NewsCovering Kentucky


Prichard Committee addresses education inequality in Kentucky through "Black Minds Matter" series

Posted at 5:45 PM, Jun 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-22 17:55:30-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence is hosting a week-long series about the inequalities black students face in Kentucky's education system.

"Our system is simply failing to deliver for too many African American students," Prichard Committee President and CEO Brigitte Blom Ramsey said.

Blom Ramsey said the series will address the academic achievement gap and the post-secondary attainment gaps between black and white students.

According to data from the KY Dept. of Education, there was a 32.5% gap between white and black students on transition readiness in 2019. To determine transition readiness, students meet benchmarks on a variety of measures to demonstrate they are ready for the next steps.

"We see the system break down over and over and over again in preparing these young people for success as they move throughout life," Blom Ramsey said.

Blom Ramsey said solutions will also be discussed. During her interview with LEX 18 she gave a few examples of potential solutions, including implicit bias training for all teachers.

She said implicit bias can hinder students' success.

"Too many adults don't have high expectations for all learners, don't have high expectations in this case for African American learners, so they fall behind because those high expectations and those adequate supports are not there for them to ensure that they meet the standards," Blom Ramsey said.

She also said cultural competency training for all teachers could be a positive change.

"Are we really equipped to understand the cultural strengths and challenges with which our students are coming into the classroom? Blom Ramsey asked. "Are we equipped to respond to those strengths and those challenges as individual learners?"

Lastly, she suggested that diversifying staff would make a significant difference.

"Our African Americans students are not seeing teachers like them, are not seeing leaders that look like them and that's a real problem as well," Blom Ramsey said.

You can find a full list of "Black Minds Matter" events here.

The Prichard Committee also invites anyone who is "interested in repairing longstanding failures to deliver educational excellence for students who have been marginalized or historically disadvantaged by our systems" to join their coalition.