Next Step for Race Task Force, Surveying Students, Teachers, Staff
By Peter Jovanovich
Just before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Dr. Eric Byrne, Superintendent of Rye City School District, gave an update on the activities of the Race, Inclusivity, and Community Task Force to parents, students, and staff. He stated: “It is incumbent on us to ensure that in our schools all feel welcome, included, and have equal opportunities to learn, grow, and develop.”
He continued, “When Dr. King was alive, many people were scared of the change he thought to inspire, and of a world where things might be different. I see some of that fear in our community today as the work of our Race, Inclusivity and Community Task Force moves ahead.”
The District has launched a page on their website, which includes the names of the task force members, along with the charge and purpose of the group.
The Steinhardt Institute, which was hired last fall by the District to guide the work of Task Force, plans to utilize Panorama Education to conduct a survey of students, teachers, and staff about their “perceptions of equity and inclusion.” The survey assumes that equity is “at the core of district strategic planning and priority.” In the modern race lexicon, “equity” rests on the belief that socio-economic gaps amongst races and ethnic groups are the consequence of race and bias.
According to materials distributed to the Task Force, The Panorama Equity and Inclusion Survey was created by Samuel Moulton, Ph.D., a psychologist at Harvard University’s Psychology Department; and The RIDES (Reimagining Integration: Diverse and Equitable Schools) Project at Harvard. RIDES “aims to disrupt systemic inequality in America’s schools.”
The Survey will ask students, teachers, and staff to reflect on their experiences of equity and inclusion in school. For example, students might be asked: “How often do you spend time with students from different races, ethnicities, or cultures?” Or, “How well do people in your class understand you as a person?”
A different set of questions will be posed to teachers, such as: “At your school, how often are you encouraged to think more deeply about race-related topics?” “How often are students given opportunities to learn about people from different races, ethnicities, or cultures?”