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U-46 passes resolution ‘Call to Action for Equity’
By Seth Hancock
The Board of Education in School District U-46 unanimously approved of a “Call to Action for Equity” resolution at its meeting on Monday, June 15 which was held electronically due to the COVID-19 shutdown.
The vote came on the heels of U-46 embracing Black Lives Matter (BLM), a Marxist political organization.
The resolution states that an equity policy was put in place in 2014 as the district has put an emphasis on equity over equality. U-46 defines equity as “supporting each student according to their need” and equality as “giving all students the same support.”
That 2014 policy’s objective is that “all students will meet or exceed college and career ready standards” by graduation according to the resolution.
The resolution states that the deaths of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor who was killed by police during a no-knock raid in Kentucky and Ahmaud Arbery who was killed by residents in Georgia as the reason for this U-46 “call to action.”
Floyd’s death has sparked racially-charged protests around the country. The resolution notes the protests but does not make mention of the violent looting and rioting that has also occurred.
“We believe that a public statement is not enough to compel action to address the persistent policies, practices, and structures that continue to marginalize students, staff, and community members of color…. We reaffirm our commitment to equity and educational justice, and will seek to address the equity issues impacting our schools and the entire U-46 community,” the resolution states.
U-46 Superintendent Tony Sanders said all residents need to be on board with the district’s agenda.
“We need everybody working to support us in this important, important work,” Sanders said.
Board member Eva Porter said “words must be followed by action…. The protests that you see on TV is a demonstration of hurt and pain in the community and a call to action.”
Porter said U-46 should use taxpayer dollars to increase its technological and food handouts, to provide ongoing racial training to staff and to hire staff “that reflect our diverse population for all students.” She said: “We need to act as if there was a pandemic every day.”
“We must take a deep look into how we are serving our brown and black students…. We need to make sure that we have people that look like black and brown and white children that we represent in this district,” Porter said.
Recruitment and retention of staff “that reflects the diversity of the student body” and offering ongoing racially-charged professional development are included in the resolution which also calls to remedy “any practices that lead to over-representation of students of color in special education and student discipline” and “that lead to under-representation of students of color” in gifted programming.
Porter also said resources need to be purchased that “reflect everybody” and the resolution calls for “culturally relevant” resources to be purchased.
What should be noted is that the current board has unanimously approved all 18 curriculum proposals presented with little discussion and no discussion on the content of resources. On the previous board, which included five of the current seven members, a former board member’s opposition to several curriculum items due to their one-sided, politically-charged resources were mostly ignored or she was met with ridicule from colleagues during board meetings.
Sue Kerr, the board’s president, said: “One thing I like about this is that it’s not just a resolution, it’s a call to action.”
Board member John Devereux said that “recent events… have put a bright light on the challenges placed on our black and brown students” and U-46 needs to “acknowledge where we’re falling short.”
“We need everybody engaged in this,” said board member Melissa Owens. “This is a societal problem that none of us are going to solve on our own.”
The vote came two days after U-46 posted a video supporting BLM on the day of the district’s virtual graduation.
“As we celebrate our graduates today, our high school principals took less than 8 minutes and 46 seconds - the time that it took to kill George Floyd - to share some thoughts about who and what matters in this critical moment in our nation’s history,” U-46 described the video.
BLM lists on its website one of it’s core beliefs being to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure,” and co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors said: “We actually do have an ideological frame. We are trained Marxists.”