Knox County school board delays adoption of equity policy

Equity was on the table. Then off the table. Then on the table again, and, at least for now, off again.

After months of conversation, the Knox County Board of Education has once again stalled progress on a proposed equity policy for the district.

The policy emerged from the years-long work of the Alliance for Educational Equity. The racial reckonings of 2020 and 2021 put an intense focus on equity among Knox County Schools students and promised new life for a policy.

The school board has been debating and workshopping the proposal since January, when the policy was proposed by the school district and superintendent Bob Thomas.

At its most recent meeting, the board again sent the plan back for a review.

Committee member Coral Getino raises a point at the Knox County Schools Alliance for Educational Equity Steering Committee's public quarterly meeting in October.  The proposed equity policy was created by the committee, tasked with recommending and evaluating equity initiatives.  As part of the policy's development, the committee held public forums and conducted an equity audit.

Board members in favor of the policy emphasized the idea of ​​equity applies not just to race, but also gender, income, religion and medical needs.

Some board members are concerned writing equity into policy will have “unintended consequences” like interfering with existing equity practices.

More:Next KCS superintendent should fix equity and morale issues, stakeholders say

The proposed policy seeks to define and measure equity but doesn’t list specific solutions to lack of equity like requiring schools to have administrators of color.

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