Vote on Park City School District educational equity policy likely in June￼
The policy has divided some residents but supporters say it has majority approval
The Park City Board of Education has made final tweaks on a proposed educational equity policy for the school district and is expected to vote at a June 20 meeting on whether to approve it.
Board members voted at a Tuesday meeting to post the policy for 20 days, which is required before they can vote on whether to adopt it.
The policy has been in the works for years and the district has been taking public comment on it at recent forums and school board meetings. Board President Andrew Caplan estimates 65% of the feedback has been in favor of the policy and 35% against it.
Equity Policy 1006 defines equity as “Fair treatment, access, opportunity and advancement for all people, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups.”
All students are capable of learning and educational equity is the distribution of resources to provide equal opportunities based upon the needs of each individual student, according to the policy.
“The board of education, holds itself, district, and school site, decision makers, faculty, and support staff accountable for building a district wide commitment to equity and inclusion,” the policy also says.
Proponents say the policy will help all children to reach their academic and social potential and merely codifies what Park City School District has been doing for years. Opponents insist the policy will create bias and lower academic standards.
The split over the proposal showed up in comments at Tuesday’s board meeting.
Rebeca Gonzalez, a sixth-grade teacher at Ecker Hill Middle School and a Latinos in Action coach, said the policy will help recruit and retain a diverse staff of teachers.
“I did not have a teacher of color in my schools and that affected me because there wasn’t much talk of equity when I was a student and this policy would have changed my life,” Gonzalez said. “It would have helped me feel like I belonged.”
Noting that 65% of the feedback has been in support of the policy, Allyson McGuire urged board members to approve it.
“The public has spoken and you will never have unanimous agreement on this or any other topic,” she said.
Parent Lisa Wall — citing a comment made by a student at an earlier meeting that the policy will give Latinos who face harassment somebody to turn to — said the district already has a policy prohibiting bullying and hazing.
“I’d like to know who that somebody is,” she said. “He and other students think this equity policy will alleviate all their problems. Will it? I don’t think so.”
Jonathan Mount, a Park City High School alumnus, said academics would suffer under the policy and added he is troubled “by the notion that students shouldn’t be treated the same.”
“Rather than granting opportunities, we are stripping them away,” Mount, who is a student at Middlebury College in Vermont, said. “Educational equity does not equate to educational success and lower standards are certainly not indicative of higher achievement.”
The district did master planning in 2017 and created its mission statement to support all children to reach their academic and social potential. All policy and budget decisions have been made using that statement as a guiding principle, according to Caplan.
The policy says the district recognizes the role systems of bias and discrimination play in creating disparities and that it addresses “persistent gaps in academic achievement and growth, athletic and activity participation, and disciplinary outcomes for students.”
“The concept of educational equity goes beyond formal equality — where all students are treated the same — to foster a barrier-free environment where all students, staff, and stakeholders benefit equally,” the policy says.
To create and enforce their responsibilities, the Board of Education and Park City School District would commit to maintaining an Inspiring and Supporting All Students Equitably committee focused on systemwide implementation of the policy.
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