N.C. State Superintendent of Education
Letter to 117 District Superintendents
& Charter School Directors
Concerning State Board of Education's Action Statement on American Indian sport mascots in the NC public schools
October 31, 2002
TO: LEA Superintendents
Charter School Directors
FROM: Michael E. Ward, State Superintendent
Priscilla J. Maynor, Senior Assistant to State Superintendent
Louise Maynor, Chair, State Advisory Council on Indian Education
SUBJECT: Native American Heritage Month
American Indian Sport Mascots, Logos and Demeaning Imagery
The month of November is Native American Heritage Month and throughout the state, particularly in our public schools, celebrations and programs are planned that will enhance knowledge in heritage, history, art and tradition of American Indians. These programs reflect your commitment and the commitment of your local board members and school administrators to take every possible step to ensure that schools in your communities are welcoming and caring environments for all public school students.
The State Advisory Council on Indian Education recently convened to discuss action taken by the State Board of Education at its June meeting regarding the use of American Indian sport mascots, logos and demeaning imagery. The State Board approved a recommendation strongly encouraging all educators in the public schools of North Carolina to educate themselves on the educational, curricular, and psychological effects of using American Indian sport mascots and logos. In addition, the State Board agreed that all public school administrators and local boards of education should review their policies and procedures toward the use of American Indian sport mascots, logos and all demeaning imagery. Therefore, the State Board requests all local education agencies (LEAs) to annually report to the Department of Public Instruction plans of action and actions implemented including (1) the review of local imagery, and (2) any activities to educate public school personnel of the educational, curricular, and psychological effects of using American Indian sport mascots and logos.
In light of No Child Left Behind and its requirements, the State Board's action is timely. American Indian students, both male and female, have the highest dropout rate of any ethnic group enrolled in our public schools. In 2001, American Indian students represented 1.47% of the total school membership and represented 2.7% of the total LEA dropout. Academic performance on end-of-grade and end-of-course tests has consistently improved; however, these
October 31, 2002
students continue to perform significantly lower than comparable students in the state. With this in mind, it is imperative that we encourage American Indian students to be successful in school and make sure schools are inviting places for them.
The Council will be responsible for collecting, analyzing and reporting activities to the State Board. To assist school districts with this process and planning, the Council has compiled a list of resources and information, which is enclosed. In order to meet the deadlines for the annual report of the State Advisory Council on Indian Education, we need to have each LEA's report on activities and actions taken by March 28, 2003.
We thank you in advance for your cooperation and attention to this important issue. It is a timely reexamination and one that not only has the potential to improve learning environments for American Indian students, but will also support safe, orderly and caring environments for all students. For additional information, you may contact Priscilla J. Maynor, Senior Assistant to the State Superintendent, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Louise Maynor, Council Chair, at email@example.com.
· Action approved by the State Board of Education
· Resolution of the State Advisory Council on Indian Education
· Resolution of the United States Commission on Civil Rights
· Memorandum written by Richard P. Mills, State Commissioner of Education, State Education Department of New York
· "Why Educators Can't Ignore Indian Mascots", by Dr. Cornel Pewewardy, University of Kansas
· "The Problems with Native American Mascots", by Laurel R. Davis, Springfield College
· Mascot Education & Action Group
PO Box 18640
Asheville, NC 28814
· The Center for Diversity Education
2 South Pack Square
Asheville, NC 28801