The Fairfax County School Board began to develop an “anti-racism, anti-bias” policy in 2020. The process seemed to take a back seat to other initiatives in 2021. Now, however, the proposal is being revived, renamed as an “equity policy.”
The planned scope of the policy, and the process for drafting and considering it, was discussed by the Board at the work session on July 12. A slide show was used to summarize the scope and timetable for the project; it can been seen HERE.
The main points that emerged at the July 12 meeting were:
- The Board regards the proposal as very significant, affecting all aspects of the school system’s activities, including allocation of school funding, teaching and learning, workforce hiring and retention, relationships with the community, facilities, transportation, etc.
- The Board recognizes that “equity” is a highly charged term. It directed the staff to carefully define what “equity” and “equitable outcomes” mean, so as to provide assurance to the public.
- The Board emphasized that input from the public should be sought at all stages of developing the policy. The Board’s staff stated that it contemplates getting input via a public survey, public forums, communications by Board members to constituents, input from advisory committees, and interaction with “stakeholders.”
- The policy will require mechanisms for measuring success and for accountability.
The policy hasn’t been drafted yet, so the discussion at the Board’s work session was very general. The process of developing and adopting the policy will take many months.
Rigorous monitoring needs to occur as the policy is being developed. Although Board members stated at the work session that the policy should “benefit everyone,” not just specific groups, the devil will be in the details, not in the public relations characterizations of it.
Interested individuals and groups should keep abreast of developments and should make their views known to the Board. I will keep tabs on the process at Fairfax Schools Monitor, and will try to keep others informed.
In the near term, I plan to send a letter to the Superintendent and Board members, providing my preliminary input. I will post that letter on this site when I send it.