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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Letter from NAACP Seattle-King County Education Chair, Josette Wicker

Though the excitement of back-to-school activities remains, with K – 12 classes in Seattle starting last Friday, September 4th, many districts in King County are still not prepared to support our students as they return to school. This comes from the lack of accessibility in a multitude of ways.

During this time, our focus has been on addressing the very apparent disparities in our community. This includes accessibility to technology (devices, Wi-Fi, training, etc.) and the remote learning model, as the engagement and communication between our students and staff has drastically shifted.

We are also addressing other serious civil rights issues such as ensuring college and career readiness, improving disciplinary processes, and growing our teachers in our underserved community. These concerns are only worsened in the current environment of uncertainty.

Providing educational support to our students with special needs cannot be a sidebar discussion, and is included in our list of top priorities both now and moving forward. Another area of high priority is nutrition; students who have relied on free breakfast and lunch everyday should not go hungry because schools are closed.

We are learning about available resources for our students and families with the intent to share this information with you. Many modes of support are available, though this information is not always easily accessible.

To this end, we are continuing to address basic needs and resources that were ignored before schools closed their doors last spring.  

I urge you to continue asking questions, stay connected, and speak out when any/all red flags that pop up that affect our students’ education. This link lists the school districts in King County, with their websites: https://www.k12academics.com/national-directories/school-district/Washington/King. You can research your school district to assess their readiness to serve our students.

How can we, as the NAACP, ensure that the education gap does not continue to grow and hurt our students? How can we provide support to our community? Where is that support needed?  What is not being addressed in our schools still?  How can we hold our state, city, school districts, organizations, nonprofits, and companies accountable for their work in our community?

We are in a time of reaction as so much changes every day. I am so thankful for the passion and drive that our committee has. I hope that you think of joining the NAACP as we work for an equitable education system.

And don’t forget the Power of Five! The NAACP is organizing supporters all across the country to fight for policies that respect and improve our communities. Sign up five new voters today! Then go to https://www.naacp.org/mobilize-your-five/ and let them know you have done so. NAACP will help keep them informed and engaged.

Join NAACP today and help make the community stronger. Go to https://www.naacp.org/become-a-member/.

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