Election Maplewood Opinion Schools / Kids South Orange

SOMA Justice & PARES: 2018 Race & Equity Scorecard for BOE Candidates

From SOMA Justice and P.A.R.E.S.:

BOE CANDIDATES SCORECARD

SOMA Justice: Addressing Race and Inequality and P.A.R.E.S (Parents in Partnership with Respect and Equity in SOMA School) provided 5 questions to each [South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education] candidate on addressing the issues of inequity and safety in our district (particularly in regards to vulnerable populations, i.e., POC, queer, special needs, immigrant, second-language learners, etc.).

Bleasdale Educational Research and Consulting gathered the responses and collated the data. The candidate answers were analyzed by an independent research team (not connected to the South Orange-Maplewood School District). The research team “graded” the answers from a lens of equity and inclusion and in alignment with the groups sponsoring the “Scorecard Project” (P.A.R.E.S and SOMA Justice).

More details regarding the process including the questions and candidates answers, in full, can be read here: Scorecard

Report card prepared by Kathy Greenstone.

Questions focused on:

  1. The SOMSD access and equity policy
  2. Segregation and racial achievement gap
  3. Disproportionality in the areas of discipline and special education
  4. Safety and Security
  5. Redistricting component of the capital improvement plan
CANDIDATES/Grades FINAL GRADE
Chisholm-Greene, Narda* NA
Cutler, Marian C
Cuttle, Shannon A
Farfan, Javier A
Laskowski, Michael* NA
Navarro, Bruno B
Maini, Annemarie A
Trzaska, Christopher** NA

Candidates statements can be read HERE.

The description of the process can be read HERE.

*Greene and Laskowski submitted their answers after the deadline so they were not included in the scorecard. Their answers, however, are included on the link.

** Trzaska did not submit answers. (Updated: Trzaska submitted answers on 10/21/18 after documents were shared for publication; his answers have now been included in the link).

Scale Used

A 90 – 100

B 80 – 89

C70 – 79

D 60- 69

FAQ:

Q:  Who were the independent researchers that scored the answers?

A:   Dr. Jane Bleasdale an independent consultant and professor of education worked with two groups of educational research students to analyze the data. The students attend the University of San Francisco graduate School of Education and have no affiliation to S.O.M.S.D.

Q: How did the researchers know how to “score” the answers?

A:  The researchers completed the project using grounded theory. (Grounded theory involves the collection and analysis of data. The theory is “grounded” in actual data, which means the analysis and development of theories happens after you have collected the data. It was introduced by Glaser & Strauss in 1967 to legitimize qualitative research. ) Dr Bleasdale, a scholar, academic researcher and practitioner, outlined the ideal key words and phrases that align with the values of equity and justice in all of the five answers.  The team of researchers then coded each narrative and gave it a score based on the frequency of the terms. There were also some points that are non negotiable ( any support for the presence of SRO or additional security shows a candidate doesn’t align with the stated mission of the organizations and would therefore not be considered as an “A” response).

Q: Last year, the questions started with yes and no questions. This year, there were qualitative questions asking about the strengths and areas of improvement needed.  What was different this year with scoring?

A: While last year’s questions had yes and no questions, the reality is that people wrote extensive qualitative answers.  The coding was revised this year to allow for analysis of key words and phrases associated with equity and justice.

Q: Were the researchers aware of the challenges and issues in SOMSD to put the answers into context?

A: The researchers are completely independent and do not know the names, history or context of the SOMSD school district. The true ‘blind’ nature of their analysis allowed for a robust review of the narrative answers.

Q: How is the grading scale of A, B, C, D used?

A:  The research team reviewed the candidates statements in,light of the stated mission of PARES and SOMA: SJ . They compared the coded data with the mission of the two groups .and used the following rubric.

Exceeds (A) Meets(B) Approaches(C) Does Not Meet(D)
Understands issues of race and equality inline with the mission of PARES and SOMA SJ Demonstrates a nuanced understanding of the multiple ways SOMSD perpetuates injustice. Shows significant knowledge of ways to create opportunities to challenge injustice, inequality, and oppression. Demonstrates understanding of the multiple ways SOMSD perpetuates injustice. Shows some knowledge of ways to create opportunities to challenge injustice, inequality, and oppression. Demonstrates a limited or superficial understanding of the multiple ways SOMSD perpetuates injustice. Shows limited knowledge of ways  to create opportunities to challenge injustice, inequality, and oppression. Failed to demonstrate an understanding of the way(s) SOMSD perpetuates injustice.Does not challenge injustice, inequality, and oppression. Relies largely on ahistorical or individualistic accounts of social phenomena.

Q:  Who is Dr. Jane Bleasdale who organized this project?

A: Dr. Jane Bleasdale is acting as the liaison to the groups engaged in this process. She is a Assistant Professor at University of San Francisco as a scholar, academic researcher and practitioner. Dr. Bleasdale’s research is focused on equity and inclusion in High Schools. She is also the principal of Bleasdale Educational Research and Consultants. For this project, Dr. Bleasdale is acting as an independent (volunteer) consultant to the group. She is also a community member and parent of two students in the district.

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