Loudoun’s $6 Million Equity Initiative

Eric Williams, superintendent of Loudoun County public schools, has proposed a 10.8% increase in the school system’s local funding. The sum includes a $6 million “investment effort” to address equity concerns, reports Loudoun Now.

The initiative would create a “supervisor of equity” position to report to the recently created “director of equity,” and create a team of a supervisor and three instructional facilitators to “focus on equity and culturally responsive instruction.” Two teachers will be hired to bring more diversity to gifted education programs. Five positions will  be empowered to reduce discipline proportionately (by race) and decrease use of hateful speech and racial slurs.

Here’s a prediction: That $6 million will be a total waste, as measured by educational outcomes.

Note: This chart corrects an error that appeared in the e-mailed version of this post.

The English Standards of Learning (SOL) pass rates for major racial/ethnic groups in Loudoun County and for the state as a whole appear above.

Here’s my argument: If you misdiagnose the problem, your proffered remedies will do no good. Indeed, given the perversity of complex systems like school districts, misdiagnosing the problem might do outright harm. I fear that Mr. Williams, guided by progressive zealotry, has totally misdiagnosed the problem, and I predict his “investment” of $6 million will either make no difference or do active harm to Loudoun’s black and Hispanic student populations.

Perhaps I am wrong. At least readers can hold me accountable by comparing the change in SOL results between the 2018-19 school year (the most recent year for which data is available) and of the 2020-21 school year (which will reflect the year in which the $6 million, if approved, will be spent.)

I’ll try to remember to make that comparison when the 2020-21 SOLs are published in a year-and-a-half. If I forget, readers, please hold my feet to the fire. (Hat tip: Rose Ellen Ray.)