Equity Policies — Learning from Others

I’m still working through what did and did not happen with Equity at Monday’s MMSD Board of Education meeting (video here, starting at about the 2 hour and 25 minute mark) and how and why things did and did not happen. The very short version is that the Board passed a policy that did not include the “Considerations” or any implementation regulation or guidance, but thanks to an amendment by Maya Cole does improve upon the draft version’s reporting clause (for more information and my pre-meeting thoughts, see this post).

One of the canards that was part of the discussion was that (Equity) policies can or should not include implementation guidelines or regulations. Policies and implementation plans come in many forms; there is no one right way. For that reason, I’m going do a series of posts on what other districts are doing in this area.

My opinion is that Madison is doing much and isn’t doing enough. Madison is doing much because many of the programs and procedures in place embody equity ideals. Madison isn’t doing enough because there is not a systematic focus on equity related issues and much of what goes on is simply “current practice” and note the result of any clear commitment. Focus and commitment could be derived from a policy or (like in Brookline, MA) a specific initiative. Whatever you think is best, it is always good to know what other districts are doing as a basis for comparison.

Today’s post is from Charlotte-Mecklenburg, NC School District. Like MMSD, CMS is a founding member of the Minority Student Achievement Network.

Here is the entirety of CMS’s “Equitable Educational Opportunities” policy:

The Board of Education is committed to providing equal access to excellent educational opportunities for all its students in all its schools.

The provision of such opportunities for all students is expected to require providing additional resources and implementing innovative strategies to schools serving students with additional educational needs, particularly students at risk of academic failure. Such resources and strategies may include, but are not limited to: differentiated staffing; smaller class sizes; increased instructional supplies and materials; expanded and renovated facilities; innovative family and community involvement initiatives; upgraded technology; comprehensive co-curricular activities; supplemental guidance and counseling; enhanced professional development; and preschool educational opportunities.

In determining whether all students are being provided with such opportunities, the Board of Education shall adopt baseline standards in the following areas: educational opportunities; student achievement; instructional materials and supplies; media equipment and resources; technology; facilities; faculty; teacher/student ratio; and family and community involvement.

On an annual basis, aligned with the annual budget process, the Superintendent shall present to the Board of Education the following: recommendations related to the baseline standards in the areas listed above; assessment of whether all students are being provided equal access to excellent educational opportunities; strategies for ensuring that all students are provided such opportunities; determination of the amounts of funding and resources needed to provide such opportunities; and recommended allocation and reallocation of the funds and resources needed to provide those opportunities.

On an annual basis, aligned with the annual budget process, the Board of Education shall do the following: comprehensively review and revise the baseline standards in the areas listed above; assess whether all students are being provided equal access to excellent educational opportunities; direct the Superintendent to develop strategies for ensuring that those opportunities are being provided; determine the amounts of funding and resources needed to provide such opportunities; seek and direct the Superintendent to seek the funds and resources needed to provide such opportunities; and allocate, reallocate and direct the Superintendent to allocate and reallocate the funds and resources needed to provide those opportunities.

The Board and Superintendent shall appoint a committee to help facilitate the annual analysis of the provision of equal access to excellent educational opportunities for all its students in all its schools. The Superintendent shall establish and implement regulations and strategies designed to accomplish the requirements of this policy.

This is much, much more specific in implementation and reporting than what Madison has adopted. I like it.

For more equity related policies from CMS, click here.

For more on the equity work in CMS, click here, 2006 PowerPoint here.

Thomas J. Mertz

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1 Comment

Filed under "education finance", AMPS, Best Practices, Budget, education, Equity, Local News, Uncategorized, We Are Not Alone

One response to “Equity Policies — Learning from Others

  1. David Cohen

    I’ve always worried that an Equity Policy would not be a panacea; as we’ve seen, the Board (or is that the Administration) prefers a philosophical policy to guide practical decision making. I understand that, in the give and take inherent in the Board-Administration relationship, this approach might work. It’s incumbent on the Board, as well as us citizens, to continue to push these issues of Equity (be they resource allocations, disciplinary, budgetary, programatic, etc.) and keep both of the arms of the MMSD engaged on Equity.

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