December 12, 2021
To the Howard County Board of Education,
I’m writing on behalf of the Howard County League of Women Voters to express our deep concerns about the future of HCPSS Policy 6010. It has come to our attention that a new proposal for changes to this policy will remove the demographic equity standards outlined in Section IV, item B.
We have been following the Board of Education’s focus on equity and have been gratified to see how much it has been growing. This issue has become a priority for our organization. Last year, we approved an Equity in Education position that includes strong support of making demographic equity an essential part of the redistricting process. The full text is included below.
We reached this position based on an extensive study evaluating the impact concentrated poverty in HCPSS schools has on student success. The results of this study showed not only that our schools are segregated both by race and economic status, but also that these disparities have a significant negative effect on both opportunity and achievement. The results of this study are publicly available, and I will attach a copy to this letter. The relevant data can be found on pages 5-7 of the report.
Moreover, as we conducted our study, we observed that this uneven distribution is not entirely the result of natural segregation. HCPSS has enough space to prioritize demographic equity without causing significant disruption.
We strongly urge you in the strongest possible terms not to eliminate this critical component of Policy 6010. Public schools exist to provide all students with the opportunity to succeed to the full extent of their potential. As things stand, HCPSS has not yet achieved this goal. The inclusion of demographic equity as a central factor in determining attendance areas is a crucial step in the right direction, one the LWVHC was proud HCPSS took when the policy was created. We are disappointed to see that HCPSS is reconsidering this aspect of the bold changes our schools so urgently need.
As we continue to follow education policy in HCPSS, we hope we will see a recommitment to policies that promote a more equitable learning environment for all our children.
Krista Threefoot, Acting President for the League of Women Voters of Howard County
LWVHC Equity in Education Position
LWVHC Education Article 10
Equity in Education (2021)
- Equity requires that we provide each student with the resources, support, and instruction necessary to achieve academic success. Schools with disproportionate numbers of students with special needs [including English as a Second Language (ESL) and Free and Reduced Meals (FARM)] require more support than schools that are less challenged.
Equity is achieved through:
- Balanced school redistricting. Balanced school redistricting is defined as: (1) capacity utilization, (2) community continuity, (3) factors related to social-economic diversity.
- Allocation of resources such as communication systems, technology, maintenance and capital improvements, and even playground equipment based on the need of each school.
- How experienced the staff, administrators & support staff are.
- Transparent and comprehensive data collection related to factors affecting equity that allows citizens to understand how equity goals are achieved.
- Expanded multi-cultural course offerings and consistent advanced placement offerings among all schools.
Link to Equity in Education Study
See pages 5-7
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