Despite Downingtown Area School Districts' high ratings, the School Board and Administration is looking to hire an Equity Officer and implement a task force. There has been an absence of information, metrics, and clear objectives, leaving it up to the Equity Officer to define upon hiring. The situation lacks sound analysis, planning with no transparency, and collaboration with the community of parents and taxpayers.
Friends, family, and taxpayers of the Downingtown Area School District (DASD) must act now! We must protect the quality of our kids/grandkids education, the unity of our community, our families to instill our kids with our values, and protect everyone from the massive tax increases which are sure to come.
We must bind together and have our voices heard we must demand:
1) The School Board and School District must first clearly define Equity.
2) Full transparency provides the raw data, metrics, and a root cause analysis that inequity is a problem in DASD.
3) The ASD School Board must legislate and ensure that this position and the power that it will inevitably wield will not be subject to the injection of political philosophies, that the Equity Officer not perpetuate any negative stereotypes against any race or culture, including American culture.
What You Can Do Now!
* Sign this petition Write the school superintendent and your school board members to request that they rethink the need for an equity officer until they have a clear definition of Equity, and metrics identified show that DASD has an equity problem.
*Require that the equity officer be unable to affect curriculum or teacher training without the Boards' vote.
*Require that all equity officer recommendations be free from even the perception of politics. Any potential curriculum changes do not negatively affect outcomes.
The emphasis that the school is supposed to be a unifying force in our community. This position has a high potential to be a divisive factor.
And, to remember, in the end, this very act of potentially bringing ideology into our schools support our very rights to school choice - To use our tax money to educate our children free of social pressure, political ideology with a strict focus on academics.
We deserve to have answers and to have them now!
Holding DASD accountable to be clear about their plans is about our children, the future, and our tax dollars.
Please sign this petition NOW and make your voice heard!
Email to another concerned DASD resident. Tell a neighbor.
To Dr. Emilie M. Lonardi, Superintendent and School Board of Downingtown Area School District:
Downingtown School District is already excelling at Equity and Equality. As a community of homeowners, residents, parents, and taxpayers, we respectfully present our deliberate questioning about DASD’s strong consideration of the hiring of an Equity Officer.
Downingtown Area School District (DASD) has been a pillar of excellence in public education, known for its academic gem, the STEM Academy with its’ 100% graduation rate, and Downingtown East and West's graduation rates of 97% and 96% respectively with high levels of reading and math proficiency across all genders, ethnicities, races, and socioeconomic classes. We are proud of Downingtown Schools and their achievement of reaching such superior quality.
So, why would DASD at this time considering such strong academic performance and no history of adverse events here in our suburban community require an Equity Officer?
As clearly stated by V.P of the DASD School Board:
“For many months the DASD staff, administration and board has been discussing the creation of a new job position for equity. With the death of George Floyd it is time to make haste in making it a reality.
Last night I motioned to commission an equity working group. The purpose is to define a a job description for an equity officer. I requested it should include equity task force members, administrators, board members, students and staff.
My only hopes for this position at this time are 3 fold.
1) bridge achievement gaps
2) allow every student and staff member to cultivate a basic tool kit and an age-appropriate framework for addressing justice and equality in their lives
3) our children to have the skills to develop into the leaders that are worthy of a graduate of Downingtown”
Ms. Britton goes onto say:
“The person we bring on will be a guidepost to create the data, programs, educational changes, and policy.”
Hopefully, it goes without saying that DASD ought not to be hiring to create data but to fix identified / data supported current problems. Expenditures ought not to be implemented and passed onto the taxpayers without strong business justification and taxpayer input.
Ms. Britton, clearly cited the ideological intentions of the DASD with this hire - Very concerning!
We consider Ms. Britton’s statement as highly inflammatory. We do not believe that our kids should be given social justice tool kits for their lives Their educations are not something to be politicized nor does the school have the right to insert itself into families value systems and values. These are personal/ family matters.
Our concerns include the following:
- We have yet to learn – How does DASD define Equity?
- What exactly is an Equity Officer / Director?
- Does DASD have an Equity Problem? If so, please provide the data.
- Will an Equity Officer, another Administrator, be able to fix these problems if they exist?
- What would be the cost and projected financial burden on taxpayers of such a position of Equity
Officer and it's support staff an implementation; including salary, benefits, pension, union, etc.?
- How would lines be drawn between such a position including the management of overreach into
curriculum development to ensure that no changes would be made without taxpayer input and a
vote by the Board.
- How would the position be created, branded and implemented in the schools ensuring that an
Equity Officer would not perpetuate any negative stereotypes against any race or culture,
including American culture and our country's history.
Public schools are supposed to be a powerful unifying force in a community and a source of pride for students, teachers, and parents alike. We are deeply concerned that the district is inadvertently introducing (or the perception of doing so) political ideology into the school administration and the schools, which are supposed to be non-biased and nonpartisan.
We anticipate your detailed and specific response to each of our questions and requests. In light of the lack of facts, it is reasonable to request that the hiring process be put on pause until these critical questions are answered and made available to the public and that we can assure that our kids receive high quality education, free of political bias and instruction within the public school environment.
Please be aware that any views or opinions presented in this letter are personal and belong solely to the writer, contributors and signers of this petition and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that may or not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless specifically stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company or individual. Thank you for your attention regarding this important matter.