Not one more dime for equity at OPRF

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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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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Reader Comments

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Jim Frenkel  

Posted: October 21st, 2019 2:34 PM

Let's face it. This took some courage to write, particularly for an Oak Parker. Whether one agrees with her or not, there is a suffocating feeling of conformity in this village that prevents a TRUE diversity of viewpoints, despite people's claims to the contrary. (In other words "Diversity of thought and opinion is only ok, if it's MY opinion...")

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: October 19th, 2019 6:24 PM

If they would take the money they so desperately want to spend on a 600 fan stadium with Olympic pool and luxury locker rooms and instead spend it on education, that would be a plan that could work to improve everyone's test scores. They need to stop worrying about comparing one race against another, which is really unhealthy. What is healthy is to take each kid and incrementally make that kid do better than he or she otherwise would have.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: October 8th, 2019 8:18 PM

Thank you Jessica.

Kenn Meade from Lawrenceville  

Posted: October 8th, 2019 5:02 PM

This is a "note regarding "Not one more dime for equity at OPRF" qnd achievement gaps--an unpleasant reality everywhere. The stability of average performance on tests of reading writing and arithmetic is suggested by data for a recent 30-year period showing the average performance of all students as well as students classified by race/ethnicity on an internationally recognized test (the SAT). See table below, showing SAT Critical Reading averages for selected years. Note. Data for Asian-Americans indicate that they're exceptions to that rule. Their average has improved steadily, and they're now "leaders of the pack". Table 1. SAT Critical Reading average selected years 1987 '97 2001 '06 '11 '15 '16 507 505 506 503 497 495 494 All students 524 526 529 527 528 529 528 White 479 496 501 510 517 525 529 Asian ................................. . .....436 Hispanic 457 451 451 454 451 448 Mex-Am 436 454 457 459 452 448 Puerto R 464 466 460 458 451 449 Oth Hisp 471 475 481 487 484 481 447 Amer Ind 428 434 433 434 428 431 430 Black SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.(2012). Digest of Education Statistics, 2011 (NCES 2012-001), Chapter 2. SAT averages for college-bound seniors, by race/ethnicity: Selected years,1986-87 through 2010?"11 Data for 2015&2016 Note 2016 data were not provided for Hispanic subgroups. If despite the effort, time and money expended to improve educational programs for all students, SAT averages haven't changed materially over almost 30 years, it seems reasonable to assume that we shouldn't expect any meaningful change in average level of performance in this critically important ability in the foreseeable future. School officials should come to grips with what appears to be s difficult-t o-acknowledge, unpleasant truth.

Doug Katz from OAK PARK  

Posted: October 8th, 2019 1:44 PM

Thanks for saying what needed to be said.

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