A Southern California school district approved an “equity policy” that will provide teachers and other staff with “anti-racist” and “social justice-oriented” training, the Del Mar Times reported Wednesday.
Solana Beach School District approved the “equity policy” during a June 17 meeting, according to the Del Mar Times. The policy aims to “identify and correct any negative cultural biases as well as practices, policies, and institutional barriers” that influence student learning and reinforce “institutional bias.”
“The Board will remedy inequities experienced in the context of a history of exclusion, discrimination, and segregation,” the policy said. To accomplish this task, district staff will be given “ongoing, research-based, professional learning and professional development on culturally responsive, anti-racist, and social justice-oriented instructional and discipline practices.”
Through the “equity” programs, the district will focus on addressing “the equal access of academic outcomes and performance of all students on all indicators.”
According to the Del Mar Times, the district will engage the community about their plans with meetings in the fall.
The board began discussing the policy in June 2020, before creating a 14-member advisory board in August to draft the policy.
“Representation matters and this policy is about representation,” Neha Khetan, a parent, said, according to the Del Mar Times. “It’s not about exclusion or blaming or making anyone feel bad. It’s not about theory or politics. It’s about letting our youngest children be seen.”
While some parents supported the potential of the policy to promote diversity in the school’s student body, other parents expressed concerns about the policy’s similarities to critical race theory (CRT).
“This policy as written has the potential to completely transform education as we know it in this district,” Diana Baldwin, a parent who served on the policy subcommittee, said, according to the Del Mar Times. Baldwin also said the policy “echoes the tenets of the controversial teachings of Critical Race Theory,” and promotes hatred and a “victim-mentality.”
CRT holds that America is fundamentally racist, yet teaches individuals to view every social interaction and person in terms of race. Its adherents pursue “antiracism” through the end of merit, objective truth and the adoption of race-based policies.
Other parents said the policy could be used as justification for equal outcomes instead of equal opportunity, which could lead to the elimination of advances or honors programs, according to the Del Mar Times.
“We think little kids are simple and innocent and overemphasizing differences in color, race and creed may cast a shadow on their hearts and create more division than unity,” Mingming Zhang, a parent, said, according to the Del Mar Times.
The Solana Beach School District did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.
Numerous school districts across the country have implemented “equity policies” that involve “anti-racist” education and trainings.
In mid-June, a Vermont school district voted to adopt an “equity policy” that will begin “anti-racist” and LGBTQ education in pre-kindergarten.
“Anti-racist education and LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual) affirming education” will be given to educators and their students beginning in pre-kindergarten, the policy at Essex Westford School District said. (RELATED: School District To Begin ‘Anti-Racist’ And LGBTQ Education In Pre-K)
“Equity policies” often involve similar language and goals. In Pennsylvania, a school district proposed an “equity policy” that would “address, eliminate, and prevent actions, decisions and outcomes that result from discrimination and inequity,” and “enlist support of experts and stakeholders to assist school leaders in examining equity practices.”
In Florida, parents in one district pushed the school board to remove the term “white advantage” from its “equity statement” after parents rebuked the phrase as divisive and racist, and accused the school of inappropriately imparting personal political opinions.