Tuesday, September 5, 2017

June Letter Called For More Focus on Progress For Racial Equity In Superintendent Search

In mid-June, as the Board of Education began the multi-step process of searching for a new superintendent of schools, the Middletown Racial Justice Coalition sent the following suggestions to the Chair of the Board, Vincent Loffredo.

The Board of Education has decided the evaluation of candidates and the selection of the new superintendent should be done by community members who were elected to serve on the Board.  Other community members, as well as teachers, have called for more representation in the search process.  

Note:  The Middletown Racial Justice Coalition is an group of city residents formed within the past year. It describes itself as follows: 
This group was created so that Middletown can join in working toward Racial Justice for all. It is a place to share ideas, strategies, opportunities, events, and community. It is intended to be as inclusive, diverse, and multidimensional as possible.
To:               Middletown Board of Education Chair, Vincent Loffredo
From:           Middletown Racial Justice Coalition Education Committee Co-Chairs, Diana Martinez & Quentin Phipps
Date:           June 19, 2017
Subject:       Middletown Racial Justice Coalition Statement Concerning Middletown Schools Superintendent Search

The Middletown Racial Justice Coalition, composed of community members who are actively working toward racial justice in Middletown, is committed to the creation of a more equitable public school system.

The Board of Education must conduct the search for the Superintendent with an eye toward the goals of raising the achievement of all students while narrowing the gaps between the lowest and highest performing students; eliminating racial predictability and disproportionality in all aspects of education and its administration; and ensuring all students, regardless of race or class graduate from Middletown Public Schools ready to succeed in a racially and culturally diverse local, national, and global community.

Several conditions need to be met in order for this search to be meaningful, thoughtful, and fruitful.
First, it is critical that the search committee be transparent about its search parameters and the place of equity in its process--this includes crafting a Superintendent job description that details the importance of a candidate with experience in changing outcomes for Black and Latino children.
This job description must also be made available to the public.
We want to stress the importance of conducting a national search in a manner consistent with industry best practices for ensuring a diverse candidate pool.
It’s imperative for all children in Middletown, but particularly for Black and Latino children (roughly 70% of whom are not meeting educational standards), that this search be conducted with an equity lens from start to finish.
Community input is a vital part of this search that should not be limited to public hearings--there has to be space for youth and parent voices throughout the entire process.
In addition, we would like the committee to consider requiring finalists to prepare public presentations outlining their goals and methodology upon hiring, with opportunity for community members to provide input.

Our coalition’s steering committee, as well as the members of our education subcommittee, are prepared to offer our advice and assistance to the search committee and would value a role in selecting our next educational leader.

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