Equity or equality? WISD amends wording in one of its core values

Chris Roark
Waxahachie Daily Light

The Waxahachie ISD Board of Trustees approved a change to one of its core values Monday after controversy over the word “equity” in one of its values.

In December, the board approved the district’s vision statement and core values. One of the core values read, “We value an environment of belonging that respects individual differences and ensures equity for all.”

Monday’s amendment changes the word “equity” to “equality.”

“The driving force behind this value was the importance of continually looking at offering equitable facilities, technology, equitable instruction, etc. to students across WISD,” Superintendent Jerry Hollingsworth read to the board. “Regardless of whether they attend one of our newest campuses or one of our oldest."

“The belief of our vision alignment team was that this value is a worthy cause and one that just as our nation’s founding documents, moves WISD toward a more perfect version of itself,” Hollingsworth said.

But Hollingsworth said since the adoption in December, there has been a lot of discussion and controversy nationally over the use of the word “equity” versus “equality,” adding that the belief is “equality” is a more American ideal.

“The Vision Alignment Team clearly knew the intent behind this value,” Hollingworth said. “It was written to hold on to all the great ways that our district's diversity makes Waxahachie ISD a better, much stronger place to live and learn. It was also written to cause us to continually strive to ensure that our students have access to a fantastic array of educational options and opportunities, regardless of the neighborhood in which they live. That stated, we want the intent behind this value to be the focal point – not any other unintended political distraction.”

The other core values are: “We value choices because it makes us unique and is critical to learning,” “We value the collaborative culture that honors and supports all who positively impact the lives of students,” and “We value relationships that broaden the learning experiences and enrich our community.” The district’s adopted vision statement is “To be a district where innovation thrives, and growth is limitless.”

Earlier in the year, WISD partnered with firm CSG to create the vision statement and core values based on feedback from the community, students, parents and staff through surveys, interviews and workshops.