On June 8, 2021, Tulsans will vote on the 2021 Bond for Tulsa Public Schools, a $414 million investment in Tulsa children, teachers, and families that will make an impact in every school. The proposed bond package includes four propositions that will support safe environments, high-quality learning resources, technology, and transportation. Proposition 4 of the 2021 Bond includes $139.3 million to provide quality learning materials and programs, including $1 million in funding to support the district’s work to honor the legacy of Greenwood and the Tulsa Race Massacre and support its partnership with the Greenwood Rising museum (expected to be completed later this year).
“The partnership between Greenwood Rising and Tulsa Public Schools will provide the educational foundation and historical grounding students need to understand and confront present-day challenges around race, specifically, and diversity, equity, and inclusion generally,” explained Phil Armstrong, the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission project manager. “We are working together to reform and revise curricula in ways that ‘hard history’ such as the story of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre is taught at age-appropriate levels. Teaching this history is an initial step in the racial reconciliation journey that is a necessary part of our shared future.”
For the last few years, Tulsa Public Schools educators have been national leaders in their work to curate resources and lesson plans on the Greenwood District, Black Wall Street, and the Tulsa Race Massacre. These lessons will be implemented this May in grades 3-12 to align with the commemoration of the centennial of the massacre. The proposed bond will provide the classroom technology, instructional resources, and books to be used with the lessons as the curriculum is expanded to reach more students.
“In future years, students will experience their grade-appropriate lessons in grades kindergarten through high school as part of their regular social studies curriculum,” said Tulsa Public Schools Deputy Chief of Academics Danielle Neves. “The lessons have been designed to fit into existing units of study, where we elevate our local history as examples of the standards-based social studies concepts being studied each year.”
The 2021 Bond for Tulsa Public Schools will also give students the opportunity to go on educational field trips to the museum once it is completed.
“We have a unique opportunity as a school district to partner with Greenwood Rising,” said Chief Learning Officer Ebony Johnson. “We have a prime opportunity to partner with the museum so our students, with the help of this bond funding, can go and be a part of something that's monumental. It's critically important that our students are educated on what has happened, encouraged by the entrepreneurship of the Greenwood District, and also just mindful of what took place.”
The opportunity to visit the museum and tour the Greenwood District will help bring to life what they learn in the classroom.
“It allows our students to have that real-world experience based on what they have been learning. They will be able to walk in and see some artifacts and learn even more and so it's gonna be great for us to be able to support that work. I think that it's going to definitely help it go to the next level for our youth,” said Johnson.
Tulsa Public Schools is committed to providing a safe place for students to reflect on the past, think critically on the present, and learn how to make a future society where all Tulsa citizens share equitable rights, freedoms, and opportunities. Equipping Tulsa students to take civic action to advance equity and justice begins with learning about our history.
“The entire Tulsa community benefits when more people know, care, and act,” said Phil. “With respect to Tulsa's Historic Greenwood District and the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre visited upon it, Greenwood Rising and Tulsa Public Schools are working diligently on the "know" part. Without knowledge, there is no caring; there is no action.”
You can find more information and details on each proposition at www.tulsaschools.org/2021bond. The 2021 bond package will keep your property tax rate level.
Early voting is available on Thursday, June 3 and Friday, June 4 from 8am-6pm at the Tulsa County Election Board. The Tulsa Voter Van will provide free rides to the polls for Tulsa voters. Contact them at 918-200-9153 or www.tulsavotervan.com. Click here to find your polling place.