The fight over CRT has exploded into the national news in Loudon County and other school districts in Virginia. The more parents push back, the harder districts and administrators seem to have doubled down on equity, anti-racism, and other aspects of CRT in the curriculum. As just one example, Fairfax County completely reversed its Controversial Issues Policy:
Virginia Bureaucrats Map Out ‘Anti-Racist’ Reeducation Plan | Opinion
Asra Nomani and Elizabeth Schultz 5/11/2021
On Thursday, parents in Fairfax County, Va., one of the country’s largest school districts, got a disturbing email. Superintendent Scott Brabrand said he is “revising” the district’s “Controversial Issues Policy,” which protects students from biased teaching, and developing a new “Anti-Racism, Anti-Bias Education Curriculum Policy.”
The Virginia Department of Education has reimagined the wording on its website, for instance by replacing “dismantling systems of oppression” with “dismantling inequities.” It publishes an entire dashboard full of anti-racist and diversity resources (archive link here) for school districts, through the Office of Equity and Community Engagement:
To push for excellence today without continuing to push for access for less privileged students is to undermine the crucial but incomplete gains that have been made. Equity and excellence cannot be divided.” -American Education scholar Earnest Boyer
Navigating EdEquityVA – Virginia’s Roadmap to Equity
The Office of Equity and Community Engagement is pleased to present the Commonwealth’s Education Equity Framework, Navigating EdEquityVA – Virginia’s Road Map to Equity (PDF). The comprehensive guidance document outlines the Commonwealth’s shared education equity priorities and advances tools and resources that support local school divisions. With a focus on centering equity through cultural competency and the elimination of opportunity gaps, the framework affirms the Virginia Department of Education’s commitment to dismantle any and all forms of inequity in Virginia’s public education system.
The DOE also explicitly endorses anti-racism policies, saying, in part:
The social structures that exist in society are frequently based on race. Schools do not merely inherit or manage racial and ethnic identities, they create and enforce racial meanings. Schools structure the conditions for the embodiment, performance, and/or interruption of sustained and inequitable racial formations. As long as students and staff are insulated from the realities of racism, they will have little reason to change their behaviors or attitudes. Anti-racism requires acknowledging that racist beliefs and structures are pervasive in education and then actively doing work to tear down those beliefs and structures.
The State Council for Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) has adopted several equity goals for public universities:
Several themes emerged from the year-long planning process. Results of a quantitative data analysis of the current state of higher education in the Commonwealth and comments and suggestions from a diverse group of higher education stakeholders confirm that Pathways to Opportunity: The Virginia Plan should:
- Emphasize the importance of equity as a specific goal and underlying element of The Plan.
- Ensure that The Plan’s vision, target, goals, strategies and measures are linked closely.
- Enable clear connections between The Plan and SCHEV’s day-to-day work and organizational commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Adopt deliberate and boldly aspirational goals in light of the pandemic and social justice issues.
In fall 2020, the SCHEV Council established three goals for higher education: it should be equitable, affordable and transformative.