One of the most critical parts of our strategic plan involves local, state, and national policy. Public policy created the system in which we exist, and we dwell in a system that places some persons at a greater advantage than others. Unfortunately, public education is no different. Many important aspects of our students’ educational experiences are governed by policies of which students are unaware, and many children find themselves defenseless against those policies’ unintended consequences. The achievement and opportunity gaps, as well as other forms of inequity are the results of unjust systems, and we believe it is our moral imperative to dismantle those systems to better our communities.
Pursuant to this end, we have created a strategic plan that enables us to raise awareness about those policies most destructive to students’ educational experiences, and advocate for necessary reforms.
Our Strategic Plan for Policy
Our power to affect change locally lies in our ability to organize our community around issues that matter most. This means that we first must listen to our community and inject their voices into our advocacy efforts. Further, we must engage local policymakers around educational dilemmas, as they hold the power to implement reforms at the community’s behest.
State level policies are tremendously important, as they directly affect students’ daily educational experiences. For example, the recent passage of Public Act 15-108 will ensure that students across the state will have access to teachers trained in cultural competence, and should guarantee our students the access to more persons of color in leadership roles and as mentors. There is still much work to be done, however. Our state level advocacy efforts will focus on passing, modifying or removing legislative barriers to educational equality and to ensure that all students’ emotional, physical, and educational needs are met.
Much like municipal and state policies, national policies have tremendous implications for students’ classroom experiences. And much like our strategies for the municipal and state levels, out strategic plan involves identifying destructive policies and advocating for appropriate reforms.
Above all, R.A.C.C.E. seeks to proactively inform the community about policy issues and empower Waterbury’s citizens to engage in the political process.