Board of Ed Vows To Take Action on Rewritten Goal Around ‘Inclusive’ and ‘Equitable’ School Environment
Following wide division in New Canaan after removing the words ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ or “DEI” from a working draft of the district’s goals and objectives, the Board of Education at its most recent meeting signaled that it would try to reset and de-politicize the tone of its discussion and future work. In what appeared to be a highly scripted section of the meeting—multiple Board of Ed members read from prepared statements—the elected body on Sept. 7 voted unanimously in favor of including the following language in the district’s goals and objectives:
“Continuously strengthen all schools and classroom communities to ensure every student feels they belong and are safe, connected, welcomed and engaged in inclusive, respectful, equitable and supportive learning environments. NCPS will deepen students’ understanding of a range of differences among people by fostering empathy and respect for all and to celebrate the unique and varied contributions each of us makes to the community and beyond. In this regard, NCPS will initiate a process including the Board of Education and other stakeholders and, informed by research, to develop a district-wide statement supporting this goal with short- and long-term action items.”
Board members said that the last sentence, presented by Board Chair Katrina Parkhill, reflects their commitment to “the spirit” of what had previously been written into the district’s goals and objectives as “diversity, equity and inclusion” or “DEI” (now removed).
Board member Erica Schwedel said, “To me, diversity is valuing and celebrating students for all of their differences, equity is giving students differentiated tools and support to reach their own greatest potential, and inclusion is making sure every student feels valued, accepted, a part of the community and that their voice matters.