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PEG proposal gets lukewarm reception at D65

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A proposal by the Pacific Educational Group for racial equity professional development and consulting services for the board and administration of Evanston/Skokie School District 65 was met with skepticism at Monday night’s board meeting as perhaps a solution in search of a problem.

A proposal by the Pacific Educational Group for racial equity professional development and consulting services for the board and administration of Evanston/Skokie School District 65 was met with skepticism at Monday night’s board meeting as perhaps a solution in search of a problem.

Dubbed as “a framework for systemic equity transformation,” the program—largely a series of seminars—is described by the consultants as one that is designed “to help leaders, educators, students, parents, and community understand the impact of race on student achievement and the role that racism plays in institutionalized academic achievement disparities.”

It is considered a tool to help the district cope with an achievement gap between white and minority students. The first phase would take a year and would involve an out-of-pocket cost of $55,500. The complete program involves four more phases to be implemented over several years. The high school District 202 is currently participating in a PEG program.

Board member Kim Weaver said, “It looks like a lot of training. What is our goal? What will be the result? Will this help us close the gap?” If the goal is closing the gap, she said, perhaps the district could better use the money to expand the African-Centered Curriculum currently in place at Oakton School.

Katie Bailey suggested that a needs assessment be the first step. “Maybe that’s what we should do,” she said.

Andrew Pigozzi said, “It’s not real high on my priority list” and he suggested that the board members might first attend one of the District 202 workshops on the subject. “I don’t see a real sense of urgency,” he said.

Tracy Quattrocki labeled it “a boilerplate proposal”  that would take time away from the regular duties of district personnel.

Supporters of the proposal were members Jerome Summers and Board President Keith Terry. Summers contended that it could help board members with “how we see the world.”

Terry said that “as a diverse board, leadership starts here.”  As the discussion ended with no resolution, Terry suggested that the next step might be to go back to the consultants to see if they could develop a customized program for the district. “I don’t know how to do a needs assessment,” he said.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio stations and business-oriented magazines.

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