Nine Years and Three Sentences.
When I joined the Prince George's County Board of Education in 2015, I vowed that educational equity was to be a core pillar of my service, initiatives, and advocacy. From our academic programs and how we fund our schools to the diversity of our staff and extracurricular opportunities for our students, educational equity must be embedded into the work that we, as a school system, do each and every day.
Currently, the Board of Education has a policy on equity, Board Policy 0103, that has not be review and/or amended in nearly nine years and it is only three sentences long. It should come as no surprise to many that our school system and the students, families, and communities that we serve need a policy that directly speaks to the current educational supports needed to close academic achievement gaps that, for some schools and communities, have been generational.
It is because of this outdated and brief Board policy that I asked the Board to establish the 2017-2018 Joint Task Force on Educational Equity for Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS). After a year-long analysis of all aspects of our entire school system, this joint task force between the Board and the system's administration drafted a report that defined what educational equity is for PGCPS and identified twenty-one recommendations to enhance educational equity in our school system - everything from Community Schools and expanding Career and Technical Education programs to requiring certain schools to hire social workers and, yes, updating our Board Policy and Administrative Procedure on Equity. To read the full report, click here.
Several of the recommendations put forth have already been established, including an effort I was proud to help lead regarding the establishment of Community Schools in PGCPS. However, if we, as a community, want to provide a restart into how educational equity looks for our students and schools, it must start with a policy that directly defines, establishes a framework, engrains this into the daily work of the system, and charges our leaders to bring this to fruition.
At tonight's Board of Education meeting, draft Board Policy 0101 - BASIC COMMITMENTS - Educational Equity will be presented before the Board and viewed by the public. It took nearly two years to craft this policy, but I truly believe that it is comprehensive and direct in what it aims to achieve - unapologetic educational equity for those who need it.
To view the drafted policy, click here.