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There are many confusing historical references in Mr. Tom Funk’s recent letter ("Question meaning of equity," Jan. 23). But his misrepresentation of a social movement inspired and led by Dr. Martin Luther King seems the most oppressive in 2020.

Mayor Funk whitewashes Dr. King’s message on racial justice. Consider the following:

"I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need. Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action." — Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King “Letter from the Birmingham Jail.”

We haven’t rooted out the injustice. We must confront the opportunity gaps in Minnesota. Incarceration rates, health outcome disparities, wage inequality, housing policies, access to transportation and education all show barriers to the equality of opportunity in our school district, our county, state and nation.

Here are five ways Eastern Carver County Schools use “strong, persistent and determined action” in pursuit of equity:

  1. We are increasing our ability to be effective educators by addressing historical and current disparities.
  2. We are ensuring that our learning spaces are safe for all.
  3. We are reflecting on material and curriculum that will support our graduates with strong leadership skills, and the ability to collaborate and communicate with anyone. This requires professional learning (by educators) to stay abreast of best practices of all professional fields.
  4. We are using forums, panels and opportunities for parents and community members to gather to learn about 21st century skills required for student success after graduation. Representatives from Twin Cities businesses will present those skills and our students will have the opportunities to acquire them.
  5. Student leadership and voice are a focus so that we are modeling and providing a space for growth and investment in our communities. Diversity, equity and inclusion create a space for each student to thrive in a multicultural and a global society.

Chris Commers

President

Chaska Education Association

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.

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