A Community Conversation

Dr. Beryl Bailey, Director of Literacy BPS, State Representative Bobby Gibson, Naciki Reid, Financial Literacy Coach Hartford & Bloomfield Middle Schools, Senator McCrory

By Barbara Vita —

The Alliance for Bloomfield’s Children hosted a Community Conversation which featured Senator Doug McCrory on Thursday November 14, 2019. Senator McCrory is the Senate Chairman of the legislature’s Education Committee.

He was invited, along with State Representative Bobby Gibson, Dr. Beryl Bailey, and Councilor Rickford Kirtkton to discuss the newly passed Act PA 19-12, African American, Black, Puerto Rican, and Latino Studies. This Act will require all public school districts to include African American, Black, Puerto Rican, and Latino studies in their high school curriculum beginning with the 2021–2022 school year.

The Community Conversation was very well attended by members of Bloomfield who are active in the Alliance for Bloomfield’s Children, or who simply were concerned residents who wanted to learn more about the newly passed Act. There was overwhelming support for the new education initiative even though there were questions asked of the panelists that expressed concerns that even though the Act had been passed would the initiative be provided with the necessary funding required to put it into action. There was discussion around the systemic shifts that would need to occur in order for lasting and meaningful changes to occur in our education system. It was suggested by several attendees that changes needed to be made in teacher preparatory classes.

Gail Nolan, Director of Family Resource Center & School Readiness at Bloomfield Public Schools; with Sherry Linton-Massiah, Co-Chair for the Alliance for Bloomfield’s Children

Dr. Beryl Bailey, Curriculum / Literacy Director of Bloomfield Public Schools also spoke of the importance of starting the task of introducing African American, Puerto Rican, and Latino studies to students as early as preschool. She displayed many children’s books which were beautiful in their artwork as well as message.

Teaching students of their unique and diverse culture and heritage, and how it is integrally connected to American history should be every educator’s goal. When a child has a clear understanding of their past, and how they and their ancestors have been affected by and contributed to our united history, then they will feel as though they belong in the present and will want to learn how they can contribute to the future.

As the Connecticut Children’s Collective is committed to helping children from cradle to career achieve their full potential, we recognize the importance of this newly passed Act and the positive impact it will have for so many Connecticut children. We hope that it will be a model for other states to follow as we strive to be more inclusive, thorough, and honest with the education of our children.

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