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Still Separate, Still Unequal…

Posted by Caitlin Terry on February 21, 2014
Steve Evangelista, Margaret Ryan, and Shael Polakow-Suransky

On February 10, the BSCAA, the Bank Street College Alumni Association, hosted a round table discussion on public education. BSCCA President Jim Clay '88 began the evening, which was created by BSCAA Advisory Board member Margaret Ryan ’01, and Steve Evangelista ’01, co-founders of Harlem Link Charter School.

Dean Virginia Roach joined them, sharing that

"Still Separate, Still Unequal" is an important topic. Sixty years ago the Supreme Court in the landmark case Brown vs. Board of Education struck down the notion of separate, but equal, education for African American children. Today, our racism is much more covert. While children of all racial-ethnic groups have the right to be educated together, we segregate children by programs in education.

She then shared several facts to consider, and went on reiterate that she has been actively listening to our alumni, faculty, and students, as addressing issues of diversity is a main focus for the Graduate School. Next, Virginia introduced President-Elect Shael Polakow-Suransky ’00, saying,

We could not be more pleased that Bank Street’s next president is an alumnus. While I am just getting to know him, he impresses me as someone who recognizes the importance of enhancing diversity and cares deeply about educational equity.

Shael spoke briefly before turning the evening over to moderators Margaret Ryan and Steve Evangelista. The panelists were:

Martha Andrews, who has been an educator in New York City schools for sixteen years and is currently a founding Co-Director at Bronx Community Charter School.

Margaret Blachly ’05, who wears many professional hats, ranging from Learning Specialist, Children's Learning Center at Morningside Gardens; Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT); staff developer, and adjunct instructor at Bank Street College.

Barbara Graves-Poller is a Supervising Attorney at MFY Legal Services, a nonprofit law firm with a 50 year history of providing free representation to low income and working poor New Yorkers.  She also is an adjunct professor at New York Law School

Monte Joffee was a co-founder of the Renaissance Charter School in Jackson Heights, Queens. He served as its founding principal for 14 years and is currently the vice chair of its Board of Trustees. 

Verta Maloney has 20 years professional experience in education.  She was a founding school leader at a charter school in the Bronx and is currently writing her first book, Loving Out Loud.

The spirited conversation kept the audience engaged. After the panel discussed a list of questions, they opened the floor to questions from the audience. The conversation continued after the event ended, as Shael remained at the event to speak with the panelists and interested audience members.

Round Table panelists with President-Elect Shael Polakow-Suransky (third from left) and BSCAA President Jim Clay '88 (far right)