Apply to serve on the district’s “Coalition for Equity” (a.k.a Equity Task Force)

by beth on July 22, 2020

Post image for Apply to serve on the district’s “Coalition for Equity” <em>(a.k.a Equity Task Force)</em>

It’s a bit delayed*, but the NSBoro school district is following through on a promise made this summer.

A message invites community members to apply to serve on a “Coalition for Equity”. The district is seeking several participants from each of the three districts (Northborough K-8, Southborough K-8, and regional high school) plus each community (Northborough and Southborough).

A message this morning included the new name for what had been referred to as a planned Equity Task Force. It’s purpose is clarified as:

to build community partnerships focused on issues of equity in our Districts; create the conditions for courageous conversations to support collaborative learning about inequality; and identify and develop resources to support learning and action.

In late June, the combined school committees for Northborough and Southborough public voted to authorize the task force. The goal was to help the district “improve in the area of equity, inclusion and diversity”. At the time, Superintendent Martineau said he would invite students, alumni, faculty, staff, parents, citizens, school committee members and district leaders to participate. 

Today’s message states they are seeking the following volunteers:

  • Two school committee members from each district (6)
  • Four parents from each district (12)
  • Two educators from each district (6)
  • Two Algonquin Regional High School students (2)
  • Two principals from each district (6)
  • Two members at large from each community (4)

Those interested are pointed to fill out a linked Coalition for Equity Interest Form. The form asks applicants why they are interested in serving and what “assets” they would “bring to move the coalition’s work forward”. 

This morning’s message was issued by the Superintendent and former Assistant Superintendent Rhoda Webb. Martineau had previously announced that Webb (who had served as Asst. Superintendent in a trial capacity) would be returning to her role as Director of English Language Education. In today’s message, a new title “Director of English Learners and Equity” appeared to add a new duty to her role. 

Wicked Local interviewed Martineau on the district’s efforts to address racism:

“Obviously, with the larger context of racial tensions in our country, we got a lot of feedback around we need to do more as a district and as a community,” Martineau said Monday. “One of the action steps was to form an equity coalition to examine our practices and identify what changes that need to be made moving forward.”

The goal is to have it as a school committee meeting agenda item in the upcoming month or two. And really determine a process to have deeper conversations about the next steps.

Responding to questions about a petition to change the name of Algonquin Regional High School and eliminate the Tomahawks mascot, he was quoted as saying

Part of the work we’re doing is to gain clarity from petitioners. We’re still building what that looks like

As of today, 2,870 have signed the petition. At the most recent Regional School Committee meeting, only one member of the public made a public comment on the topic – and that was in opposition to changing the name of the school. No one commented during the subsequent combined school committees meeting. The next Regional School Committee Meeting is scheduled for tomorrow night. 

*In the Superintendent’s late June email, he stated that information on how the public could participate would be communicated by July 8th. Last week’s Wicked Local article indicated the district would issue news last Wednesday. The email was issued this morning.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Matthew Brownell July 23, 2020 at 6:47 AM

Grand.

Another gratuitous, Progressive, Left-wing Group-Grope , sponsored by Northborough/Southborough School Superintendent – Mr. Martineau.

Erasing history, neutering language with insipid euphemisms, destroying commemorative monuments, and manufacturing hyperbolic narratives of “racism” is simply no way to travel through life, and it’s a gross disservice to fundamental tenets of a true Liberal education.

May I suggest that Northborough and Southborough citizens have significantly greater issues to consider , than changing the name of “Algonquin” ??

Reply

2 n July 23, 2020 at 9:15 AM

John 2:9-11

Why so resistant to letting the light shine?

Was Jesus a progressive?

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3 Eileen July 23, 2020 at 3:36 PM

I take it you won’t be applying to serve on the Coalition.

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4 n July 23, 2020 at 8:47 AM

Thank you for sharing.

This reminds me of John 2:9-11.

Peace.

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5 Dean Dairy July 24, 2020 at 10:55 AM

At the June 24th Combined School Committees meeting… [they] authorized an “Equity Task Force” proposed by Martineau. The district’s task force will invite students, alumni, faculty, staff, parents, citizens, school committee members and district leaders to participate.

This morning’s message was issued by the Superintendent and former Assistant Superintendent Rhoda Webb.

Question: Will the Task Force proposed by Superintendent Martineau be entirely hand-picked by Superintendent Martineau?

Martineau had previously announced that Webb (who had served as Asst. Superintendent in a trial capacity) would be returning to her role as Director of English Language Education. In today’s message, a new title “Director of English Learners and Equity” appeared to add a new duty to her role.

Goodness, in these highly sensitive times about nomenclature, does this title change truly represent progress?

An administrator changes from being Director of an educational program (“English Language Education”) to “Director of English Learners” (i.e., director of the actual people — presumably minorities — who are supposed to be served by the administrator)?

One might give the flawed usage a pass if the name of the school and mascot weren’t the subject of controversy and the subject itself wasn’t ENGLISH.

All of which only goes to show a change that makes you “feel good” about yourself does not necessarily represent actual progress for the underserved people you should be serving. A basic lesson they’d do well to heed moving forward.

Maybe they do need an Equity Task Force — to check their own “privilege” and condescension?

Reply

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