Guest Columnists

Leadership needed for equity plan

Foremost, I am seeking a seat on the ICCSD Board of Directors to address the long standing disparate educational results experienced by students of color in this school district.

Some 50 percent of black or African-American and Hispanic/Latino students are not receiving an education that enables them to achieve standard levels of proficiency in reading, math and science. The gaps in proficiency between students of color and white students has been at 30 to 35 percent for at least two decades. We can reduce those gaps to zero. We are morally obligated to reduce those gaps to zero.

For the last 3 years I have served on the school district equity committee, which is charged to “make recommendations for the school program as it relates to equal educational opportunity and multicultural/gender fair education.”

Two years ago the committee recommended, and the board approved, the district’s Comprehensive Equity Plan. The goal of the plan is to “annually improve the educational experiences for all children through culturally inclusive and responsive school environments and classroom instruction, as measured by various student assessments with a focus on equitable outcomes for students in protected classes.”

The plan outlines four objectives, each with action steps, time lines and assessments designed to result in:

• reducing disproportionality in discipline, special education assignment, graduation rates, course taking and achievement;

• increasing staff of color;

• incorporating multicultural/gender fair curriculum in all schools;

• increasing community engagement in district initiatives.

With clear and persistent leadership from the board as we implement this plan I believe we can have an educational system of teachers, support staff, and administrators that is free of racial and ethnic achievement gaps in any educational area. I will work cooperatively with other members of the board to accomplish these equity goals.

• Charlie Eastham of Iowa City is seeking a two-year term on the Iowa City school board



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