Attachment B Summary / Analysis of Community Input Received The Equity Task Force gathered feedback from more than 400 school district residents, including approximately 120 Spanish-speaking families through feedback from face-to- face conversations at community centers and with parent-teacher organization groups, with several student groups comprising students of color, and with principal and staff groups. Individual responses to an on-line survey were also collected. The group publicized in school newsletters, on the MMSD website, and on announcement cards at computer terminals in Madison public libraries. The following summary attempts to give the reader a flavor of the feedback received. It is not inclusive of all responses. Questi A. What percentage of the respondents understood the on 1 – definition of equity? What 62% responded to Question 1 by paraphrasing the definition or does making a relevant comment about one or more aspects of the the definition. These responses were interpreted as indicating definit understanding. ion of For example: equity Equity and equality are not the same. Opportunities are provided to each student mean based upon their needs. In this instance, equity means distributing resources fairly. Where the need is to greater, greater resources should be allocated. you? For each MMSD student to have full access to opportunities, each student needs to be supported in ways that maximize his/her potential. Not all students have the A. same needs; some need more support than others, and that additional support What should be provided to the greatest extent possible. percent age of B. If they did not understand the definition, what were the the common issues? respond ents Many respondents interpreted equity to mean equal, or the underst same. This was especially true for native Spanish speakers ood the who universally interpreted “equity” as “equal.” This definiti confusion in terms may have arisen from the difficulty in on of adequately translating the definition. equity? For example: B. If It means that something may not be fair, but it will be equal. they The definition of equity means everyone is given an equal and fair chance to did not provide what they are capable of doing. underst That all students have the same rights/opportunities to complete school activities and benefit from the educational system regardless of their skin color, ethnic and the background, home life, values, income level, etc. No student should get more or definiti less than the other depending on these items. on, It means that all schools should have equal resources for students to access, not just certain schools. what were Themes (Question 1) the commo Addendum to the Board of Education Equity Task Force Final Report 2007 Attachment B – Summary/Analysis of Community Input Received by the Task Force Page 2 of 5 Responses were also clustered into common “themes” or ideas. Questi Some of the key themes are listed below with a description of the on 1 – responses received. What does Resources the The issue of resources came up 76 times in response to the first question. Examples of comments are: definit ion of Resources should be “equal” across schools (regardless of student demographics). equity Different schools should have different resources to meet different challenges. Resources include time to plan and collaborate, time for teacher training, leadership mean training. to Extra-curriculars are part of resources; some schools have more than others. Funding and resources should be based on student need to level the playing field. you? Resources including funding, support, time, opportunities, buildings, “movers and Themes shakers” staff, effective leadership, high-quality teachers, course offerings, small class sizes, paying participation fees, technology, transportation, libraries, curriculum, specialized programs like reading programs, safe environments. Issues of how PTOs help support schools and more affluent schools get better things (field trips, equipment, etc.) because of active PTOs. Resources allocated according to student needs, not student numbers. Enhancing resources for high-need populations without “taking away” from other students. Strategic use of limited resources to maximize the chances of fulfilling the goal of students learning and thriving to the best of their interests and abilities. Repeated comments on more resources for higher-poverty schools. Accountability/Ability to Implement Equity Definition Some respondents either thought the definition was too vague or were concerned that the definition was insufficient without implementation strategies and district accountability measures. Examples of comments: Good definition, but the devil is in the details. It needs TEETH. It has to be closely connected to resources and allocations or else it’s wishful thinking. I’m very concerned it will result in a policy that is not enforceable and effective. The school community needs more mechanisms to hold leadership accountable for decisions – more evaluations, in-depth opportunities for diverse families to give feedback on principal and staff. MMSD administration has to be more proactive in monitoring schools – how each school is reflecting changes in the community. The definition sounds nice, but seems hard to measure. It does not directly deal with issues of privilege, race, classicism, and homophobia which are engraved on our systems, are what is causing much inequity and are hard to overcome. Opportunity and access don’t NECESSARILY result in excellence and social responsibility. We shouldn’t pass policy without wide community support for it. In the absence of that, such a policy would be just another meaningless gesture to our community’s marginalized communities. It’s an adequate definition, but it means nothing without follow through actions . Themes (continued) (Question 2) Preparation Questi on 2: Addendum to the Board of Education Equity Task Force Final Report 2007 Attachment B – Summary/Analysis of Community Input Received by the Task Force Page 3 of 5 Comments frequently reflected concerns about staff and student preparation and what the district should do to prepare students to, for example, reach for higher academic expectations. Parents, schools and administration need to help students understand they need to complete all of their respective classes or face consequences. Teachers and staff should participate in more training to respect a broader range of other cultures. Give schools, staff and students better tools to improve safety. Bilingualism Greater cultural diversity in hiring and staffing More Spanish speaking teachers Schools and classrooms need to provide translators and translations More classes in Spanish for those children not yet proficient in English Classroom information sent home should be in other languages School meetings, programs and publications in multiple languages Bilingual bus drivers Preparing more well-rounded students Free after school programming Free early childhood education Free sports Free strings Teaching diversity classes will prepare students to be better, more responsible members of their schools, families and community. District-wide increase in mentoring and tutoring. Prepare more “out of the box” programs for students that do not fit into current classroom or learning structures. Preparing transitional programs for students who transfer into the Madison school system. Attitudes The dominant attitudes reflected in responses to Question 2 were about: -- cultural, racial and socio-economic factors related to tolerance, acceptance and understanding; -- safety and discipline; -- community and family involvement including outreach and family accountability. Themes (continued) (Question 2) For example: Questi on 2: Equity is about changing the way we see each other…Equity will come about when we raise a generation of children tolerant of differences and engaged in their democracy How to stop the processes leading to inequity. can an All families should be considered…bilingual staff should be available…to help ensure a good mix of all cultures/viewpoints. equity Social interactions and school safety are a direct “spinoff” of high expectations. policy Create a community of acceptance and unity with a common goal of learning with meaningful cultural and social development. be We provide excellent education in Madison, yet many families do not understand how used to appropriately support and/or access it. to impro Addendum to the Board of Education Equity Task Force Final Report 2007 Attachment B – Summary/Analysis of Community Input Received by the Task Force Page 4 of 5 Students must be getting these attitudes from home, so we need to concentrate on teaching parents/guardians how they are affecting overall dynamics of a school. Students wouldn’t feel out of place at school; they would feel more respected. If the school understands that the parents speak Spanish, they provide the information in Spanish. Base it in basic principles: respect, opportunity, aide, valor/values, harmony, patience, work, safety and protection. Resources More than 140 responses to Question 2 related to resources. ((Interestingly, few of the responses from student and Spanish- speaking groups mentioned resources, other than funding for college (students) and interpreter services (Spanish-speaking). Responses from these groups were more focused on attitudes/expectations and opportunities to succeed.)) For example: Buildings need more discretion to allocate for their populations, especially when they have higher numbers of low-income or high-needs students. Buildings with more high-needs kids need increased resources. It shouldn’t be either/or – should not actively cut from higher-income schools to fund lower-income schools. Resources should be allocated per child, not by building. It doesn’t help low-income or high-need children in relatively affluent buildings if they don’t have the individualized supports needed. Social work, guidance counseling, psychology, special education services are all critical for kids who come in with fewer opportunities. Themes (continued) (Question 2) Leadership Questi Respondents offered ideas for leadership of equity efforts in schools on 2: ranging from -- determining the specific steps that educators and How administrators can take to help ensure excellence in education for can an minority students -- to providing a mission, a high expectation for equity staff and students, a statement of philosophy that can be used as a policy guide or outline for all district personnel to follow. be Accountability used Responses also reflected concern that the district be accountable for to ensuring that the equity policy is used and enforced. impro ve For example: school Make sure all students get a fair share in education, not just a few students. s? Ensure just, fair policies for all. Themes It needs to be clear, behavioral, measurable, and embraced by the staff. It needs to have a strong sense of vision and passion that motivates and inspires staff and the community. The equity policy needs to be broken down into measurable pieces. It needs a clear picture of what things should look like. Addendum to the Board of Education Equity Task Force Final Report 2007 Attachment B – Summary/Analysis of Community Input Received by the Task Force Page 5 of 5 It can be used to mandate changes that need to occur. It gives schools the responsibility for coming up with plans to make sure no kids fall through the cracks.
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