MMSD tackling racial equity head on

MMSD tackles racial equity head on

MADISON, Wis. — The Madison Metro School District is trying to tackle racism head on.  They’re taking a daring new approach during a time when school curriculums are under a great deal of scrutiny.

MMSD’s 2021-2022 budget lays out a plan for the district to dismantle “white supremacy culture,” help students understand “modern day systems of oppression,” and commit to becoming an “anti-racist organization.”

“That implies that (MMSD is) a racist organization to begin with,” says Professor Emeritus John Witte Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Public Affairs at UW Madison. “If I was a teacher or administrator with Madison area schools, I’d kind of say ‘oh, I’m a racist.’ I think that’s not a way to win hearts and minds.”

District officials would not associate their vision with Critical Race Theory.

“There’s not a singular definition of (Critical Race Theory) that I can find,” says Professor Witte. “Some people imply that current white folks are responsible for what happened generations ago,” he adds.

“What we have been teaching our students doesn’t always tell the full truth from different perspectives,” says Kaylee Jackson, the Executive Director of Curriculum and Public Instruction with MMSD.  Jackson wrote the language laid out in the budget.

The district couldn’t provide any examples of history that would be taught differently.  Jackson instead says teachers will use more perspectives when covering a topic.

“Our education system historically has been very Euro centric and we’re trying now to really center the experiences of all of our student groups,” says Jackson.

Also part of the new plan, are materials that show more diversity.

“We’re providing all of our students, particularly our African-American students with materials, resources and teaching strategies they see themselves in and that they can be successful in,” Jackson says.

Jackson says that when that happens, African-American student “really excel”, but hasn’t provided any data to support that claim, which News 3 Now has repeatedly requested.

The purpose of the change in curriculum, is to “create an inclusive learning environment in which students of color feel seen, respected and therefore safe”.

You can read more about MMSD’s curriculum initiative, including a break down of sending by clicking on this link and scrolling down to page 22.