Frequently Asked Questions
Does The Equity Initiative want to dissolve the charter?
No. We believe every child deserves equal access to an excellent education and that that can’t happen without classrooms that reflect the demographic makeup of our district. At this moment none of our classrooms – in either the charter or the traditional school – achieve this and therefore ALL of our students are missing out. That needs to change.
What’s the solution?
We don’t have the answer to that question. The answer is unknowable because it will be the result of a collective process involving all of the stakeholders. The sooner we start the work, the sooner the answer will reveal itself. What we do know is that there are three components that must be a part of any healthy school system:
- Elementary school classrooms should be reflective of the school district’s ethnic and economic makeup.
- All of Healdsburg’s children should have equal access to the various programs at our public elementary schools. Practices that track different groups into different programs are illegal and must be stopped.
- Effective communication with all our families is vital. The district must provide consistent and professional written and verbal Spanish translation, dedicated liaison support and proactive outreach with families. The district must make sure that everyone understands that all children are welcome in each program and that they understand the steps to not only enroll their children but to also support them on their academic journey through graduation.
Is it still ok to send my kids to the charter school?
Of course! We would never presume to tell anyone where to send their kids. We know every parent has to navigate the current offerings and find the place that makes the most sense for their child and their family, just as we have done.
Is the traditional school a bad school?
We’re concerned that the Accelerated English curriculum as it has been implemented has taken valuable time away from science, social studies and even math curriculum in the traditional elementary school. This can have devastating effects on kids’ academic trajectory and love of learning. We are pleased that the school is moving away from dedicating as much time as they have been to AE, however, we remain concerned that the strategies used in AE (which will still be in use) are not in line with best practices for teaching a second language. The Blended Program, which is a new program at the traditional school, is essentially blending traditional teaching with online learning. The Blended Program has yet to alleviate any of the deeply entrenched equity issues we’re trying to address. It also represents yet another division of students and resources in our small school.
Are you accusing people of being racist?
No. We are not accusing anyone of intending to hurt students. We believe that everyone, from parents, to teachers, to administrators, care about all of the students in our district and want them to thrive. However, the reality is that students who are predominantly low-income and/or Latino have been underserved by our school system while students who are predominantly higher income and/or white have been advantaged. Because we all care so deeply about all of our students, regardless of their backgrounds, we must change the systems that have created these inequities.
Who are you blaming for this situation?
It’s important to point out that these inequities aren’t the fault of individuals, but rather are the result of policies and systems that privilege one group of students over another. We are NOT blaming teachers; we are NOT blaming school staff; we are NOT blaming parents. This is not about blame. This is about looking to the future and creating a school that equitably serves the student in its care.
Will this process be hard on our kids?
Change is unsettling and change is hard. We all want our children to be resilient, empathetic and able to understand and connect with people who differ from them. We also went them to stand up in the face of injustice and fight for what they believe in. Our children learn lessons from us every day. They listen to our words, but more than that, they watch what we do. When we fight for justice, we teach them that uncomfortable conversations and hard work are a small price to pay for equity. This is how we build resilience. Integrating our classrooms will give every child an opportunity to learn from children of different backgrounds and different cultures. This is how we build empathy.