A year after George Floyd's murder, a look at empathy, equity, what's changed & what hasn't - AZEdNews
Sections    Friday March 31st, 2023

A year after George Floyd’s murder, a look at empathy, equity, what’s changed & what hasn’t

George Floyd Mural Outside Cup Foods At Chicago Ave And E 38th St In Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Mural, Located On The Corner Of 38th Street And Chicago Avenue South In Minneapolis, Is The Work Of Artists Xena Goldman, Cadex Herrera, And Greta McLain. The Group Started Working On The Mural On Thursday Morning And Finished It Within 12 Hours With The Help Of Artists Niko Alexander And Pablo Hernandez.. Photo By Lauri Shaull/ Https://www.flickr.com/photos/number7cloud/49959004213

Click here for updated going forward

Updated May 25, 2021: A year after George Floyd’s death in police custody, and just a month after a jury found the police officer guilty of murder, researchers who have studied empathy and bias for decades, including Arizona State University Professor Elizabeth Segal, look at how the lack of empathy helps racism thrive in America and how that is changing, National Public Radio reports.

ABC News examines what’s changed and what remains the same one year later.

Black Americans talk about their encounters and experiences that have left emotional scars. in this USA Today article.

A year after 17-year-old Darnella Frazier recorded the murder of George Floyd, she released her first public comments other than her trial testimony.

After the jury found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three charges in the death of George Floyd, including second degree murder in April , teachers shared how and why they discussed the trial with students during class.

Educators used resources like this to help students as they processed the judgement in the trial and what it means in their lives.

How George Floyd’s murder made Americans examine our history and what the reactionary movement to ban accurate accounts of U.S. history, The 1619 Project and critical race theory are doing to our students, communities, teachers and schools.

“Today is the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd while in police custody. It will be remembered as a day that galvanized world-wide attention on racial justice in the United States and reignited a movement that could no longer be ignored,” said Dr. Sheila Harrison-Williams, executive director of Arizona School Boards Association.

“Today is a day of solidarity, acknowledgement and respect for our Black community. We recognize the emotional toll the crime itself, the trial, the verdict and one-year memorial date may take on many of us,” Dr. Harrison-Williams said.

A year after George Floyd's murder, a look at empathy, equity, what's changed & what hasn't Dr.-Sheila-Harrison-Williams-video-capture
Dr. Sheila Harrison-Williams

“ASBA stands committed to leading toward and advocating for more equitable and inclusive educational environments, free of racism, where every student, teacher, staff member, parent and community member is treated with dignity and respect,” Dr. Harrison-Williams said.

“This is also a week when many schools will close the books on the 2020-2021 school year. The pandemic, too, has impacted us in a deep and personal way. Our school boards were forced to manage problems unforeseen throughout a catastrophic world health crisis.  This crisis also shined the light on inequities that cannot be ‘un-seen,’ ” Dr. Harrison-Williams said.

“This is not a single moment of observation, but rather a call to action to do the hard work of truly becoming an antiracist organization all day, every day, all year long. We have that responsibility, and we take it seriously,” Dr. Harrison-Williams said.

“The resolution passed in June 2020 by the ASBA Board of Directors condemning racism and affirming the association’s commitment to equity continues to demonstrate our obligation to the school board’s essential work of building greater opportunity, access and inclusion so that every student can succeed, regardless of their culture, race, ethnicity, family income, home setting, ability, gender or any other influence or characteristic that can contribute to inequities,” Dr. Harrison-Williams said.

“Together, we faced a year of challenges and unknowns. While the 2020-2021 school year immediately invokes words like crisis, racism and unrest, it also conjures words that reflect our response – words like resilience, results and ready to lead. As the school year ends, our commitment will not,” Dr. Harrison-Williams said.

“As part of our core values and foundational premises, educational equity is an ongoing journey, not a fixed destination. We promise as your association to keep advocating and leading for greater equity across the state and nation,” Dr. Harrison-Williams said.

The discussions brought forth by students as part of the Black Lives Matter movement led Minneapolis public schools test a new safety model without police on campus.

For the last year, students and young people have helped push forward Americans racial reckoning as they “marched through the streets, supported equity in pandemic-era classrooms, kneeled on ball fields, created powerful activist art, spoken out on social media, and stood up for justice in spaces where young folks gather,” Chalkbeat reports.

Philonese Floyd talks to CNN about the slow progress since his brother’s death and what could be done to make things better sooner.

Now, the NBA and its Social Justice Coalition are urging the U.S. Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona rose to 877,682 today up from yesterday’s 877,182 and 17,569 have died from the virus, said the Arizona Department of Health Services.

In Maricopa County, there are 548,006 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 116,359 in Pima County, 52,631 in Pinal County, 37,209 in Yuma County, 22,984 in Mohave County, 19,169 in Yavapai County, 17,871 in Coconino County, 16,386 in Navajo County, 12,053 in Cochise County, 11,398 in Apache County, 8,030 in Santa Cruz County, 6,926 in Gila County, 5,613 in Graham County, 2,473 in La Paz County and 574 in Greenlee County.

Arizona Dept. of Health Services Interactive Graphic: (Hover over counties and boxes for more info)


Flagstaff Unified School District thanks Chef Sky Atwood for her support for students and the community.

Looking for summer school online and in-person options? Take a look at Dysart Unified School District‘s offerings.

Florence Unified School District encourages parents to sign up for a virtual discussion tomorrow on how to help support children after a suicide.

Red Rock Elementary School District reminds families they’re still available to serve students and families during their summer office hours.

Rio Rico High School celebrates their graduates.

If you need help affording internet service, Mesa Public Schools offers this information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program.

Tolleson Union High School District congratulates students who received laptops from College Goal Arizona as a result of University High School having the highest FAFSA completion rate.

Buckeye Elementary School District celebrated eighth graders’ promotion and wished them well at high school.

Updated May 24, 2021: Valley Metro took its STEM mentoring program that includes lessons, activities, mentoring and a virtual field trip to YouTube during the COVID-19 pandemic to help reach more underrepresented students so they could participate when it worked for them, The Arizona Republic reports.

East Valley Institute of Technology graduates go on to the workforce, college, post-secondary education and the military after completing their career training.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona rose to 877,182 today up from yesterday’s 876,732 and 17,555 have died from the virus, said the Arizona Department of Health Services.

In Maricopa County, there are 547,645 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 116,320 in Pima County, 52,568 in Pinal County, 37,206 in Yuma County, 22,963 in Mohave County, 19,156 in Yavapai County, 17,872 in Coconino County, 16,390 in Navajo County, 12,053 in Cochise County, 11,397 in Apache County, 8,029 in Santa Cruz County, 6,924 in Gila County, 5,612 in Graham County, 2,473 in La Paz County and 574 in Greenlee County.

Gammage Scholars held a Jump-a-Thon for Alhambra Elementary School District students to help them better understand the lack of sufficient internet access in the area.

Tempe students work with Care 7 Youth Specialists even when schools are closed to help them deal with stress, anger depression and anxiety.

Arizona Republican Legislators introduced budget bills today that education advocates say would severely cut public education funding and try to eliminate money that voter-approved Prop. 208, the Invest in Education Initiative would provide for schools.

Dysart High School graduates celebrate their achievement.

KJZZ’s SPOT Youth Media Center thanked everyone who supported their work this year.

Pendergast School District kindergarteners and eighth graders celebrate their promotions this week.

Scottsdale Unified School District parents protest before the district’s rescheduled governing board meeting today.

Tucson Unified School District honored their graduates too.

U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego and three other Representatives introduced legislation to ensure every child has access to high-quality full day kindergarten.

Vistancia Elementary kindergarteners signed each other’s t-shirts for a keepsake to remember their school year.

Updated May 21, 2021: Watch it live now, Arizona Department of Health Services Dr. Cara Christ gives an update on COVID-19 vaccine information in Arizona.

AZ Dept. of Health Services video: COVID-19 vaccine information session with Dr. Christ – 5/21/21

Many high school seniors are celebrating at in-person, drive thru and virtual graduation ceremonies around the state.

Drive thru promotion ceremonies honored graduating eighth-grade students and their achievements in Cartwright School District.

Queen Creek Unified School District‘s AVID senior class graduates have a bright future ahead.

Deer Valley Unified School District celebrates the graduates of Mountain Ridge High School.

Dysart Unified School District Supt. Dr. Quinn Kellis congratulates graduating high school seniors.

Reflect on what is happening now and honor the many contributions of Asian Americans during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona rose to 875,195 today up from yesterday’s 874,605  and 17,509 have died from the virus, said the Arizona Department of Health Services.

In Maricopa County, there are 546,247 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 116,101 in Pima County, 52,423 in Pinal County, 37,183 in Yuma County, 22,911 in Mohave County, 19,091 in Yavapai County, 17,868 in Coconino County, 16,364 in Navajo County, 12,043 in Cochise County, 11,377 in Apache County, 8,010 in Santa Cruz County, 6,918 in Gila County, 5,613 in Graham County, 2,469 in La Paz County and 575 in Greenlee County.

Scottsdale Unified School District’s Governing Board will meet online on Monday for safety after its board meeting earlier this week was cut short by people upset about the district’s mask policy.

Expect More Arizona encourages you to show your appreciation for childcare providers who provide essential services that allow parents to work.

See what Peoria Unified School District third graders at Vistancia Elementary did after they completed a learning unit.

Students can create art through coding on digital devices as part of their STEAM learning activities.

Watch a documentary tonight about how educators served their students during remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and the return to in-person learning at one school in Cartwright School District.

Find out how hidden classroom dynamics can hinder girls in STEM from edutopia.

Updated May 20, 2021: Arizona Republican Legislators have developed a preliminary budget framework that has met Gov. Doug Ducey’s approval, but as of yet there are not enough votes to pass the budget proposal.

But the large permanent tax cuts that budget proposal includes is opposed by Former Gov. Jan Brewer.

Arizona School Boards Association‘s governmental relations team has released an analysis of the preliminary budget framework.

The following are the key components of the preliminary budget, but remember since no deal has been reached yet, everything below is subject to change.

Tax Cuts

  • Reduces four tax brackets down to two at rates of 2.55% and 2.98% in FY23
  • Reduces tax rates to a flat 2.5% in FY24
  • Creates a maximum marginal tax rate of 4.5% in FY22
    • Some taxpayers may end up paying more than 2.5%, but not more than 4.5%, of their taxable income because of the 3.5% surcharge created by Prop 208
  • Increases homeowner’s rebate from 47.2% to 50%
  • Decreases the commercial property assessment ratio from 18% to 17%These changes total about $2.6B in tax cuts over three fiscal years

K-12 Investments

  • $350M in federal funds allocated to bring funding parity to non-Title I schools for COVID relief
  • $50M ongoing to increase special education Group B weights
  • $1M ongoing for gifted education
  • $5M in FY22 for the Extraordinary Special Education Needs Fund
  • $10M in FY22 and $20M in FY23 for a K-12 Transportation Grants Pilot Program
  • $17M in FY21 for Transwestern Settlement compensation


  • $90.8M for Building Renewal Funding in FY22
  • $38.8M supplemental Building Renewal Funding from FY21
  • Increases the SFB formula cost per square foot to match market rate
    • $89.4M in FY22, $29.1M in FY23, $14.7M in FY24
  • $10.3M to accelerate Yuma UHSD construction
  • $3M for construction in Kirkland ESD

Arizona ranks 49th in the nation in per pupil spending, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Education advocates have voiced their opposition to the budget proposal, because the tax cuts proposed would severely impact funding for public schools.

Arizona Education Association President Joe Thomas had this to say about the budget proposal.

Save Our Schools AZ said it’s critical that Arizona “invest ongoing, permanent and sustainable funds into Arizona’s public education system so that schools can confidently proceed with innovation and student support.”

Instead of the preliminary budget proposal, Save Our Schools AZ urges Arizona Legislators and Gov. Ducey to use part of the $1.2 billion budget surplus and $1 billion Rainy Day Fund in the state budget to provide:

  • $200 million in ongoing funding for special education, early intervention and dyslexia training and services.
  • $200 million in ongoing funding for additional counselors and mental health programs.
  • $400 million in permanent opportunity weight for students in low-income areas who need additional resources and programs, keeping pace with the 41 states who already allocate funds to address the epidemic of poverty in our schools.
  • $500 million in building renewal funds each year for 4 years.

Updated May 18, 2021: Students around the state are taking part in drive-thru, in-person and virtual graduation ceremonies this week and next. Here’s a look at what’s happening.

Paradise Valley Unified School District holds in-person ceremonies and provides a live stream for each school’s event.

Buckeye Elementary celebrated kindergarten graduation too.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona rose to 874,065 today up from yesterday’s  873,446  and 17,480 have died from the virus, said the Arizona Department of Health Services.

In Maricopa County, there are 545,469 ,confirmed cases of COVID-19,  116,068 in Pima County, 52,234 in Pinal County, 37,177 in Yuma County, 22,887 in Mohave County, 19,044 in Yavapai County, 17,883 in Coconino County, 16,336 in Navajo County, 12,021 in Cochise County, 11,391 in Apache County, 7,994 in Santa Cruz County, 6,905 in Gila County, 5,613 in Graham County, 2,468 in La Paz County and 574 in Greenlee County.

Flagstaff Unified School District honors Coconino High School‘s CocoNuts Robotics Team for their awards and impact on the community.

Tolleson Union High School celebrates Flinn Scholar Netia Unger.

Kyrene Schools students enjoyed a lesson on the history of Mariachi and a performance.

Pendergast Elementary School District honors an amAZing educator.

See why 1 in 3 college students in the U.S. are food insecure.

Marana Unified School District reminds families their bus will provide free nutritious meals for all children from May 24 to July 23 at certain locations.

Peoria Unified School District third graders earned their cursive license.

Chandler Unified School District celebrates students with yearbook style social media posts.

Celebrate your graduate with an entry in AZEdNews Yearbook.

Dysart Education Foundation recently awarded grants to 7 teachers in the district for their classroom initiatives.

Buckeye Elementary students create a pamphlet on stories read this year.

Updated May 17, 2021: Students around the state are taking part in virtual or drive-through or in person graduation ceremonies starting this week.

Phoenix Union High School District is celebrating the accomplishments tonight of Camelback High School graduates during commencement ceremonies.

Kellis High School students celebrate their graduation day.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona rose to 873,446 today up from yesterday’s 872,978 and 17,466 have died from the virus, said the Arizona Department of Health Services.

In Maricopa County, there are 545,051 ,confirmed cases of COVID-19,  116,007 in Pima County, 52,143 in Pinal County, 37,173 in Yuma County, 22,874 in Mohave County, 19,032 in Yavapai County, 17,882 in Coconino County, 16,338 in Navajo County, 12,009 in Cochise County, 11,392 in Apache County, 7,989 in Santa Cruz County, 6,903 in Gila County, 5,611 in Graham County, 2,468 in La Paz County and 574 in Greenlee County.

Dysart Unified School District students and teachers share their artwork in this virtual art show.

Learn more about Arizona State University‘s re-organization and the women who lead these areas.

Tempe Elementary School District thanks AARP Experience Corps volunteers for all they’ve done to help students improve their literacy skills.

Working one-on-one with the same tutor over time, helps students catch up on their learning well.

Tucson Unified School District’s Career and Technical Education honors student Victoria Rogers who achieved her national certification and is now a Certified Pharmacy Technician with a recruitment offer from CVS to start now.

Earlier coverage

May 10 to May 14, 2021: Students ready for graduation ceremonies

May 4 to May 6, 2021Amendment to bill would prohibit teachers from discussing controversial policy & social issues not essential to learning objectives

April 28 to May 3, 2021Thank a teacher during Teacher Appreciation Week for all they do for students

April 21 to April 27, 2021: 3 years after Red for Ed there’s much left to do

April 12 to April 20, 2021: How & why teachers discuss trial with students; Schools keep masks after Gov. rescinds mandate

March 29 to April 9, 2021Children, young teens may be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine before next school year

March 15 to March 26Masks are still required in all schools; Video: Dr. Christ’s news conference today

Feb. 24 to March 11, 2021: COVID-19 aid funds will help AZ students, families & schools

Feb. 11 to Feb. 23U.S. Dept of Ed: Students must take standardized tests, but there’s flexiblity on when & how

Feb. 2 to Feb. 9Video: Supt. Hoffman gives State of Special Education address

Jan. 21 to Feb. 1Black History Mural Month Project to highlight pioneers of the Black community launches in Phoenix

Jan. 10 – Jan 20How students engage with Inauguration Day

Dec. 21, 2020 to Jan 8, 2021Teachers help students deal with attacks on Congress, Capitol

Nov. 30 – Dec. 16Watch it now: Dr. Christ asks people to avoid holiday gatherings with people they do not live with

Nov. 18 – 25COVID-19 cases rise before Thanksgiving adding to school and hospital leaders’ concerns

Nov. 16: More schools return to online learning as COVID-19 cases rise

Nov. 2 – 13: $19 M grant would help schools with teacher development, stipends, reading & math curriculum, summer ed resources and more

Oct. 20 to Oct. 30: AZDHS amends COVID-19 school benchmarks

Oct. 7 – Oct. 19What are teachers doing ahead of elections to support students afterwards

Aug. 25 – Sept. 8: Parents voice concern about online class size; school nurses prepare for students

Aug. 12 – Aug. 24: Students, teachers affected by Zoom outage

July 30 – Aug. 11Parent organizes co-op for learners; group rallies for in-person school days after benchmarks release

July 13- July 30: Teachers prepare for digital learning and back to school

June 29 – July 12Video: Gov. says ‘Goal is to get children back to school when it’s safe;’ Schools lay out learning models

June 29: Video: Gov. delays in-person classes to Aug. 17 due to rise in COVID-19

June 15 – June 29: Video: Gov. pauses re-opening of some businesses as COVID-19 cases rise

June 24: Plan provides more funding, flexible instruction as schools re-open

May 26 – June 12: Increase in COVID-19 cases marks a new daily high

May 20 – 25: AZ Dept. of Ed releases COVID-19 guidance to schools for summer programs, back to school

May 11 – 19: Arizonans consider workplace safety, what back to school will look like amid COVID-19

April 26 – May 10: Stores re-open, COVID-19 testing blitz resumes on Saturday

April 8 – 25You can get tested now if you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19

March 12 – April 7, 2020Coronavirus response: Cases rise; AZ Day of Giving