by Ayan Musse
The position of Superintendent of Public Instruction has a critical impact on African-Americans and members of the African Diaspora living in Washington State.
In a state that includes the City of Seattle that prides itself on its progressive credentials, having a racial equity toolkit so popular nationally different cities across the country are seeking to emulate it.
Washington State’s Black community makes up only 2 percent of the total population. However, you would not know that by looking inside our prisons, as members of the black community make up 37% of our incarcerated population nationally.
It is against this backdrop that the urgency emerges for us to make a wise choice in picking our next Superintendent of Public Instruction.
You see, in order for us all to hold our public school system accountable we must have strong leadership in the Superintendent of Public Instruction position.
- One who is a fearless advocate for all of our families and children’s needs.
- One who understands how each child’s needs are different and is willing to make sure educators have different support systems in place to meet the needs of each of our children.
- One who will work on ending the partnership between the school system and the prison industrial complex.
- One who will always protect the McKinney-Vento Act for all of our children and families’ sakes.
- One who understands that educators need more time teaching and learning professionally to do their job adequately and not just teaching for testing our children.
- One who is firm enough to make sure educators get their needs met, yet not at the expense of our children.
- One who is willing to make sure every educator in all of our public school districts goes through the Undoing Institutional Racism workshop and follows up in each district to see what tools they’ve implemented after the training.
- One who understands the importance of Early Learning and is willing to partner with other agencies to meet the needs of improving all of our children’s early learning experience before they even enter the Public School System.
As you can see our needs are overwhelming! Therefore, as you vote this year for Superintendent of Public Instruction, please vote for someone with all of those qualities and more – as well as someone willing to challenge the status quo.
As community members, we really need to understand who possesses the skills and qualifications to make these changes. In my eyes, only one of the candidates can truly face the challenges before us. That, my friends, is Mrs. Erin Jones. So please make sure that you vote for her on behalf of all of our children’s and families’ wellbeing in this education system that wasn’t designed with many of us in mind.
Photo courtesy of Erin Jones for Superintendent