Some school districts are finding their efforts in expanding diversity, equity and inclusion are being challenged. This has been seen in the form of pausing proposals, volunteer groups, and leadership teams.
In December, a Colorado school district equity director, Alexis Knox-Miller, was forced to disband the equity leadership team after some new board members began voicing doubts about her work (ABC news). The new, mostly conservative board has said they will relook at the issue this spring.
Knox-Miller spoke on the subject saying, “Around the time that the equity audit was being released, I realized that the tide had changed around diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. People were conflating the definition of equity with critical race theory, and the absurd accusations that we were teaching race theory in classrooms to kindergartners began.”
Other districts have overturned proposals as a result of people mislabeling them as teaching or enforcing critical race theory in the classroom. Despite school districts repeatedly denying teaching critical race theory in K-12 schools, opponents continue to push that narrative.
Dan Domenech, the executive director of the School Superintendents Association, has said, “Even in districts that aren’t threatened as much, they’re thinking twice about what they say and what they do and how they go about doing it because it is having a chilling effect on the whole equity, diversity and inclusion movement.”
A Pennridge, Pennsylvania school district put their diversity, equity and inclusion initiative after several debates. It specifically proposed ways to improve recruiting diverse job candidates and to help improve training for teachers. It would also help create an understanding environment for students to learn and grow. Many other school districts are facing similar issues.
ARTICLE: JILLIAN WEIDNER
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: DENVER POST