For decades, parents of minority students have worked to document and address racially-based achievement gaps and student discipline disparities. In recent years, students in the LBGT community and their parents have pressed for more equitable treatment. Those forces combined in 2019 to make equity one of the most frequently used words in the School Board meeting room.
The conversation started early, with the School Board voting to add $200,000 to the Fiscal Year 2021 budget to create a position tasked with overseeing equity issues throughout the school system. That allocation was in addition to $100,000 Superintendent Eric Williams had requested to hire an equity and cultural competence specialist. Each School Board member supported creating an equity task forcemade up of staff members, parents and outside expertsto provide a thorough review of the school systems equity practices.
In February, the school district made national headlines when teachers atMadisons Trust Elementary Schoolput students throughan offensive history lessonhaving themreenact chasing slaves escaping through the Underground Railroad.The incident got widespread media coverage and the school principal issued a formal apology acknowledging its culturally insensitive nature in a letter to students. Williams then joined with the Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee, the Loudoun County Chapter of the NAACP and The Loudoun Freedom Center to issue a formal statement on the issue, saying the concerns go beyond the inappropriate and culturally insensitive elementary school exercise.
We acknowledge that this incident at Madisons Trust is a symptom of a broader issue, he wrote. The diversity in Loudoun County is one of our greatest strengths, but Loudoun County is also a place where equity has proven a challenge for many decades. We have struggled with inequities in student achievement gaps, discipline disproportionality, underrepresentation of minority students in advanced programs and courses, and the lack of a diversified teacher workforce.
Weeks later, the School Board voted to appoint members to a 25-seat Ad Hoc Committee on Equity, and administrators hired a consultant group to conduct a system-wide examination of equity concerns. The final appointments were made March 26 following an hour of public comments during which speakers criticized the proposed selection of new ninth-grade history textbooks that link Muslims and terrorism, and calls from members of the Loudoun County NAACP to investigate systematic shortcomings that they said have resulted in fewer than 10 black students gaining admission to the Academies of Loudoun and in gifted and talented programs generally.
Ultimately, the books were removed from consideration and the Virginia Attorney Generals Office opened a formal inquiry to review the admissions criteria at the academies.
In May, Williams introduced Lottie Spurlock as the school systems first equity director. Spurlock, who was serving as principal at Cardinal Ridge Elementary School in South Riding, was already working as a facilitator during the Ad Hoc Committee on Equity meetings.
The consultants system-wide equity assessment of the school division was released in June. The Equity Collaborative completed a series of focus group sessions and interviews at 24 schools across the county. Williams noted that the report found that school systemstaff members showed a low level of racial consciousness and racial literacy, and were unclear and fearful on how to participate in conversations about race, let alone respond to racially-charged incidents. We must make it clear throughout Loudoun County Public Schools that we reject this painful, racist language that encourages discrimination, hatred, and violence. Addressing these needs and others identified in the report will allow us to better fulfill our mission of empowering ALL students to make meaningful contributions to the world, Williams wrote in a statement at the time.
Among the first actions in response to the findings was the adoption of a policy statement crafted by the equity committee: Loudoun County School Board and its division superintendent publicly declare the condemnation of White supremacy, hate speech, hate crimes, and other hate-based acts of violence, and any instances of hate, discrimination, and violence based on race, religion, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, appearance, and socio-economic status.
While many members pushed to make the ad-hoc panel a permanent standing committee, a School Board majority opted to leave that decision to the next board, although the term of the panel was extended beyond the original December deadline to complete its work.
At years end, the board was embroiled in another controversy, as a vocal group of parents mounted a months-long protest to some of the books selected for diverse library collections to be available in all school classrooms. At each meeting, parents lined up to read graphic sex scenes found in the pages of some of the books. Parents questioned whether the books were age-appropriate, whether they conflicted with material presented in Family Life Education classes or should be provided at school at all.
The diversity collection totals 3,400 books, 600 in elementary school classrooms, 1,200 in grades 6 through 8, and 1,600 in high schools. Of those, the vast majority of the books98 percent at the elementary level and 92 percent in high schoolwere selected to help students explore differences of race, culture, language and religion. The other two categories of books are intended to address disabilities/abilities and LGBTQ subjects. The larger of those two collections is focused on LGBTQ matters, with five books in the elementary collection, 44 in middle schools, and 82 in high schools.
Under school policy, the appropriateness of the books is being reviewed on a case-by-case basis once a formal complaint is made. At years end, some titles had been administratively shifted in grade level, but only one had been restricted by a School Board review panel.
Among the final actions of the School Board in December was to amend its anti-discrimination hiring policy to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. The change had been debated many times over several years. Critics worried that itcould have the unintended consequences of changing the divisions policies regarding the use of bathrooms and locker rooms or accommodations during overnight field trips by possibly granting new gender identity rights. Supporters said the expanded protections were important to the divisions efforts to hire the best teachers available.
Read the original post:
- The Social Cost Of COVID-19 - The ASEAN Post - September 8th, 2020
- Stalwarts who founded and built the UNP must be turning in their graves - NewsIn.Asia - September 8th, 2020
- 2020 could be the year of 'peak Democrat' in Colorado. This is why. - Colorado Springs Gazette - September 8th, 2020
- Trump and the RNC should remind Cuban voters of Fidel Castro, not their political home - NBC News - August 31st, 2020
- Analysis: Will Uzbekistan's Champion of Reform Stay the Course? - Voice of America - August 31st, 2020
- It's Never Been More Clear: Fare Hikes Won't Save the MBTA - Boston magazine - August 31st, 2020
- Libertarians Took Control of This Small Town. It Didn't End Well. - Washington Monthly - August 31st, 2020
- Point-Counterpoint: Benefits will outweigh the consequences for college football this fall - University of Pittsburgh The Pitt News - August 31st, 2020
- Fact-checking the first night of the 2020 Republican National Convention - Poynter - August 31st, 2020
- Moody's: Coronavirus is accelerating shift to online education - Education Dive - August 31st, 2020
- Corbella: Facts and fairness show public sector workers should have their pay cut - Calgary Herald - August 31st, 2020
- Fred Perpall, CEO of The Beck Group, says Blacks and whites need to be more inclusive - The Dallas Morning News - August 31st, 2020
- Could On-Campus Housing At Local Universities Lead To COVID-19 Outbreaks? - NBC San Diego - August 31st, 2020
- Explained: What to look for in GDP data today - The Indian Express - August 31st, 2020
- 35th District Race Brings Three Options to Clinton, Killingworth, and Westbrook - Zip06.com - August 31st, 2020
- Beware the Chinese Economy Recovery Trap - JAPAN Forward - August 31st, 2020
- At RNC, here's what Trump, Republicans have to say our country and economy if they want to win - Fox Business - August 31st, 2020
- When we went to remote learning I could feel every teacher's eyes on me - Sydney Morning Herald - August 31st, 2020
- Bad bank not only necessary but unavoidable in present situation: Subbarao - THE WEEK - August 31st, 2020
- MORSE denies allegations of INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR State REOPENING is on PAUSE Senate race gets NEGATIVE - Politico - August 10th, 2020
- Austerity: Another officer retires, rehired by Odisha government - The New Indian Express - August 10th, 2020
- Media Training Workshop on Using the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act for Investigative Reports on Campaign Fi - The Nigerian Voice - August 10th, 2020
- Detainees concerned for well-being as COVID-19 cases rise in crowded Hays County Jail - Community Impact Newspaper - August 10th, 2020
- The Endowment is Not the Issue - Harvard Political Review - August 10th, 2020
- DAILY VOICE: Four reasons why IT stocks are hitting 52-week highs - Moneycontrol.com - August 10th, 2020
- Kashmiris Lament the Loss of Their Youth - Foreign Policy - August 10th, 2020
- SLPP has creatively disrupted politics; now it has to do the same to the economy - ft.lk - August 10th, 2020
- More freedom to banks, further rate cut not ruled out: 10 key takeaways from policy meet - Economic Times - August 9th, 2020
- In HBO film, Ken Buck suggests he will leave Congress soon - The Denver Post - August 9th, 2020
- Biden's Climate Plan Would Put Us on the Road to Serfdom - The Heartland Institute - August 9th, 2020
- Krishi Kalyan & Cashew India App: Farmers Breathe Sigh of Relief As Government Aims To Revive Indian Agro Industry - The Indian Wire - August 9th, 2020
- How Attacks on Faith, Family, and Conscience Threaten All Our Freedoms - Daily Signal - August 8th, 2020
- Military Alliances, Partnerships Strengthened Through Defense Strategy Execution - Department of Defense - August 8th, 2020
- @theMarket: The Economy Versus the Stock Market - iBerkshires.com - August 8th, 2020
- UK housing is on the agenda. How do we really build back better? - Big Issue - August 8th, 2020
- Letter: You'd think police would have better things to do than silence street musicians - Seacoastonline.com - August 5th, 2020
- Secretary Michael R. Pompeo Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the Fiscal Year 2021 State Department Budget Request - US Embassy in... - August 5th, 2020
- Brcko District to improve the Fiscal Discipline and Transparency of Expenditure of Public Funds - Sarajevo Times - August 5th, 2020
- How to find a pubmedia job in a pandemic - Current - August 5th, 2020
- Don't tell the separatists but Alberta is lapping up federal aid in record amounts - iPolitics.ca - August 5th, 2020
- Guest opinion: Address to C-SD Class of 2020 - Dorchester Banner - Dorchester Banner - August 5th, 2020
- Making sure the U.S. military remains the best in the world - Brookings Register - August 5th, 2020
- Mailbag: 'Choose life and success' over COVID-19 - Los Angeles Times - August 5th, 2020
- With Trump reelection uncertain, GOP battles over its future - Los Angeles Times - August 4th, 2020
- Leading the Way on Higher Education Reform through Smart Giving - Philanthropy Magazine - August 4th, 2020
- Let's be blunt about it: Russ Diamond is a jerk - The Times of Chester County - August 4th, 2020
- College Football Needs to Change. The Pac-12s Players Are Making That Happen. - The Ringer - August 4th, 2020
- Fiscal Freedom - The Heritage Foundation - August 2nd, 2020
- Gen Z GOP wants to build the Republican Party of the future - Boston Herald - August 2nd, 2020
- Rallying cry: 'There is no reason this statue needs to be moved' - messenger-inquirer - August 2nd, 2020
- No Europe Without the Rule of Law by Harold James - Project Syndicate - August 2nd, 2020
- Today's Headlines and Commentary - Lawfare - August 2nd, 2020
- Faculty push back on how colleges are planning for the fall - Education Dive - August 2nd, 2020
- Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles Converters Market 2020 Analysis by Geographical Regions, Type and Application Till 2026 with Top Key Players - Owned - August 2nd, 2020
- New release shows the value of the Union to the nations of the UK - GOV.UK - August 2nd, 2020
- LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: School administration in Middletown is dysfunctional - The Providence Journal - August 1st, 2020
- Making sure US military remains the best - The Highland County Press - August 1st, 2020
- LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: School administration in Middletown is dysfunctional - newportri.com - July 31st, 2020
- LETTER: Eckert 'attempted to deceive voters' - The Daily News of Newburyport - July 31st, 2020
- Iowa regents OK cuts to university budgets, presidential compensation - The Gazette - July 31st, 2020
- Mooney is a freedom fighter | Journal-news | journal-news.net - Martinsburg Journal - July 31st, 2020
- Canadians' right to information should not be compromised: commissioner - Powell River Peak - July 31st, 2020
- Visit Sun Valley: Winter a time to get back to basics - Idaho Mountain Express and Guide - July 31st, 2020
- Editorials from around the US July 25-29 | Promotions | dailytimes.com - dailytimes.com - July 31st, 2020
- Two years after Janus, more workers are exercising their freedom of association - Long Beach Press Telegram - July 31st, 2020
- Two years after Janus, more workers are exercising their freedom of association - LA Daily News - July 30th, 2020
- Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin Health Network and Network Health Help Patients Manage Diabetes Using Glooko and Xealth - Business Wire - July 30th, 2020
- The times demand leadership: A message on the Conservative Party's leadership race - The Suburban Newspaper - July 29th, 2020
- NationalReview.com Launches New Section to Cover Business, Finance, and Economics from a NATIONAL REVIEW sensibility - PRNewswire - July 29th, 2020
- States need greater fiscal space to meet their expenditure obligations: NK Singh - Economic Times - July 27th, 2020
- Canadians' right to information should not be compromised: commissioner - The Tri-City News - July 27th, 2020
- Coronavirus update: Global case tally climbs to 15.6 million and U.S. hits 4.07 million as virus spreads fast in Florida, California and Texas -... - July 25th, 2020
- OPINION EXCHANGE | Wall Street seems oblivious to the political threat of 2020 - Minneapolis Star Tribune - July 24th, 2020
- DIMOND: The Hypocrisy of the Black Lives Matter Movement - Rockland County Times - July 24th, 2020
- The coronavirus crisis shows now is the time to demand more from our government - Wisconsin Examiner - July 24th, 2020
- Despite surge in COVID-19, Trump says: Ill be right eventually its going to disappear - MarketWatch - July 24th, 2020
- Hong Kong is Freer Than You Think - TIME - July 23rd, 2020
- This training may be the secret to achieving long-term financial freedom - The Daily Dot - July 23rd, 2020
- Letters to the editor - 07/23/2020 | Viewpoint | chagrinvalleytoday.com - chagrinvalleytoday.com - July 23rd, 2020
- Best upcoming Xbox Series X games: The top next-gen games for 2020 and beyond - Pocket-lint - July 23rd, 2020