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Beware ‘equity’  plan for schools

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

I have recently become aware of the EDequityVA initiative put into place in Virginia schools by Gov. Ralph Northam and the Virginia Department of Education.

You will find nothing in the newspapers about how this initiative is becoming embedded in Virginia schools. To find out for yourself, check out the bulletin distributed by the VDOE on July 14. There you will find a letter by Superintendent of Instruction James F. Lane in which he spells it out for us all.

He states, “At the Virginia Department of Education, we are committed to establishing concrete plans to dismantle any and all forms of systemic racism in Virginia’s public education system utilizing the principles of anti-racism.”

This sounds very good and benign. However, he is not talking about the idea of encouraging students, educators, division leaders and community members to believe in and accept the equality of all races. He is referencing an ideology that claims racism is rampant in Virginia schools and responsible for the gaps in academic achievement by “marginalized” students.

How is the VDOE going about implementing the stated “concrete plans?” Throughout Virginia, school systems have designed new positions. There are equity directors, equity coordinators and designated equity leads poised to “advance equity outcomes.” School superintendents have been tasked to complete an 11-page “Navigating EDequityVA Equity Audit Tool” that is available on the VDOE website. This tool will give you an insight into what is coming and what is already here.

I am deeply concerned about the mission, goals and policies of the EDequityVA initiative. Teachers work hard to make sure ALL students are successful, whether it be by working one-on-one with failing students, tutoring after school, purchasing extra materials from their own pockets, or doing whatever it takes to make a difference. As a professional educator, I witnessed this over and over again.

It is disturbing that our Governor and the VDOE consider our schools to be so rife with systemic racism that it must be eradicated with draconian and overreaching measures. Nothing can be further from the truth and it is certain to cause racial division.

I encourage all parents, grandparents and citizens who are concerned for our children to do your own research by deeply exploring the links on the VDOE website. Also, subscribe to the “Virginia is for Learners” newsletter and search the hashtag #EdEquityVA. Other good resources on this topic can be found at familyfoundation.org and baconsrebellion.com. This initiative is being implemented in all grade levels. Become aware and become involved before it is too late.

 

Minette Brooks

Smithfield