While the Prior Lake-Savage School District has been focusing on Equity and Inclusion, our children’s proficiency has been suffering. We know that the current school board directors have invested a lot of time, money and resources into Equity and Inclusion and the PLSAS stakeholders want to know how progress is being measured. Is this program working and what is the impact it has had on the culture of our schools and more importantly, the lives of our students?
Equity consultant, Dr. Sharroky Hollie of CCRTL, was hired by the district in 2016 to coach teachers and staff on how to integrate culturally responsive teaching into the classroom. Dr. Hollie has been providing services in PLSAS through May of 2022, according to the calendar found on CCRTL’s website. It appears that his work was even involved in the Student Voices assemblies held in our schools last spring. More of Dr. Hollies teachings can be found here and links to his materials here.
Additionally, the district has adopted an Equity and Inclusion Resolution, has hired a Director of Equity and Inclusion and has partnered with the Prior Lake Rotary Club to host events that support the district’s equity work. Six years of Equity and Inclusion work and what is the progress? Increased racial incidents and tension? Falling proficiency? Decreased in-district student enrollment? What is the goal? Is this working?
The Union Endorsed Candidates are dedicated to continuing equity work in our schools. They have stated this in forums, on their campaign websites and in school board meetings. The incumbents even attended a professional development meeting last night to reinforce their dedication to equity and inclusion. The slideshow presented in the professional development meeting (which was found on the district website under board packet link) may have given insight into one of the reasons that proficiency is falling with the rise in equity. According to the graphic seen on slide 8 below, to be truly equitable, a person must remove the systemic barrier. Could this be why our children are no longer academically excellent? If you remove a challenge, you remove the drive to achieve. What the presenter also appeared to remove from the slide (found with a simple google search), was the descriptor of each image. Equality…Equity…Justice… (Image 1)
Maybe this is why the Prior Lake-Savage schools are littered with “ERASE HATE” posters, classrooms are being made to watch videos about racism (like this one) and students are being taught that “people of color can’t be racist because they don’t have the institutional power to oppress others.” (Image 2) Maybe this is what justice looks like.