State Board of Education wants the next Secretary of Education to push “diversity, equity, and inclusion” in all schools
By Michael Bielawski
In a job posting by the State Board of Education for the next Secretary of Education, they call for someone who will bring social justice initiatives into all Vermont schools.
The press release states “The Secretary will be deeply committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within the Agency of Education and all Vermont schools, fostering a learning environment that is welcoming and supportive for all.”
It also states, “The Secretary will be dedicated to reducing educational inequities in all schools, particularly in communities that have experienced the most substantial demographic declines.”
There’s more such language in the job posting itself. One of the listed requirements is “Experience identifying and addressing systemic disparities, ensuring that equity goals and objectives are incorporated throughout the Agency’s operations, and understanding strategic and policy guidance on equity issues;”
Vermont schools already tangled in social justice controversies
Some schools in Vermont have made headlines over recent years for pushing controversial social justice initiatives, in some cases with negative consequences in the form of lawsuits and expensive payouts.
For instance, Randolph Union Middle/High School was forced back in June of this year to reinstate a middle school soccer coach after he was suspended for refusing to identify a male athlete as a female. The school also started a bullying investigation against the coach’s daughter.
The result was a lawsuit by the family against the school. The school lost and was forced to pay out $125,000 as part of their settlement. The school also was forced to reinstate the coach and end the investigation of alleged bullying.
The story made numerous national headlines and prompted a response from the governor when he called for people “to be open-minded, understanding, with empathy.”
The current Secretary of Education also weighed in, he said each school independently should “do what’s best for the community, but also to be sure student rights are protected.”
In another controversy also occurring this year, a young soccer player from Mid Vermont Christian School was recently told that she could not play in her local public school’s soccer league because earlier this year her school had refused to play a basketball game against a team with a male identifying as a female. CNN covered the story.
More recently, the Champlain Valley School District is voting in October over an updated transgender/nonbinary policy that includes students would be allowed to use the bathroom of the gender that they identify as and everyone would be forced to use preferred pronouns of transgender people.
Most Americans unhappy with education policies
This ad comes at a time when most Americans have negative attitudes about the direction of the education system. According to a Pew Research poll conducted in April this year, 59% of respondents are pessimistic about the education system. The number grows to 67% for Republicans, and it is 53% for Democrats.
The same poll shows Americans divided on racial equality. The report at PewResearch.org states, “More than half of Democrats (54%) are pessimistic about the United States’ ability to ensure racial equality for all people. In contrast, 34% of Republicans are pessimistic about this and 33% are optimistic.”
They also want to pay this new position nearly $81 per hour, roughly four and half times the national average rate that teachers in the classroom make according to the job site Indeed.com, which they state as $17.88 per hour.
The author is a reporter for the Vermont Daily Chronicle.