Lake Chelan School District Position Statements:
Diversity Equity and Inclusion (D.E.I), Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Sexual Health Education
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Sexual Health Education (SHE) and Critical Race Theory (CRT) are all complex education-related issues which are currently “hot topics” in our national dialogue via both social media and the mainstream media. On the national level conversations about DEI, SHE and CRT tend to be divided along political and ideological lines, which unfortunately for most people cause more frustration and confusion.
Locally we believe that as a “learning organization” the LCSD must remain committed to ensuring that we continue to promote meaningful conversations about our curriculum with our community, our staff, and our students. To help bring greater clarity and understanding about curriculum and the issues at hand, the Superintendent, in collaboration with the LCSD Board of Directors, has prepared a brief summary explaining our position on these issues. Some of these explanations include links which offer more in-depth information on each topic.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, and INCLUSION (DEI) is not synonymous with CRITICAL RACE THEORY (CRT)
The LCSD is dedicated to ensuring that every student has the opportunity to realize their full potential and to experience belonging through a culture of dignity in the school community. Last September the District wrote and received an Inclusionary Practice Project Grant to study Inclusion at a much deeper level. A District wide work group including District staff, Administrators, Educators and Parents participated in this endeavor over the course of the past year. The LCSD has received State recognition for their leadership and vision in this area of study and has presented their work at two state conferences this past year. Recently we have been invited again to present at the upcoming State Special Education conference.
CRITICAL RACE THEORY is a theoretical framework, developed in the 1980’s. CRT is used by some academic institutions to examine the effects of systemic racism in our country and how it influences institutional policies/procedure and practices today. Locally some folks have expressed concerns about CRT which we attribute, in part, to recent passage of State House Bill 5044 regarding Cultural Competency awareness and training in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) for school district personnel, which does not encompass CRT.
- State House Bill 5044 (LINK) is a State mandate designed to ensure that all school district staff receives training in “Cultural Competency”, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) beginning in the 2021-22 school year.
- State House Bill 5044/ Washington State does not mandate or offer curriculum in CRT.
- The LCSD does not teach CRT
- The LCSD has chosen to start the training process using a book study in combination with staff seminars. The book “Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity”, is designed to help Districts start the conversation amongst staff in exploring the topic of Cultural Competency by discussing the concepts of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and how they promote a sense of dignity and belonging for all learners.
SEXUAL HEALTH EDUCATION (SHE) UPDATE
In 2019 in response to Senate Bill 5395 the LCSD reviewed and approved the updated SHE curriculum which was carefully developed by LCSD educators.
The current SHE curriculum has been very well received by the vast majority of parents/guardians. However, as is the case with all curriculum the Superintendent is accountable to the community to ensure that the quality, efficacy and appropriateness of all educational content and methods is evaluated and action is taken when necessary.
- The LCSD recognizes and believes that the primary responsibility for SHE rests with parents and/or guardians. In fact, as per District policy, parents have every right to review their student’s curriculum, and/or opt-out of LCSD SHE curriculum by notifying the teacher or the school principal.
- Senate Bill 5395 requires all districts to provide comprehensive SHE curriculum which must be: medically and scientifically accurate, evidence-informed, age appropriate, aligned with heath and learning standards, inclusive of all students, regardless of their protected class status.
- Some of the earlier/ongoing controversy is related to a curriculum known as the 3 R’s: Rights, Respect and Responsibility. Although the 3 R’s is an approved curriculum there is no State requirement to use this curriculum.
- The Lake Chelan School District does not use the 3 R’s Curriculum.
- The Lake Chelan School District was involved in writing the state curriculum when first introduced
- The chart, below, outlines the focus of the LCSD’s current SHE curriculum and in the near future lessons will be posted on the district website.
LCSD is using the same curriculum that it has for the past several years with the following progressions:
Note: Senate Bill 5395 (LINK) defines comprehensive SHE curriculum as “recurring instruction in human development and reproduction that is age appropriate and inclusive of all students”.
At this time, we would like to encourage all members of our school and the community to consider taking some of the focus off of the national fervor which these topics elicit and shift the conversation to solving local problems with local solutions through collaborative efforts.
Lastly, the Lake Chelan School District will remain fully engaged in discussing these timely topics through the “ lens of learning” and is committed to deep study, full transparency, critical thinking, and listening to all voices in an effort to serve all students in our District.