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MAMA asks for more transparency in RCSD teacher hiring process

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

The Movement for Anti-Racist Ministry (MAMA) in collaboration with the Faith Community Alliance and Take It Down Planning Committee are calling on the Rochester City School District to hire more teachers of color, as well as race and class conscious teachers.

The groups say the lack of transparency about the hiring process is troublesome. Minister Clifford Florence of the Take It Down Committee says that not only the hiring but also the retention of teachers of color is important.

"We have over 3,300 white teachers, we know that, and however they got there and are keeping their jobs, and the system is allowing those teachers to not have the struggle that black teachers are having."

The group says the problem is not unique to Rochester and that systemic racism is a deeper issue that needs to be addressed nationwide.

Pastor Judy Davis of MAMA says understanding the roots of racism is important to change.

"The historical reality is that individual, institutional and structural racism has impacted every institution in this nation, including the educational system."

Davis says they are looking to understand the procedures governing the hiring and retention processes.

MAMA says they are interested in partnering with the district, which says it wants to pursue more community collaboration, and that plenty of local resources are available for more anti-racist professional development.

Kathryn Murano-Santos of the Take It Down Committee says they are ready to collaborate whenever the district is ready.

"What is the experience of teachers of color in the district? Why are we truly not hiring them and retaining them at a rate that we would like to see? We think that one of the only ways we cant get that kind of information is through ethnographic study and we do have an anthropologist who is interested in taking that work on."

The Rochester City School District responded to the criticism saying, "We have met with the organization on multiple occasions and we welcome them to met with us in the future. We welcome all community organizations who have input on our students."

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