We again express gratitude to both the Governor and Legislature in recognizing our work regarding educational equity. As previously stated, the Governor expressed a desire to have the Board continue its work in this area and the legislature furthered this message with the passage of HR and SR 91 in the First Special Session of 2021. As a Board, no member has raised Critical Race Theory (CRT) as an agenda item to include in Utah’s K-12 schools, and advocates have not requested any specific theories be taught. Rather, the Board has continued its work focusing on educational equity and access to learning for all students. This work includes supporting each student with equitable resources and facilitating safe environments of learning that support healthy dialogue regarding each student and educator’s lived experiences.
The Board has been deeply engaged in efforts surrounding educational equity, and race in schools over the past several months. The efforts have produced meaningful milestones including a working definition for “educational equity” and a Resolution Denouncing Racism and Embracing Equity in Utah Schools. Today in Board meeting members voted unanimously for a rule providing standards on how school districts and charter schools provide professional learning on educational equity and healthy approaches to engaging in these necessary conversations.
The new rule takes a unified approach to improve conditions for learning, access, and opportunities. We remain committed to seeking equitable practices as part of our conversations with educators and parents to engage families and educate all students well, including those from underrepresented groups. We look forward to continuing this work with sensitivity as we assist schools to implement the new rule including the development of a model training.