgent need for this legislation. 

This testimony comes 8 days after a self-proclaimed white nationalist brazenly wore an anti-Semitic symbol into the Congregation Beth El Synagogue in Bennington as a clear act of intimidation during a press conference at which the Vermont Attorney General announced that no criminal charges were going to be filed as a result of the state’s probe into the alleged harassment inflicted by this white nationalist and others in a successful bid to force former Representative Kiah Morris to step down. 

This testimony comes about 5 months after young people of color were targeted with racial slurs and other offensive behavior at a summer camp in Stowe. 

This testimony comes two and a half weeks after the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that the court could proceed with a case charging a Vermont Police State trooper of discriminatory search and seizure in a traffic stop involving a black man four years ago in Wallingford. And Vermont is at the top of the list when it comes to states that disproportionately incarcerate black men.

This testimony comes 27 days after the second death of a migrant child detained at the southern border and two months after a lawsuit was filed against the Vermont DMV, ICE and DHS for illegally targeting immigrant leaders in retaliation for activism. The Guardian reports that as many as 15,000 children are being held separately from their parents in unsanitary and inhumane conditions at the southern border. 

H3/S46 are supported by the Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools, a statewide coalition led by a multicultural and multigenerational group of people of color from various racial and ethnic groups, anti-poverty advocates, disability rights advocates, LGBTQIA advocates, and their allies. The coalition includes elders, students, parents, educators, and organizations. 

And, in the words of a local teacher, “Vermont needs to adopt H3/S46. First, responsible and involved citizenship, informed and integrative thinking, and creative and practical problem solving are 3 of the 5 21st century skills required for graduation in Vermont. Second and third, the academic and social value of ethnic studies is indisputably supported by scholarly research and held as current best practice. Fourth and last, it is time we take action to address the social degradation of our nation through educating our communities and our youth, and holding elected officials accountable for the well-being of marginalized, vulnerable people.”

A fifth of the young people who are leaving Vermont are doing so because we aren’t diverse enough. We need to act.

Please contact your local district Representative and Senator about passage and implementation of H3/S46.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this request!