It’s no secret that black students are punished at a far higher rate than their white counterparts. On top of that, it seems like every week we’re reporting on some racist assignment or event that occurs in an American school. A school district in Chandler, Arizona is trying to take steps to do better. Actually, I should say was taking steps.
According to AZ Central, the Chandler Unified School District is pausing it’s efforts to implement equity training for it teachers and staff. The training was instituted after a group of parents complained about minority students receiving harsher punishments than their peers and incidents of the student being harassed for their race. A group calling themselves Purple for Parents has came out against the training on the basis it “advances a political agenda, is divisive and marginalizes white people.” The Karen energy is strong with this one.
What equity training actually does is educate teachers on how to interact and empathize with students who may come from different racial, cultural and religious backgrounds as well as accounting for gender identity and family dynamics. The “equity” here that every student is given the same opportunity to succeed in school, regardless of background. The teachers, for the most part, seem to like it. Katie Nash, a teacher at Chandler High School and president of the Chandler Education Association said “You’re looking at the student as a person as opposed to a little unit that passes from K through 12.” She added that the training has resulted in less reactionary disciplinary action as it accounts for the fact that some students may be dealing with external troubles in their home life.
It sounds pretty reasonable, right? I wish I could be surprised that there is push back against accounting for the realities of living in a system built off of hundred of years of racism but, you know, we are talking about a group of people who probably put raisins in their potato salad. Reason was never their strong suit.