In his Feb. 12 Community View, Scott Goodspeed explained why he declined an invitation to participate in the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Equity Committee. He complains that the committee’s intent to “focus on the common goals of ensuring equitable outcomes” in our public schools is in fact a “red flag”—arguing instead that we should equip our children for “a world that does not guarantee equitable outcomes.” True: No one ever said life was fair, and no one argues that individual talents and hard work should not be recognized and rewarded.
But despite assailing discrimination and racial prejudice in general, Mr. Goodspeed sidesteps the elephant in the room: the direct links between poverty and race on one hand and significantly lower academic performance on the other. These performance gaps were documented in a 2020 report commissioned by LCPS from the Equity Collaborative, a national consulting firm. In one illustrative finding, the report notes that 80 percent of Loudoun’s White high school students achieve an Advanced Diploma, while only 57 percent of Black students and 45 percent of Latinx students reach the same goal. There are similarly distressing gaps in mathematics and reading scores.
But for Mr. Goodspeed, the LCPS Equity Committee’s efforts to set strategic goals to address these discrepancies is somehow “Marxist.” Sure, it’s fine to advocate individual responsibility and argue for a level playing field, as he does. But you can’t have a level playing field if white students from affluent families start on the 50-yard line and minority and/or impoverished students start 40 yards back. Nor can you pick yourself up by your bootstraps if you don’t own boots.
While any strategy to address these systemic challenges in our educational system or culture will be imperfect, it’s laudable that the LCPS Equity Committee is giving it a try.