A Message to Our School Community

To our GEA Families and GEA Community,
 
Valuing human life and having empathy for others is a core value that is non-negotiable. A few months back, the world witnessed that heinous killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. Perhaps of greater importance is that our children witnessed such a tragedy which, undoubtedly, left them with many unanswered questions in their maturing minds. Understanding racism and how to combat it is a lifelong process that requires a conscious commitment to address inequity whenever we witness it. The challenge is how does one do this effectively. The solution is to become anti-racist which requires us to carefully evaluate our instructional practices, organizational procedures, and examine the ways in which we offer and deliver services. To this end, we believe that all human beings should be treated with respect and as such it is important for us to model to our students through our actions what respect looks and feels like.

We feel it is incumbent of us as an organizational learning community to provide students with tools to help develop their critical thinking skills with the further goal of being able to critically analyze and assess this unfortunate situation by facilitating conversations around what they witnessed and reminding them of one of our core values: respect for all human life. This is who we are at Global Education Academy, Global Education Academy 2, and Global Education Collaborative.
 
If we’re being honest, as a school organizations, we have not yet confronted the reality that the racial injustice we have witnessed, presents actual threats to both our academic goals AND the mission of the organization. We realize more than ever before that racial injustice is also a direct threat to the students we serve - to their agency, and more deeply to their sense of self-respect;- and therefore, their overall quality of education. We can do better. Doing better means, we need to take racism in its many forms (both overt and hidden forms), much more seriously. It also requires more from us. It requires us to be vigilant, (to be ANTI-RACIST, really) because otherwise we passively watch it live on, undisturbed, in the culture of our organizations - through what we teach, how we learn, and how we treat each other and one another. So, It means adopting an anti-racist education approach!

From the beginning, GEA has been committed to “give students the opportunity to develop a true understanding and respect for all people,” this moment has taught us we have to work much harder than before, to make this a reality. Working harder, we believe, starts with accepting the reality that we cannot carry out this goal without engaging in the broader struggle against racial injustice, we have been witnessing more and more around us and in the media. We realize that engaging is more than mere opposition to racism, and more than symbolic gestures and rhetoric. This very much reflects the message of current scholars in the field such as Ibram X. Kennedy and Enid Lee before him, who have called for actions to be driven by anti-racism.

We have begun the work of anti-racism by carefully analyzing who we are as an organization. This examination began with a deliberate unpacking of our Mission and Vision statements to measure ways that they support anti-racism; we then began interrogating our curricular, hiring, professional development, and parental engagement approaches and practices along these same lines. Anti-racism is about matching one’s outcomes (i.e. policies, procedures, services, systems, etc.) with observable actions that are easy to measure and validate. In the same ways that we teach our children the Golden Rule: Treating Others The Way You Would Like to Be Treated, becoming an anti-racist organization means that we are committed to our ideals and we seek to exemplify respect for our students and their families by ensuring that our school goals reflect a shared decision model rooted in respect for all parties.

The work of becoming an anti-racist organization is ambitious. These endeavors will require ongoing and consistent evaluation precisely because this work requires an organizational culture shift, hard work, collaboration, and an unapologetic anti-racist mindset used to both guide and inform our pedagogical and instructional practices, beliefs, and organizational systems. The Board of Directors is committed to being proactive in our efforts to reframe educational goals so that anti-racism is embedded throughout our school culture; a school culture that teaches respect and responsibility, that challenges students to think critically, that encourages open and honest discussions, that addresses systemic racism in all its forms and iterations.
 
In Solidarity,

The GEA School Leadership and Board of Directors
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