Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jennifer McCormick failed to mention in Black History Month in her weekly communicator at the beginning of February. Instead she acknowledge February as the month we celebrate National Career and Technology Education Month. Indiana Digital Learning Month ,and on February 28th, National Digital Learning Day. I, along with a collogue of mine, immediately noticed it and tweeted at Superintendent Dr. McCormick.
A good friend of mine, Patrick Jones, challenged those of us who were upset about it to email Dr. McCormick. I decided to send the following email. Here is what I wrote:
Dear. Dr. McCormick,
I, David McGuire, a Hoosier and educator, but most importantly a black man, was extremely disturbed and upset about the lack of acknowledgment on the IDOE website and newsletter for February being Black History Month. I am writing requesting that immediate action be taken to apologize and correct this insensitive and unacceptable error by your office. The communication list is ridiculous and offensive on so many levels. The IDOE decided that February, the month that since 1970 has been recognized as Black History Month in this country, you would celebrate digital education initiatives. Seriously. You decided to pick February as the month to honor and recognize these initiatives. Instead of encouraging teachers and schools across the country to recognize the many contributions that blacks have made in the field of education in this state and this country, your office throws in digital and technical initiatives. This is a slap in the face to me and other black educators in our state. More importantly, this is a slap in the face to the black educators who paved the way in our state. This is spitting on the graves of those educators who made great strides to push our state forward.
I sincerely hope you read this letter and the letter from my colleagues across the state that I know you are receiving. Understand that I love my state, but I would be a fool if I did not feel that this was an example of what is happening in our country. Where the accomplishments of minorities pointedly African Americans are being ignored and neglected. Dr. McCormick read and internalize these words from James Baldwin, “not everything that is faced can be changed… but nothing can be changed until it is faced. We cannot move forward as a state or as a country until we honestly face what is happening.
I am encouraging anyone else who is upset about this to write to Dr. McCormick and let your voice be heard. We must speak the truth even if our voices shake.