Success: School Board Moves to Correct Racial Disparity in Education

School Bus by Jyn Meyer

Target: Candace Chow, School Board President of District 65, Evanston, Illinois

Goal: Praise school board’s efforts to ensure racial equality and success for all students.

A school board has drafted a racial equity statement in order to guarantee that all its students succeed, regardless of racial background. A racial equity statement is a document stating what an organization or individual plans to do to eliminate racial inequality. This has happened in response to academic gaps between white and minority students in the district. In 2015, 64 percent of white kindergartners achieved the reading readiness standard, compared with 34 percent of their black counterparts. Many people and groups have spoken out about this issue, including activists at ForceChange. Support the district’s efforts to address this academic disparity and make sure every student flourishes.

The racial equity statement provided by the district tries to eliminate many of the challenges that make minorities less likely to succeed. Steps taken by the district include teacher training and the creation of a staff-level team dedicated to removing institutional barriers towards racial equality. The district has also committed itself to improving academic outcomes for students with disabilities, low income students, and English language learners so that academic success is not impeded by any of these factors.

Teacher expectations impact academic success so it is necessary to train teachers to be unbiased. Children whom teachers expect to succeed are given more specific feedback and more time to answer questions. Teachers have a powerful influence on students. Applaud District 65 for taking steps to ensure that it is the right influence.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Ms. Chow,

Thank you for taking steps to make your district a place where all children can succeed, regardless of minority or disability status, gender identity, or income level. The racial equity statement the school board has suggested addresses many of the impediments to minority success in the district. Pending community feedback, I believe that the statement you have proposed is an excellent plan and should be implemented as soon as possible.

It is important to address teacher expectations, as your plan currently does. Teachers’ beliefs about students often determine student success. Students that teachers believe will succeed often receive more encouragement from those teachers, in addition to academic advantages such as specific feedback and more time to answer questions. The teacher training that your statement outlines is crucial to eliminating minority achievement gaps.

Drafting this statement acknowledges that many of the problems minorities face in the district are institutional, while working to correct those problems. Thank you for taking your “every child, every day” mission statement seriously and working to make it a reality.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Jyn Meyer

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