by James C. Sherlock
The Superintendent of Virginia Beach Schools has some work to do now that the Equity Policy he signed off on has been approved. The policy was developed with the assistance of the Virginia Beach Schools Equity Council.
I have recommended today to the School Board and the Superintendent that they make the first order of business changing the membership of the Equity Council to make it more equitable in compliance with the new policy. It will need either to be expanded into uselessness or reconstructed with new membership.
The current leadership of the Council consists of two members of the school board and the Virginia Beach Schools Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Each is black, as are the majority of the members. I frankly don’t care about that, but now Virginia Beach Schools officially does.
As examples of primary intellectual references of the Council, under the heading Resources, see the Council’s “Professional learning topics for staff and adults.” They include (with links):
- Courageous Conversations about Race, Glenn Singleton — I discussed this one at length in a previous essay.
- Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, Zaretta Hammond. Here you can learn from a woman whose highest academic credential is a Masters in in Secondary English Education that the amygdala, the region of the brain primarily associated with emotional processes, is “malleable and can be changed by re-programming our brains and creating new ‘cognitive habits.’” And she runs a consulting company that can help with that. Really. Who could have guessed?
Judging from the names of the members and such internet research platforms as are available, there is no evidence of either members of Asian ancestry, including Virginia Beach’s large population of Philippine ancestry, or any member of Hispanic ancestry. I hope I am wrong. If I am, I am not alone.
More than one speaker at the School Board meeting Wednesday night pointed out specifically that the Council and the new equity policy underrepresent the interests of Hispanic and Filipino students.
Per the new policy, representation on the Council should also include representatives of multiple religions and persons with various sexual orientations, gender identities and disabilities.
The disregard of diverse interests has been, to parrot an adjective much in use today, systemic. As example, the current list of equity observances sponsored by the Council in Virginia Beach Schools makes no mention of Asian or Hispanic history or cultures, none of religions, and none of sexual orientations.
The membership of the Council and its actions demonstrate a complete lack of both serious attention within school system to this important matter and introspection within the Council itself.
The Virginia Beach Schools Equity Council appears utterly unrepresentative of the diversity for which it purports to speak. It would be hypocritical to leave it that way.
Perhaps that can be a topic at the next School Board meeting.There are currently no comments highlighted.