Arizona Alliance of Black
Dr. Amy J. Strefling
Managing Federal Funds under ESSA: Civil Rights vs. The Status Quo
Civil rights have long been at the heart of American federal education policy. ESSA reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, a civil rights law originally passed in 1965 that was designed to raise the academic achievement of marginalized student groups, including the poor, the disabled, racial and ethnic minorities, and non-native English speakers. With the formal roll-out of ESSA in this upcoming 2018-2019 school year, will states be prepared to make the difficult, but necessary, changes to ensure an equitable and excellent education for every student in our nation?
Amy Strefling grew up on Pittsburgh’s west end and became a first-generation college graduate when she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Arizona State University. She continued her education as a Sun Devil, receiving a master’s degree in educational administration and a doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy studies. (Dissertation: The Influence of Integrated and De Facto Segregated Schools on the Racial Attitudes of White Students Toward African Americans.)
Dr. Strefling is the product of the Pittsburgh Public School System, where efforts to racially balance schools has been both a priority and a point of controversy. While the experience of attending racially integrated schools provided Dr. Strefling and her peers with opportunities to build and nurture strong relationships across cultural lines, it also placed Dr. Strefling in a position to witness overt prejudice and intentional discrimination toward African American children and adults. Through these experiences, she learned that those who are born with “white privilege” have a moral responsibility to promote justice in places where racist attitudes and systemic oppression breed hatred and hopelessness within our diverse society.
Dr. Strefling has served Arizona’s children as a middle school and high school teacher, assistant principal, and principal. She has been supporting school districts in the acquisition and management of federal program funding since 2007, when she had the great privilege of working with and learning from Dr. Sonny Ashegbeyeri. She is currently the Director of Federal Programs and Grant Development in the Cartwright School District and proudly sits on the board of The Arizona Alliance of Black School Educators.
AzABSE pledges to continue serving as educational advocates for children who have been poorly served in the past. We further pledge to ensure that African-American and all other diverse students are effectively educated in the present and are accorded priorities for the future. We pledge to lead the way through the creation of a concrete model that demonstrates the goals of academic and cultural excellence.
Arizona Alliance of Black School Educators
1334 E. Chandler Blvd., Ste. #5-D32
Phoenix, AZ 85048
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"Closing achievement gaps is a critical issue. The performance of Blacks is systematically different from that of other racial and ethnic groups. Decreasing gaps in student achievement means that we must increase the learning gains of Blacks."
- National Education Association
"The gap between teachers and students of color continues to grow. Over the past three years, the demographic divide between teachers and students of color has increased by 3 percentage points, and today, students of color make up almost half of the public school population. But teachers of color are just 18 percent of the teaching profession."
- Center for American Progress
"African-American students, particularly males, are far more likely to be suspended or expelled from school than their peers. Black students make up 18% of the students in the CRDC sample, but 35% of the students suspended once, and 39% of the students expelled."
- U.S. Department of Education