Across the United States there are groups that share a different vision which includes misconstruing certain terms, concepts and/or articles to misrepresent what Salem-Keizer does when it comes to equity work. Unfortunately, most of these types of criticisms and movements contrast with what is discussed and taught in our schools. Those concepts are not curricula — they are academic concepts and articles that present different lenses with which to analyze historical and contemporary events. SKPS believes in ensuring that all students see themselves honored and reflected in the curriculum they experience every day; and that all students learn to respectfully examine multiple perspectives, cultures, backgrounds, and events. Importantly, we are committed to ensuring all students feel safe and welcome at school regardless of their background.
How does Equity show up in our classrooms?
You may have heard or wondered about the use of the term racial equity or equity lens. Equity should not be confused with equality where all students are assumed to have the same lived experiences, perspectives, or identities—equity and equality are vastly different. Equity means that we do not assume that all people have experienced historical and contemporary events with the same, equal lens. Diverse perspectives, opinions, and experiences are what make our society a rich and engaging place, and we want students to examine these perspectives in order to become critical thinkers and participants in our society.
Salem-Keizer develops its teaching and learning based on the Oregon State Standards in all content areas. When adopting curriculum, we include community voice and require board approval on any curriculum proposed to be used in schools.
Why does SKPS care about equity and not just equality?
SKPS strives to create an environment where all students feel safe and welcomed. The simplest notion would be to just teach one perspective from the dominant culture; however, equality-driven efforts do not strive to create an environment where all students, particularly those historically underserved, feel seen, heard, and honored in class because equality assumes that everyone has had the same experience.
At Salem-Keizer Public Schools, it is crucial that curriculum is applied using an equity lens for every student to succeed and graduate. When equity is achieved it means that:
- Achievements of historically underserved students match the outcomes of students in the dominant culture
- Underserved groups increase in capacity and power
- Barriers to student success have been reduced or eliminated
Learn more about equity by reading Truth in Our Classrooms Bridges Divides.