Unimpressed by equity ‘audit’

Published 5:26 pm Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

I participated recently in one of Isle of Wight County Schools’ ($60,000) equity audit focus groups as facilitated by Dr. Valaida Wise Consulting.

After being asked to self-identify by skin color, sexual orientation and name origination, we were asked a series of questions designed to stimulate discussion centered on perceptions of what is fair and equitable and who is marginalized. Discussion was certainly stimulated, and as far as I could tell, most of the participants are not satisfied with IWCS efforts (so far) to push a race/gender driven segregation ideology into our schools without parents’ knowledge or approval.

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The group seemed to agree that schools should focus on academics instead of social engineering. Time will tell how Wise interprets this “audit.”

From thousands of emails obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, I have learned that IWCS has been actively implementing an equity agenda since at least November 2020.  One of Smithfield High’s “Read Woke Challenge” (banned) books titled “All American Boys” is being used to coach K-12 English teachers to engage in “courageous conversations” with students.

Haley Cooprider (instructional literature, IWCS) said, “So, exciting that you are all about to read All American Boys by Jason Reynolds with your class.” During week one of school, many grew upset upon learning of the content in TEDed and Discovery Learning applications installed on (K-12) school-issued electronic devices.

Is it a coincidence that school administrators reviewed policy on “teaching controversial issues” prior to purchasing these applications containing even more inappropriate materials? I think not!

Yes, we can always strive to improve, but let’s improve without segregating students by skin color. Let’s improve without victimizing children of one skin color and labeling others as oppressors. Our kids deserve better!

The school board and superintendent have both said “critical race” is not being taught and equity training would not involve students, yet we now know otherwise.

The goal of equity is “equal outcomes.” We don’t need equity in IWC; we need equal opportunities, new board members and a superintendent who focuses on education instead of his “business partners”!


Jason P. Maresh