I appreciate the various initiatives the department is pursuing to strengthen inclusivity in MA schools for students of all backgrounds. In addition to all that is being done now, there is a great opportunity to codify our commitment to diversity and inclusion in the formal school accountability metrics within the ESSA state plan.
I suggest that a new metric under school quality be created, to be called Inclusivity or something similar, which should include a quantitative but adaptable formula comparing teacher demographics with student demographics, as well as a quantitative and/or qualitative measure of how well the school is ensuring all staff (including cafeteria and bus staff, etc) are receiving comprehensive diversity and social justice training, a measure of the extent to which students feel included and empowered in all aspects of the school, and perhaps a measure of diversity and representation of various cultures, races, geographies, etc in the curriculum.
I recognize that some parts of this are easier to implement directly than other parts. I understand that teacher demographics may be equally well addressed, for now at least, by adjusting some monitoring or other existing department system. It is important, though, that the department's commitment to inclusivity be highlighted and formalized in some way in the current ESSA process. I ask that at least some parts of what I have suggested be adopted immediately with others being added over time, or at the very least that this year a placeholder for an Inclusivity metric is formalized in the state plan, similar to the language for school climate index currently in the plan, and that these measures are added in as soon as there are appropriate systems to gather data.
I also ask that student input on diversity, social justice, and inclusion be a strong piece of the school climate surveys when they are implemented under this plan, and that data so gathered be used to inform the Inclusivity metric. In the state plan a note could be added to the school climate index language about specifically getting student input on the school's success on inclusivity, but the existing language there is great for now.
Thank you for your care and commitment, and I look forward to working with you on these indicators and related initiatives.
3rd Hampshire District