By Alex Parker | May 26, 2021 10:30 PM ET
Joe Biden has plans for America’s education system.
And it stems from the administration’s American Rescue Plan.
Per the plan’s website:
The American Rescue Plan is delivering direct relief to the American people, rescuing the American economy, and starting to beat the virus.
Of course, we had “started to beat the virus” before his plan.
Nonetheless, part of the mission: to “safely reopen schools.”
As noted by The New York Times, the $1.9 trillion relief plan sends roughly $129 billion to K-12 schools.
Prior to Wednesday’s school reopening summit, Joe announced the release of $80 billion.
And that dough isn’t wholly accounted for.
Schools will be receiving funds within a few months, and they’ve got ’til 2024 to spend their allotment.
$110 billion will go directly to districts, and about $22 billion will address lost learning.
But where and how is the rest to be used?
Though it’s up to schools, the official documents offer suggestions.
Along those lines, the Department of Education’s Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs handbook recognizes the rigors of racism:
Building Safe and Inclusive Learning Environments
[S]tudents and families still experience racism and implicit bias in their lives in and out of school. Efforts to reengage students of color can be supported by directly working to address any longstanding feelings of distrust resulting from students’ and families’ of color experiences in school prior to the pandemic and that may have been exacerbated by events of the last year in and out of the school context.
“Educators and staff,” it says, “should provide safe, welcoming, and inclusive learning environments as they start to rebuild trust, reengage students, and recover from the impacts of COVID-19.”
One way to earn trust: ensure “that school policies and practices do not further perpetuate racial disparities. This includes reexamining the use of exclusionary discipline practices, which have a disparate impact on students of color who are frequently disciplined more harshly than their white peers, especially for subjective offenses.”
The administration recommends “adopting strategies…such as wraparound services, mental health counseling, social emotional learning, culturally and linguistically inclusive curriculums, and a schoolwide multi-tiered system of support.”
For “social emotional learning” (SEL) instruction, the guide links to the Abolitionist Teaching Network’s Guide for Racial Justice & Abolitionist Social and Emotional Learning, which offers resources such as the anti-Prison Industrial Complex “Abolitionist Tookit,” “Black Lives Matter at School” and “Dear White Teachers: You Can’t Love Your Black Students if You Don’t Know Them.”
Furthermore, it tells educators to “resist punitive or disciplinary approaches, and do not involve school resource officers or police.”
The guide also encourages “restorative justice circles and racial justice initiatives.”
Most SEL standards, it explains, “are rooted in Eurocentric norms, not to empower, love, affirm, or free Black, Brown, or Indigenous children.”
In fact, “SEL can be a covert form of policing used to punish, criminalize, and control Black, Brown, and Indigenous children and communities to adhere to White norms.”
Hence, Abolitionists must “engage with colleagues in the pursuit of Abolitionist SEL”:
Learn about the beauty, joy, and resilience of Black, Brown, and Indigenous folx and the complexity of the African diaspora (because not all Black folx are African American).
Investigate how existing SEL frameworks are weaponized against Black, Brown, and Indigenous children and communities.
Work with administrators to remove and replace models which harm Black, Brown, and Indigenous children.
Advocate for or create ongoing humanizing professional development to support school-wide Abolitionist practices that affirm the inherent worth of Black, Brown, and Indigenous children and communities.
Students need also be directed toward Abolitionist SEL. And faculty must resist spirit-murdering the kids:
Create classrooms that center the beauty, joy, resiliency, and variety of Black, Brown, and Indigenous experiences.
Remove all punitive or disciplinary practices that spirit murder Black, Brown, and Indigenous children.
Build a school culture that engages in healing and advocacy. This requires a commitment to learning from students, families, and educators who disrupt Whiteness and other forms of oppression.
In one section, the handbook lists “an Abolitionist teacher’s demands.”
- Hire, support, and retain Black, Brown, and Indigenous teachers, paraprofessionals, school counselors, and other personnel
- Hire, support, retain, and develop Abolitionist educators
Moreover — and here’s where some of that unspent money comes in — teachers should be gifted free therapy.
And it should be segregated according to white/nonwhite.
Free, radical self/collective care and therapy for Educators and Support Staff of Color.
Free, antiracist therapy for White educators and support staff.
Free therapy’s not exactly new. In fact, it’s been known to prevent spirit murder:
Does all this sound like a plan?
Whether it does or not, it is one.
In fact, it’s our “rescue.”
President Biden’s looking out for everyone.
Literally — everyone:
[T]he Administration acknowledges the unique impact of COVID-19 on, and trauma experienced by, underserved students, including students from low-income backgrounds, students of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) students, English learners, students with disabilities, migratory students, rural students, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Asian American Pacific Islander students, students in foster care, students in correctional facilities, and students experiencing homelessness.
Joe Biden to the rescue.