We at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University denounce the continuous assault by the Trump administration on the communities that we are committed and dedicated to serve. We reject the harmful actions of President Trump’s divisive policies and hateful rhetoric, which are in direct conflict with our mission – to develop, share, and act on knowledge that improves the conditions and outcomes of schooling in America, especially in communities of color and schools serving children historically marginalized by inequitable systems – and our four guiding principles: “results matter,” “equity matters,” “communities matter,” and “learning matters.”
We join a long list of organizations, individuals, and entities that have taken unwavering positions against President Trump’s direct attacks against democracy and human decency and have resisted rhetoric that has caused deeper divisions of fear and anxiety against some of our country’s most vulnerable communities. President Trump has signed a set of executive orders laced with xenophobia and rooted in lies and misrepresentations that only serve to intensify fear, anxiety, and hatred towards the undocumented population, Muslims, the transgender community, and other targeted groups.
Refugees and immigrants – documented and undocumented – and their children belong to our communities. They are students, parents, teachers, volunteers, interpreters, home-school liaisons, day care owners, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, after-school providers, district administrators, school board members, city councilors. They are activists who lead campaigns to make our schools work better for everyone.
These executive orders were designed to destabilize our communities and incite fear, and they directly interfere with the work of schools, school systems, and the community-based organizations that help young people thrive. The communities that we work with have seen increases in bigotry and discrimination. Some of our parent leaders are afraid to travel to attend meetings and trainings. Families are no longer seeking out services – and even keeping their children out of school – because they fear Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. Children are grappling with the trauma of being separated from their parents and other family members.
Children who are not in school because of the fear ICE has imposed on their families cannot learn. ICE raids on homes and near schools make it increasingly unsafe for parents to attend school meetings and events or speak out on behalf of their children. This disenfranchises our parents as full partners in schools – when we know that deep family engagement is crucial for strong schools and strong communities. Teachers cannot teach and fully attend to their students’ trauma and anxiety at the same time. The increases in racist, xenophobic, homophobic, anti-Semitic, and Islamophobic bullying and hate speech – which are a direct result of this administration’s rhetoric and policies – poison school cultures and threaten many students beyond those directly impacted by the orders. Schools, districts, and community organizations are spending valuable time and resources to protect students and families at the expense of their work to expand opportunity and improve education.
Therefore, we condemn this administration’s rhetoric and policies that have harmed and will continue to harm so many people in the communities we work with, and we commit to remain vigilant to oppose any future hateful and hurtful policies. We will continue to work with our partners and allies to resist these policies wherever they are implemented, and to help make schools safe havens from hate and xenophobia.
The Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University
March 15, 2017