A seed was planted last February when the WSSDA board created a statement on educational equity. A few months later, that seed took root.
At the 2019 WSSDA Annual Conference, WSSDA held its annual delegate assembly to review permanent positions. By a vote of its members, WSSDA adopted the board’s equity statement as a permanent position to guide its work.
The statement reads:
Equity is foundational to the work of WSSDA. Educational equity can only exist when a student’s level of opportunity and achievement cannot be predicted based on race, characteristics, or circumstances. Therefore, we must identify and eliminate any discriminatory practices and prejudices within our state’s public education system.
Leading up to the statement’s creation, the WSSDA board put itself through several exercises of self- and group reflection on the topic of equity. The board had also formed a subcommittee, which led a review of past WSSDA efforts related to educational equity, and brought questions and suggestions to the whole board.
“Making a statement on equity was not a spur of the moment decision,” said Aurora Flores, who was president of the WSSDA board during the statement’s development. “The entire board spent months looking inwardly together. Sometimes we had disagreements, but we talked through those with patience and respect for each other. The effort was time well-spent because we were ultimately unanimous in choosing the statement’s wording.”
“To see our members adopt the equity statement as a permanent position is fantastic,” said WSSDA Executive Director Tim Garchow. “It suggests to me that the WSSDA board has done a good job of reflecting the interests and values of the people they represent. As WSSDA staff support the state’s 1,477 elected school board members, we will follow the example set by the WSSDA board and reflect on ourselves and our work to ensure we’re supporting educational equity.“