Dear Fellow SEA Members,
Today, I sent the following email to the BOE to be read during public comments at this evening’s school board meeting. This email is in response to the recent survey sent out by the district asking students about their perceptions of white District 186 teachers. The District administration has yet to provide our members with any information about how the results from this survey will be used.
Acting SEA President
Recently, District administration approved a research survey on student perception of white teachers. The survey has raised some concerns from our members and from members of the community. Primarily, our members want to know what is to be done with this data and why we were not included in the planning.
Conversations about race and equity have always been difficult, but they are also necessary. Unfortunately, SEA was not invited to be part of the conversation.The survey that was developed by a graduate student at ISU was sent without the knowledge of parents, SEA leadership, or the teachers themselves. District 186 administration frequently talks about collaboration, yet did not bother to explain in advance to the SEA and its members how the data generated from this survey would be used. District administration did not share with the SEA and its members how this survey is part of a larger look at inequities in the District. Even after concerns were raised with District administration, SEA members still don’t know how the data will be used. This lack of interaction with our community educators was both insulting and exasperating.
Teachers and education support professionals are lifelong learners. We are open to looking at our professional practice with a critical lens. What makes teachers frustrated and angry is when the ONLY thing discussed is the teachers. We are tired of being the scapegoats for every individual or community struggle. Where is the District’s comprehensive equity plan? Does the District have a plan to eliminate structural disparities between schools? Does the District have a plan to place experienced administrators with a history of success in our struggling schools? Are we looking at our curriculum with an equity lens?
The academic success of our students in our community that have experienced the burdens of structural racism and poverty will not occur by ignoring the structures that perpetuate their failures. Most importantly, improving educational opportunities for our African American and/or poor students will not be successful without a team effort. SEA members are willing as usual, to do the hard work of applying an equity lens at our schools. However, this action will only occur when we are invited at the table to share our own observations regarding the structural inequities that face our students, Until all stakeholders in the community are engaged in this conversation, then we will continue to drift without a plan.
Thank you for your time,
Related: White teachers survey concerns some parents (newschannel20.com, 4/2/21)