Douglas County teachers and parents,
There are people in and outside our county trying to mislead you about the state of the equity policy, claiming that the school board majority is removing the policy and doesn’t care about kids' livelihoods. Both of these statements are false and are often meant to sow division and fear in Douglas County. Don’t fall for it.
It clarifies that kids can best reach their full potential when they’re treated primarily as individuals, not simply as members of identity groups.
The equity policy remains in place. The recent board resolution begins the process of clarifying the policy to help cultivate the culture that we all want–a welcoming environment where teachers are empowered to treat students as individuals to help them reach their full academic potential.
Equity can be a loaded word–at times synonymous with things like forcing equal outcomes, focusing kids’ attention to their surface-level differences, and stereotyping children based on their immutable traits. We’ve sadly seen examples of this across the country and close to home.
To avoid these regressive pitfalls, an equity policy needs to clearly define its guardrails and goals.
However, the current policy is vague on these important points and heavily emphasizes immutable differences. This opened the door for a consultant to come in last year and train DCSD staff to think that equity requires looking at the world through the lens of racial power struggles and judging a child’s current capabilities based on the color of their skin. The consultant went on to say that parents who disagree with this direction should be ignored.
That version of equity won’t motivate any child to succeed. And if a policy allows for this kind of mentality to enter a school district, the policy needs to be clarified.
It reiterates that we want a welcoming, inclusive culture in DCSD where each child has the educational resources and opportunity to thrive. It clarifies that kids can best reach their full potential when they’re treated primarily as individuals, not simply as members of identity groups. The resolution also emphasizes that we should teach America’s full history, nurture diversity of thought, and that–still partnering with schools–parents remain the primary influencer of their children’s values.
That kind of empowering culture is what we owe teachers, parents, and kids. It’s also a mandate that voters gave the newly elected board majority who are now following through on that commitment.
The equity policy remains in place, the process has begun to clarify it, and the principles at the heart of it– a welcoming culture where each student has the tools to reach their full academic potential–will be preserved.
The people who tell you otherwise are often trying to confuse you and create fear. Don’t let them.