The public school system in Prince William County, Virginia, is considering an equity statement that, if approved, would frame and guide its work going forward.
An advisory council to the school superintendent developed the document over the past year.
” … Every word was carefully chosen to convey the consensus of the members,” said Deputy Superintendent Keith Imon, who also led the advisory council.
“PWCS is committed to inclusive practices and equity to promote excellence for all,” the first line of succinct statement said.
According to its presentation, the statement is made up of eight bullet points. It cites the importance of diversity, eliminating learning disparities, fostering relationships and family engagement.
The statement says, among other things, that equity will be achieved by efforts to “examine and eliminate institutional beliefs, implicit and explicit biases, policies and/or practices that perpetuate systemic racism and discrimination.”
One of the advisory council members who addressed the school board Wednesday was careful to point out that the document extends beyond racial equity.
“Under equity, we are being inclusive of race, gender identify, expression, sexual preference, ethnicity, language, learning and physical disabilities, religion, culture, immigration status, medical conditions, economic status and gifted learners. Equity is inclusive of all members of Prince William County Public Schools,” said Glorya Jordan, a school nurse and mother of four school-age children.
It’s the first ever equity statement for Prince William County Public Schools.
“This moment is historic. We’ve come a long way in this county; we are truly a diverse community and proud to be a part of that diversity,” said India Daniels, a member of the advisory council.
The document was given a warm welcome by some school board members.
“I’m just almost speechless because I never thought I would sit and see the day where Prince William County schools would have such a powerful statement,” said board member Loree Williams.
“It does embody who we are in Prince William County … I think this fits with who we, as Prince William County folks, are. I think you guys really nailed it,” said board At-Large Chairman Babur Lateef.
The school board is scheduled to vote on whether to approve the equity statement on May 19.