New instruction centered on equity, social justice at Monroe County schools |

New instruction centered on equity, social justice at Monroe County schools

Raven Brown
Updated: January 12, 2021 06:37 PM
Created: January 12, 2021 04:19 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — With major historic events happening in 2020 and 2021, Monroe County schools are changing the curriculum to focus on issues of equity and social justice. 

“I believe that Daniel Prude’s death in Rochester I think really refocused districts that perhaps ignored some of the social injustices that have occurred,” East High Superintendent Dr. Shaun Nelms said. 

As major historic events continue locally and across the country, all Monroe County schools and the University of Rochester’s Warner School are making sure up to date education is given to all students.

“This project is not about indoctrinating students in having them think a certain way. It's giving them the skills and the ability to have meaningful conversation and dialogue about topics that impact them directly,” Nelms said. 

Dr. Nelms said the development of new anti-racism, social justice and equity instruction is key for success and learning for all. 

“Topics like the housing disparities in Rochester, health care, unemployment and questions like why ZIP codes matter in Monroe County,” Nelms said. “Do words unite or divide us? Looking at how media portrays events throughout history.”

Instruction will start this spring for students in grades 8 through 12 exploring race relations using the context of the 1964 uprising to the present day. 

“Why did certain parts of our American community thought it was O.K. to storm the capitol and confront police and spit in their face and to attack them without any fear of police retaliation while other subsets of the community would never imagine storming the capitol and walk away unscathed so those are all topics we want students to discuss and think about,” Nelms said. 

According to a 2020 EdBuild report, Rochester has the most economically segregated school district border in the nation which is something Nelms said needs to change.

“I believe curriculum is our moral contract with our community what we're going to teach kids in school, drives the future understanding of our students,” Nelms said.

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