LWV Testimony for NAACP Rally at Board of Education Meeting

Good afternoon. I’m Ericka McDonald, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Baltimore County and a mother of a high school student at George Washington Carver Center here in Towson. The League calls for the Board of Education to address racial inequality in BCPS.

We know there’s systemic inequality in Baltimore County, which is the result of a long history of discriminatory laws, including redlining, and voter suppression. Of critical importance, ongoing inequality is also present at all school levels in BCPS. The 2022 BCPS Disproportionality report clearly shows racial gaps in academic achievement, access to advanced coursework, absenteeism and suspension.

But there is no clear plan for addressing racial inequality in Baltimore County’s public schools. The five points, outlined in the Compass strategic plan, do not specifically mention racial inequality. Parents must comb through many reports to attempt to understand how BCPS plans to address these problems, but there are no real solutions offered.

We can’t just accept the continuing and disproportionate failure of minority and poor students. The parents, students, and residents of Baltimore County deserve an equitable education for all students.

We urge the Board of Education to address racial inequity for Baltimore County schools by taking key actions that lead to concrete, verifiable results. Not just rhetoric or more long-term plans! The problems are systemic, and the leadership must provide systemic solutions and necessary support for our children, teachers, and schools.

League Reference Info: 

LWVUS Social Policy: Secure equal rights and equal opportunity for all.

2020 Social Justice Resolution: We also call for prompt actions by all League members to advocate within every level of government to eradicate systemic racism, and the harm that it causes;

We Resolve Second, That the League help our elected officials and all Americans recognize these truths to be self-evident; that Black, Indigenous and all people of color (BIPOC) deserve equal protection under the law; and that we demand solutions for the terrible wrongs done, so that regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, disability, and gender identity or sexual orientation we may truly become a nation “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Equality of opportunity programs supported: 

  • Programs that would inform individuals of their civil rights in education, employment, and housing, and of the opportunities open to them. 
  • Full use of mediation and conciliation in efforts to bring about integration of minority groups into full participation in community life. 
  • Programs to bring about effective integration of schools through federal technical assistance such as training programs and institutes for teachers and school administrators. 
  • Withholding federal funds from school districts that fail to meet realistic and effective guidelines and standards for school integration. 
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