Vote to Protect and Expand
Inclusion in Schools
Our Inclusion in Schools Platform
Learn more about what inclusion in schools issues to consider when casting your ballot.
Schools should be inclusive spaces that welcome and value all students who walk through the doors. Safe educational spaces are especially important for LGBTQ+ students, who often face bullying and discrimination at inside and outside of classroom walls.
School boards play an important role in being allies to these students. School board members can be openly accepting of all students, while working to promote and enact progressive and inclusive policies for their districts. These policies have the power to recognize and tell students that they are seen and valued for exactly who they are.
Over the past few years in Delaware, both the Red Clay Consolidated and Christina School Districts have passed such policies and it’s something that should be replicated by school boards across the state. For more information on these policies, check out the ACLU of Delaware’s webpage on School Board’s Role in Your Rights.
In recent years, Delaware has seen a dramatic increase in the percentage of its population identifying as Hispanic/Latino. The 2020 U.S. Census confirmed that 104,290 Delaware residents, or 1 in every 10 Delawareans, identify themselves as such. However, the true number is thought to be much higher as many immigrants may distrust government officials and fear sharing personal data causing immigrants to be undercounted in the U.S. Census. Regardless, these statistics make one thing very clear- Delaware’s Spanish-speaking community is only growing and state services must grow too.
Language should never be a barrier to education access. Just like every family, there are certain services or support that Spanish-speaking families need in order to ensure their children are able to succeed. Offering translated resources and materials is an important step towards creating a school community in which Spanish-speaking families feel included and engaged in their child’s education. Knowing what’s going on in the classrooms, understanding new or existing school policies, and being aware of different opportunities for students, will ensure that these students and parents thrive.
Spanish-speaking students and families are an integral part of our community. Our school boards must recognize the value of diversity within Delaware schools.
Students benefit when they are in schools with teachers and administrators who look like them. Diversity among teachers and administrators leads to:
- Improved graduation and college enrollment rates, higher attendance and achievement rates, particularly for students of color;
- Increased rates of parental involvement, especially among parents of color;, and
- More tolerant and inclusive classroom cultures with lower instances of bullying.
Delaware still has a long way to go in creating diverse leadership in its school systems. According to a report by Rodel, during the 2020 – 2021 school year, over 70% of all teachers and administrators were white, despite only 42% of students in the state being white. It’s vital that school boards not just acknowledge this issue as a serious barrier to student success, but are actively strategizing and implementing policies to create more diverse leadership in schools.
Right to Learn
Our First Amendment right to receive an inclusive, equitable education is under attack. Students have a right to read and learn about the lived-experiences of historically marginalized groups, and the legacy that discrimination has had in the U.S. Creating inclusive communities means ensuring that students are taught about viewpoints and experiences that are different to their own.
School boards can help stop classroom censorship. School boards have the power to determine educational policies within their districts, and are responsible for selecting, purchasing, and distributing textbooks. Inclusive educational practices have been shown to increase graduation rates, increase college preparedness, and decrease bias incidents in schools. Everyone, especially students of color and LGBTQ+ students, deserve an education free from viewpoint-based discrimination.
For too many children with disabilities, school is a place of fear and confusion. Harsh discipline disproportionately impacts students with disabilities — especially students of color with disabilities — contributing to higher drop-out rates and lower enrollment in higher education.
Making a conscious effort to include all children allows them to develop an appreciation for diversity and learn that everyone has unique strengths regardless of differences. Inclusion gives space for children to explore alternative and creative ways to do things, and also helps kids develop empathetic environments where they can practice open communication.
When schools model appropriate understanding and acceptance for students with disabilities, it improves the academic outcomes of all students. Our school boards have a responsibility to ensure that children do not receive a substandard education because they have a disability.