This equity program was developed by Gary Howard. A simple search of his name will quickly provide a glimpse into Howard's beliefs. Here is a link to a paper Howard wrote that appears on his website.
So far, the county has paid for four days of "Deep Equity Training" with Gary Howard.
Fauquier County’s equity team, lead by four people, is training principals this summer. In August, new teachers will be trained in this program, and September-May there will be four additional training sessions for school employees lead by the equity team and someone from the program. This program is not free. I've asked the county how much money has been spent on this training to date. I am still waiting for that answer
I believe in equity, but feel we need to be looking at equity with a much broader scope. In this article, Dr. Jeck points out graduation rates for all students in our county and graduation rates for African American students. What are our graduation rates for students with disabilities? Low income students? Hispanic students? Why didn’t Dr. Jeck list any of these in this article? They should all be represented in a discussion about equity.
In my opinion, our county's biggest obstacle regarding equity is standing in front of many classrooms. Equity is about removing barriers and providing students equal access to a quality education. If my child is taking Algebra I with an experienced, certified teacher, and your child has a long term sub with no math background or a first year teacher, our children are not getting equal access to a quality education.
I continue to watch as teaching positions are reclassified into higher paying central office positions. The result, bigger classes (since there are fewer teachers in the classroom), and less money to pay teachers. Teachers are given more students, more responsibilities, less time to plan, and a small income. THIS is the reason we have lost approximately one third of our teaching staff. Many are just burning out.
We need to focus on getting the very best in classrooms teaching our kids. Until we have qualified, certified teachers in EVERY classroom, we do not have the money to pay coaches, specialists, supervisors, etc. . . Yes, other counties may have these positions, but they also have a bigger checkbook. I learned a valuable lesson when I was 16. Do not write checks if you don't have the money. We can't keep going to the Board of Supervisors, aka taxpayers, asking for more money when we are spending money on positions and programs such as this.
Taxpayers are smart and the key to changing our educational system. I encourage you to research Gary Howard and his equity program. Is this program in the best interest of ALL our students? Is it the best use of our tax dollars? Were taxpayers asked how they felt about this program before it was implemented?
The schools work for taxpayers, and taxpayers do not have enough information or say in all the things that are taking place in our schools. This has got to change.
The author of this piece grew up in Fauquier County Public Schools and has been teaching in them for the past 17 years. Norden is currently seeking a seat on the School Board in the Scott District.