For many good and understandable reasons the public outcry over the Race to Equity report on racial disparities in Madison and Dane County was met with a certain skepticism. After all, the issue is race. And this is a community that likes to talk. Both can inhibit actual action.
But we are heartened by what we’ve seen in terms of policy changes, new initiatives and investments in addressing racial disparities and that activity continued at last night’s Madison School Board meeting. Board approval of a new district student discipline policy and partnership with UW on teacher development offer measurable efforts to improve achievement and reduce disparities in the criminal justice system for Black kids. Very simply we’ve been talking about these very issues for decades and done very little. Last night’s district action should show results in both the long and short terms.
Couple with this week’s action by Dane County to create staff teams to monitor county budget items for their impact in racial disparity and we have a growing confidence that One Madison is indeed achievable.