LEXINGTON, Ky. — Starting Monday, June 22, the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence will host a week-long series of discussions on racial equity in Kentucky’s public schools. The series, titled Black Minds Matter, will focus on formulating solutions on how to close academic achievement gaps and postsecondary attainment gaps between African American students and their peers at the state and local levels.
“Through this series on racial equity in education we are focusing on solutions – specifically finding ways that policymakers, educators, parents, students, and communities can work together to ensure we are delivering on the promise of public education for each and every student,” said Prichard Committee President and CEO Brigitte Blom Ramsey. “In 2015, 45 percent of our entering African American students were reported fully ready for kindergarten, but by 2019, we had equipped only 30 percent of them to score proficient or above in K-PREP reading.”
Blom Ramsey says Kentucky education data also show that our education system isn’t preparing black students for college and career at the same rate as their white peers.
“In 2019, there was a 32.5 percent gap between Kentucky white and black students on transition readiness,” she said. “This is clearly a failure of our system to deliver the education that our Black students need to thrive in our economy, and we must collectively own our truths in order to address this inequity.”
The Prichard Committee’s online Black Minds Matter events throughout the week will include:
- A live conversation with Dr. O.J. Oleka, executive director of the Association for Independent Colleges & Universities and co-founder of AntiRacismKY, Tuesday, June 23, at 10:30 a.m.
- Wednesday’s episode of Innovation in Education, featuring Dr. Aaron Thompson of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, Dr. Soraya Matthews, Fayette County Public Schools, and Lynn Jennings from the Education Trust, Wednesday, June 24 at 3 p.m.
- A live conversation with Dr. Jonathan Plucker, Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. Plucker has conducted research on the low representation of African-American students in gifted and talented programs for Johns Hopkins University.
- Please note, more events will be added in the coming days. Check our Twitter page for updates as they happen.
Also as a part of Black Minds Matter week, the Prichard Committee will formalize a standing coalition for Equity in Education: Early Childhood through Postsecondary. The coalition will be open to all citizens interested in repair longstanding failures to deliver educational excellence for students who have been marginalized or historically disadvantaged by our systems. An online signup form is available at prichardcommittee.org/equity-coalition.
The first installment in a series of Community Toolkits from the Prichard Committee is also available for download. It details what Kentuckians can do in their own communities, schools and districts to help to support the unique needs of students and put an end to systemic barriers that serve to hold students back.
“Citizens must drive the change that is needed, community by community, and put an end to systemic racism and to remedy historic injustices waged on African Americans,” said Blom Ramsey. “The Prichard Committee commits to being a leading voice in that effort.”