During a time when a pandemic and protests are illuminating racial disparities in opportunities and outcomes that have long persisted in North Carolina, the NC State Board of Education approved an equity resolution last week addressing racial equity in education. The latest iteration of “A Resolution To Support Equity And Excellence In North Carolina Public Education,” and Action Framework state that the 1.5 million children in the NC public school system have the right to a sound basic education and that State and local agencies, along with parents, educators and the community, should support the health and academic achievement of every student.
The resolution aims to support equity and excellence in North Carolina’s public education system with the goals “to eliminate opportunity gaps by 2025, improve school and district performance by 2025, and increase educator preparedness to meet the needs of every student by 2025,” said James Ford, Board of Education member, the Strategic Planning committee chair and Executive Director of the Center for Racial Equity in Education.
Dr. Jill Camnitz, Vice Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, led the reading of the latest draft of the strategic plan. Highlights include:
- WHEREAS, the State Board acknowledges that equity is a necessary and critical component to education that helps ensure the privilege of a sound basic education for every child; and
- WHEREAS, the State Board recognizes that historical and current systems of inequitable and inadequate resource allocation, disproportionate suspensions and expulsions, lack of access to and supports for teachers of color, unequal access to educational opportunities and supports, implicit and explicit biases, and segregation perpetuate inequity in the outcomes of students; and
- WHEREAS, schools are both a part of and a reflection of the local community; and equity enhances the relationship between educational attainment and social and emotional learning, placing the child’s interest and progress at the center of a system designed to support both.
During the discussion, some Board members shared concerns they would like addressed before taking a vote to approve the resolution. Our partners at EdNC discuss in detail comments from Board members. Board members reiterated that the State Board is committed to equity, and this resolution will serve as a compass and accountability measure for action. The resolution passed with a majority vote, with three of the Board members voting against it.