The New York State Education Department (NYSED) issued a memo to all school districts in the state of New York on November 17, reminding them that Native American team names, logos, and/or imagery are not appropriate in public schools. You can read the memo here. The memo states that schools should expect additional guidance, but has yet to provide more information to affected schools. RCS is hoping for the release of a Frequently Asked Question document that would be helpful in distinguishing the best path forward.
Initial guidance has included a few relevant dates for making changes. School boards must affirmatively commit to replacing its Native American team name, logo, and/or imagery by the end of the 2022-23 school year, and failing to do so will result in the removal of school officers and the withholding of State Aid, which is approximately $26 million for RCS. News reports have inferred that the timeline for full implementation of any changes must be completed by the close of the 24-25 school year.
On December 1, the State Education Department issued a follow-up memo concerning proposed amendments to the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. There is a 60-day comment period on these proposed amendments. Data, views, or arguments may be submitted to: Christina Coughlin, Assistant Commissioner, NYS Education Department, 89 Washington Avenue, Room 1078 EBA, Albany, NY 12234, (518) 474-7206, email: REGCOMMENTS@nysed.gov. Public comment will be available until late February.
RCS will be forming a diverse committee of community and school members to discuss the change process once the State Education Department has issued further guidance.