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Culture struggle over equity and race rages in Rockwood School District

April 29, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 27.4%. 2 min read.

Rockwood's superintendent and the district's director of educational equity and diversity have announced their resignations but have not said why.

A backlash to diversity and equity efforts in schools has led to suggestions that teachers hide their lesson plans from parents in the Rockwood School District. Earlier this month, the district’s literacy coordinator for grades six through 12 emailed teachers and administrators in response to parents’ complaints about a “culture and identity” unit in English classes. According to the email, complaints centered around the book “Dear Martin,” which deals with themes of racism and police violence and also includes sexual content and profanity. Lesson plans from the book include discussions on racial profiling, civil disobedience and affirmative action. Rockwood parents are “looking for specific things to then complain about,” reads the email to teachers.

Just pull the resource off (the online classroom management system) so parents cannot see it. ”The email said keeping information from parents is not “being deceitful” because “prior to the pandemic you didn’t send everything home or have it available. ”After the email to teachers was posted on social media, Assistant Superintendent Shelley Willott said it was “unacceptable” and that she regretted the breach of trust. “Asking teachers to conceal anything from parents does not reflect the mission, vision and values of the Rockwood School District,” reads Willott’s email sent Friday to parents.

“Focus on students and their growth academically, ignore politics. ”Another commenter countered, “for too long students of color, LGBTQ+ and disabled students have not seen themselves reflected in staff or curriculum and have felt isolated. ”Rockwood is moving toward a more inclusive curriculum that aligns with the district’s “educational equity resolution” approved last year with goals of “identifying conscious and unconscious biases and eliminating barriers to educational achievement in our schools,” said LaPak. “When we look for literature that students can choose to read, we look for books that include people with disabilities, people of different backgrounds, and people with different life experiences,” LaPak said.

by summa-bot

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