As national divisions about teaching America’s racial history deepen, today’s headlines look at stories about racial justice and education from the first five states of the Confederacy. South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and Georgia seceded from the Union in the span of five weeks from December, 1860 to January, 1861, followed by six additional Southern states and the outbreak of the Civil War. These headlines are selected from the front pages curated by Newseum.org. Indigenous Territory names and Treaty information are taken from the Native Land map.
“Map of the Confederate States” by user Golbez, available under CC BY-SA 4.0, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
After a roughly monthlong hiatus brought on by the start of the school year in Aiken County, the Black Lives Matter Aiken Movement announced yesterday that they will resume monthly demonstrations against police violence and racial injustice. The inaugural demonstration kicked off yesterday evening, shortly after the local NAACP branch presented the Community Champion Award to organizer Makenzie Duty. As the group chanted and held signs calling for racial equity along Whiskey Road, one of the city’s busiest streets, Duty avowed, “We’re still here and we’re still fighting. We aren’t going anywhere.”
In spite of the coronavirus pandemic and school districts’ incongruous planning in response to it, data from the Public Employees' Retirement System indicates that the number of Mississippi’s public school employees who opted for retirement in June and July was the lowest in five years. According to 2018 federal data, Mississippi teachers make the least in the nation, though they rank 37th out of the 50 states after adjusting wages for cost of living.
Untitled photo by user Donald Ntjana, available in the public domain, courtesy of Nappy.
A study based on data from close to 2 million hospital births in Florida from 1992 to 2015 found that Black newborns were nearly three times more likely than White newborns to die when cared for by White doctors. Despite local experts’ concerns about the researchers’ methodology, the findings are consistent with more recent and local data. “This is a social issue rather than a medical issue,” said Kimberly Brown-Williams, the program director for St. Petersburg’s Healthy Start at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
Six months since the first reported case of coronavirus in Alabama prompted schools to close for what ended up being the rest of the 2019-2020 school year, all of the state’s school districts have started their fall semester with varying combinations of remote and in-person instruction. Teachers and state education officials worry that children with special needs, those who were already behind, English language-learners, those who lack transportation, those lacking access to technology, and those without security nets have only had educational challenges exacerbated by their time away from the classroom.
A recent study from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs found that more than 507,000 homes and businesses, nearly 70% of which were in rural parts of the state, lacked reliable broadband service. This lack of access has been a critical issue as the coronavirus pandemic forced major aspects of daily life online, especially for students and educators whose remote instruction relies heavily on streaming video.
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