Representatives on the NJSBA Equity Council, which meets quarterly, include board of education members from throughout New Jersey, district administrators, higher education officials, the New Jersey Department of Education, and resources from educational non-profit organizations such as ETS (Educational Testing Service) who all share an interest in equity in public schools.
For its work, the council has enthusiastically adopted these definitions:
- Equity: Justice applied in circumstances NOT covered by law.
- Equity: The quality, state or ideal of being just, fair and impartial.
The NJSBA Equity Council goals are:
- To plan experiences that will be meaningful to school board members and staff that will broaden members’ knowledge of this complex issue of “equity” particularly as it applies to the public work that school board members engage in as advocates for students and families in their jurisdictions. Also, to engage NJSBA staff in similar professional learning.
- To talk about the complex issues that come under this wide umbrella of “equity,” and to seek knowledge that broadens the awareness, the perspective and the sensitivities that are required when considering equitable responses/solutions to complex matters that school board members struggle to resolve.
- To share best practices by engaging in readings, reviewing research studies, listening to oral presentations and by exchanging meaningful information.
- To function as a clearinghouse and liaison facilitating the exchange of information for use by board of education members and district administrators.
The council is chaired by Dr. Penelope Lattimer, executive director of the Rutgers Institute for Improving Student Achievement and former assistant commissioner at the New Jersey Department of Education. “Under Dr. Lattimer’s guidance, the council has engaged in the discussion of critical issues, including unintended bias, disciplinary practices, standards of admission to advanced placement courses, and the need to recruit minority teachers,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director. “We look forward to the continued focus on these important topics, and believe that sharing a deeper understanding of equity in education will improve student achievement for all.”
In addition to articles in School Board Notes, the council will use a variety of forums to share its work with New Jersey boards of education and the education community. The council will be offering a professional development session at Workshop 2019 in Atlantic City in October, and all board members are invited to attend.