Amarillo Education Association asking AISD to make changes to help end racism

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Amarillo Education Association, a local labor union led by area teachers is coming out to support the “Black Lives Matter” movement and asked for some changes from Amarillo ISD.

The AEA is asking for Amarillo ISD to make a couple of different changes to do what they say could help end racism in our community.

Aaron Phillips, president of the AEA and a social studies teacher at Coronado Elementary said the goal of the letter to the school district, that was meant to be read during the public comment portion of today’s AISD board meeting, was not to fire off at the school district, but rather to figure out how the district can do better for its students.

Phillips said, “Our letter essentially states to the school board, that our teachers’ union supports the Black Lives Matter movement because the only way we’re going to be able to make gains and address bias in the district and doing better for our black students and other minority students is to understand that black students’ lives matter.”

One of the changes this letter to AISD is the addition of an African-American studies course as an elective into all four of the district’s high schools.

In April, the Texas State Board of Education unanimously approved the creation of African-American studies courses.

To see the AEA’s full letter to the school district, click here.

We at KAMR reached out to the school district for a response to this letter, you can read their statement below.

Statement from Amarillo ISD:
In a time when many organizations face calls for action, Amarillo ISD is proud to be a leader who began getting to the heart of this matter several years ago. At the direction of Superintendent Doug Loomis, we have sought guidance from the Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA) and convened an Achievement Gap Focus Group to continue conversations, study and research around implicit bias and the impact on our students and community. Because of this important work, in its recent annual audit with the U.S. Department of Education, the IDRA used AISD as a case study for success. According to the IDRA, AISD is one of the few organizations to seek the organization’s help without being mandated to do so. We have done a lot, but we know it is not enough. AISD and the School Board are committed to closing the achievement gap and will continue to prioritize this very important issue.

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