by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The co-founding partner of the consulting firm hired by Loudoun County Public Schools to incorporate equity and inclusion initiatives into school curricula admitted in a recent lecture that he believes public education should not focus primarily on “learning.”
“I think the thing that public education offers…because I certainly don’t think we offer learning… are relationships…What historically high schools were for was dissemination of information very quickly…Well actually the internet is better than the high school is…Truthfully, the teacher in relation to the dissemination of information is obsolete. But the teacher in relationship to relationship is the thing,” Equity Collaborative leader Jamie Almanzán said.
Almanzán urged teachers and administrators to “practice” their diversity trainings on adults, whose minds have hardened over time, so that they’d be better prepared to convert children to their cause. Children, he recognized, are much more impressionable because their world-views are still developing and evolving and are therefore easier to persuade.
“To change adults…sometimes I wonder whether it’s even worth it. Sometimes you’re like ‘Just forget it.’ They should just get out of the way. Kids change must faster. Adults are in the way,” he added.
Equality of opportunity is insufficient, Almanzán suggested. Instead, public school systems must reflect and institutionalize equality of outcome. He recommended a linguistic strategy for schools to adopt to make equity and inclusion initiatives more palatable to constituents.
“I actually think it’s easier to create a productive conversation about equity when you’re talking about equity as opposed to addressing inequity. My job, my idea, is to shift our language to coming up with the outcome we want to see and then addressing the inequities that prevent us from getting to that outcome. People are down for equity, people are not down for challenging inequity,” he said.