National Parents Union Calls Upon the United States Senate to Pass the Justice in Policing Bill
Police Reform is a good first step; much more needs to be done to improve equality in our communities
July 1, 2020, Washington, D.C— The National Parents Union (NPU) calls upon the Senate to pass the Justice in Policing bill with urgency. The time for talking has passed and the time for action is now. Policing of communities of color has traumatized generations of children. Policing and police brutality negatively affect our children’s mental and emotional health, academics, and ultimately their ability to heal and rise from generational poverty and trauma. This impact is felt whether we or members of our family were directly involved with unjust police violence or as members of the community witnessing and experiencing the violence.
We are grateful to the Members of Congress and the Congressional Black Caucus who are listening to our communities and taking this issue seriously by bringing real solutions to the table. As leaders of color, we understand the needs and priorities of our communities and the Justice in Policing Act is a good first step.
Police reform is just a start and is by no means enough. The NPU was created with the core belief that there should be liberation, justice, and equity in education for all children. We believe education systems must be transformed to eradicate generational institutions of oppression. Families across the nation have taken to the streets crying out for an end to systemic racism. We protest against the racism that is an act of violence against our children not just in criminal justice, but in education as well. The school to prison pipeline begins in the classroom.
More needs to be done to ensure that elements of this bill are applied in conjunction with genuine community voice and engagement of families to find solutions for schools across this country where police officers continue to engage with our children. And in keeping with healthy democratic ideals, we need to ensure that the unchecked power of special interest groups does not continue to be prioritized over the rights and safety of our children and families.
In a recent national poll of parents conducted by the NPU, more than half of all parents (54%) say schools should rely less on school police officers and move toward providing social-emotional support to address student needs with staff like counselors, psychologists, and social workers in disciplinary situations. Just 35% of parents say schools should continue to rely on school police officers in the way they do now in disciplinary situations.
It is time for leaders and policy makers to see parents as genuine partners, not just to be consulted with but with a seat at the table to determine the best next steps in schools to ensure greater equality. In that same poll, when asked to determine the effectiveness of a variety of ways to address systemic racism and discrimination, parents said the following would be very/somewhat effective:
- Requiring training for school administrators, teachers, and staff on cultural awareness and implicit racial bias (73%)
- Providing trauma-informed school guidance and counselors (72%)
- Introducing culturally inclusive curriculum in all public schools (70%)
- Increasing racial and ethnic diversity of school boards, administrators, teachers, and staff (65%)
- Replacing suspensions and expulsions for behavioral issues with alternative disciplinary programs that keep students in school (65%)
Policy makers cannot underestimate the concerns of parents about the impacts of inequality on the health, safety, and wellbeing of their children. When 63% of parents of color say they worry a lot or some about their children being impacted by racist comments or actions by other students at school, 55% of parents of color say they worry a lot or some about their children being impacted by discriminatory or unjust police actions at school and nearly the same amount (52%) worry about this happening in the community to their children, it is time for policy makers and elected officials to address these concerns and make good on promises to bring meaningful, intentional change. The NPU stands ready to engage in dialogue and to hold lawmakers, education leaders, and police officials accountable as we seek to find real solutions together to protect our children and communities.
ABOUT NATIONAL PARENTS UNION
The National Parents Union is a network of parent organizations and grassroots activists across the country committed to improving the quality of life for children and families in the United States. NPU unites these organizations behind a common set of principles that put children and families at the center of the national education narrative. With delegates representing each of the 50 states, NPU disrupts the traditional role of parent voice in policy spacesand develops a new narrative that is inclusive of families from a wide variety of intersectional perspectives.
National Parents Union stands in opposition to the passage of AB77 and SB98 supporting the parent’s rights to choose what is best for their children.
The National Parents Union believes that every child has the right to a high-quality public education. We recognize parents are best positioned to make decisions for their children and have a powerful voice that should influence educational and political policies and practices at the local, state, and national level. Parents as key stakeholders in public education should be respected as decision makers and our children are at the core of our agenda in every decision.
We are writing today to express our deep concern about two pieces of legislation currently being considered by the State Assembly that could have severe consequences for our children across California.
On June 24, 2020 in the late hours of the night, the California State Senate Education Committee passed a toxic budget trailer bill, AB77, and have inserted AB77 language into SB98. This move effectively creates a moratorium on a parent’s ability to choose the best education for their children. AB77 and SB98 were abruptly added to the June 26, 2020 agenda in hopes of getting one of these bills signed by Governor Newsom.
The passage of these bills would have a disastrous impact on providing our children with equitable access to high quality education due to the following provisions:
- Locking 2020-21 ADA (Average Daily Attendance funds) to the 2019-20 levels providing no increase in funding to help mitigate the impact of learning loss and trauma impact during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Capping school enrollment and funding support for well-established distance learning programs severely impacting schools who have added grade levels and have seen increased enrollment to meet the needs of families during the Covid-19 crisis.
- Trapping students in failing schools and robbing families of the choice to change schools, move or enroll in a charter school by capping school enrollment, providing inequitable funding to district and charter schools with increasing enrollment.
- Has the potential to remove funding for all non-classroom-based students, devastating charter school home-based program students.
In addition, these bills provide no expiration date and will have a long-lasting devastating impact on our children, families, and schools providing the opportunity to access high quality education.
In the midst of the greatest health and education crisis in a century, instead of providing additional support and options to families, these bills deliberately rob us of the opportunity to access needed resources for our children and instead attempt to advance the long-standing political agenda of a special interest group that puts the wants of adults over the needs of children.
We at National Parents Union recognize this as an outright threat and blatant attack on our freedom to choose what is best for our children. We realize that under the current pandemic guidelines all children across the nation are receiving their education through various platforms from home and the reopening of physical learning environments may be prolonged for longer than initially anticipated. Education systems must be transformed to eradicate generational institutions of oppression, there should be liberation, justice, and equity in education for all children.
Therefore, the National Parents Union stands in opposition to the passage of AB77 and SB98 supporting the parent’s rights to choose what is best for their children. We demand the Governor and legislator create a revision of the budget that better reflects the value and priority California must place on education for all students and families. Including equity in resource allocation as the public charter schools should receive equitable funding to serve the students in their schools.
We formally recommend our Family Bill of Rights https://nationalparentsunion.org/npu-bill-of-rights/ as a starting point to respecting the voices of the parents and ensuring that our children are a priority in your decision-making process. Furthermore, we request that going forward parents’ voices are included in any discussion regarding funding for education and schools in the State of California.
The National Parents Union