Dear Mr. Hubbuch,

Thank you for the common sense you bring to the issues facing Oak Park in general and the high school in particular [The real gap at OPRF isn’t between students, John Hubbuch, Viewpoints, Sept. 25]. The obsession with “equity” has drowned out every other conversation at or about OPRF. The dumbing-down approach to achieving “equity” distresses me, but I believe the worst effect will be teaching students that people are defined by race, and only by race.

And then the “responsibility” issue. As you point out, the achievement gap has persisted despite the school boards’ multiyear responsible, race-conscious attempts to solve it. Doesn’t it occur to anyone that the problem persists because it doesn’t lie with the school? If a black student does not do as well as a white student, the Oak Park solution is to tell the white teacher to examine his/her “white privilege,” and accept all the blame. 

ShaRhonda Dawson, for example, blames everything on white racists (to her, all white people) and asserts that poverty, single-parent homes, and lack of parental involvement do not factor into student achievement. I find this statement absolutely extraordinary. Not only does it defy all common sense and knowledge of human development, but it invites students (and parents) to deny all personal responsibility.

I have lived in Oak Park for more than 30 years, and have always voted money for the schools. No more. Since the board has decided that my tax dollars are best spent paying equity specialists, I will oppose every dime. I am pretty sure that the main job of an equity specialist is to convince school boards and the community that his/her services are indispensable, that he/she is the only thing preventing the KKK from burning crosses on Oak Park lawns. I suspect that in this goal, if no other, the equity specialist will be successful.

While I have little hope that Oak Park will ever view people without a racial lens, I truly hope that you will continue to express your views. I have been cursing the darkness, but you light a candle. Please don’t let it blow out.

Jessica Tovrov

Oak Park

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