Feb 23, 2021
160 Confederate Monuments Were Taken Down In 2020
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Of the symbols removed 94 were Confederate monuments, including a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee that was removed from the U.S. Capitol building after 111 years, according to Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) data. The left-leaning SPLC keeps track of around 2,100 public parks, buildings and statues devoted to the Confederacy through a database called “Whose Heritage?”
“2020 was a transformative year for the Confederate symbols movement. Over the course of seven months, more symbols of hate were removed from public property than in the preceding four years combined,” SPLC Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks said in a statement.
The Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia, has been transformed into a piece of what community members call protest art where people gather to participate in mutual aid, play sports and garden, Jan. 17, 2021. (Kaylee Greenlee – Daily Caller News Foundation.)
The Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia, which has been spray-painted with anti-cop and pro-equality messages, was named the most influential form of American protest art since World War II, according to The New York Times. The monument was the first erected in the former Confederate capital and is one of the last left after a summer of civil unrest where protesters tore down others.
It’s unclear whether the statue will be taken down as Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam ordered its removal over the summer and was met with several lawsuits resulting in injunctions preventing its demise, The Times reported. (RELATED: Protester Gravely Injured After Toppled Confederate Monument Nails Him In The Head)
The movement to take down Confederate symbols from public spaces joined the national demonstrations against racial injustice, The Associated Press reported. Nationwide protests followed the in-custody death of Floyd after a former Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, video shows.
“Despite this progress, communities informed the SPLC about more than 300 Confederate symbols located across the United States that remain,” Brooks said in a statement. “These dehumanizing symbols of pain and oppression continue to serve as backdrops to important government buildings, halls of justice, public parks, and U.S. military properties, including ten bases named after Confederate leaders across the South.”
The organization has monitored the monument removal movement since 2015, according to the SPLC. There are over two 700 monuments dedicated to the Confederacy across the U.S., and the organization is expecting states like Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee to uphold policies protecting the monuments from removal.
Also, protesters pulled down statues of former Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt during an “Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage” demonstration in Portland, Oregon, the Oregonian reported. Protesters threw red paint and spray pained the statues before using chains to pull them from their bases.
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Boston Public Schools Suspend Advanced Program Because Officials Were ‘Disturbed’ By The Number Of Asian And White Students
An advanced program for high-performing students at Boston Public Schools was suspended after district officials determined the program would not promote antiracism due to the disproportionate number of Asian and white students, GBH News reported.
The Advanced Work Classes program, which provides an accelerated academic curriculum for students in fourth through sixth grade, will be suspended for one year after Boston Public Schools’ superintendent Brenda Cassellius recommended the school focus on reforming its antiracist policies, according to GBH News.
BREAKING: Boston Public Schools suspend advanced classes for grades 4-6 amid concerns of racial inequities: https://t.co/Rplp9IeB0R #BOSEdu #MAEdu #mapoli #bospoli
— GBH News (@GBHNews) February 26, 2021
“There’s been a lot of inequities that have been brought to the light in the pandemic that we have to address,” Cassellius said, according to GBH News. “There’s a lot of work we have to do in the district to be antiracist and have policies where all of our students have a fair shot at an equitable and excellent education.”
70% of students in the program were white and Asian, while nearly 80% of all Boston public schools are Hispanic and black, a detailed study found, according to GBH News. Cassellius said that five schools currently offer the program, and last fall, 453 students applied and 116 students enrolled, the outlet reported.
The results of the analysis disturbed school committee member Lorna Rivera, according to GBH News. Rivera reportedly noted that nearly 60% of fourth-graders in the program in one of the district’s schools were white even though most third-graders enrolled in the school are Hispanic and black.
“This is just not acceptable,” Rivera said at a recent meeting, according to GBH News. “I’ve never heard these statistics before, and I’m very very disturbed by them.”
The program was open to all students in the school district who took a standardized test in the third grade, earned a high score, and won an open spot via lottery. It allows students to study subjects in greater depth, and students are given more schoolwork and home study than the standard curriculum, according to the school districts’ site.
Students already in advanced work will be able to continue, but no new students will be admitted in the fifth or sixth grade. New students will be admitted in the fourth grade by standards to be determined at the school level, a school spokesperson said, according to GBH News.
Other schools have proposed eliminating gifted programs or merit-based admissions as part of recent antiracist efforts. In New York City, a panel appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2019 recommended that schools end any merit-based admissions and gifted and talented programs because such programs are “exclusionary.”
Pedestrians walk by a mural of Abraham Lincoln outside of Abraham Lincoln High School on December 17, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Most recently, San Francisco education officials voted to end merit-based admissions at one of the nation’s most prestigious public schools, Lowell High School, and will be switching to a lottery-based system in a purported effort to address racism. (RELATED: San Francisco Board Of Education Votes To End Merit-Based Admissions At One Of The Country’s Most Prestigious Public Schools)