MCPS’s upcoming Antiracist Plan to be released by March 2023

Kaitlyn Schramm, Copy Editor

Montgomery County Public School’s antiracist audit from the 21-22 school year has recently led to efforts to implement a new system that will be finalized and released by March 2023. The audit demonstrated that the current system is fragmented, and took information from numerous sources including student-run Instagram accounts exposing acts of racism that peers experienced while in school or at a school-sponsored event. Considering the student experiences, MCPS officials jump-started the creation of a new system, declaring that the current system is not working when so many students are victims of racism on a routine basis. 

“We know what the data says. But now let’s understand why,” said Chief of Office of Strategic Initiatives, Stephanie Sharon. 

MCPS is refocusing their goals in this plan from solely conducting additional research to making changes that will alleviate the issues demonstrated in recent research. Most of the issues that were prevalent in the recent audit have been recurring over the past few years, leading MCPS to focus on a new and improved strategy, as the past strategies have been proven faulty. 

Dr. Anthony Allston, speaker at MCPS’s antiracist audit press conference, noted that the new plan that will be released in March will be two pages long. The first page focuses on engaging stakeholders and the second on expectations schools should  have. In addition to this, MCPS Superintendent, Monifa McKnight, mentioned that there are three main priorities in the upcoming plan: building trust by engaging stakeholders, organizing social-emotional wellness, and enforcing educational equity. Allston also stated that an imperative goal in the plan is to assure that staff and parents adjust accordingly, and that if for any reason they do not adjust, the plan will be refigured to fit their needs. 

The speakers mentioned multiple times that the plan is not simply including critical race theory, and said that they instead are assuring that teachers are prepared to answer any questions that may arise in racial discussion. However, teachers are not forced to adhere to any curriculum featuring racial education. This is done in order to assure that teachers and parents are comfortable with what children are learning in schools considering the controversy surrounding certain racial lessons, and to eliminate potential biases that may be taught in the classroom. 

“We don’t do critical race theory,” stated McKnight as she described the essence of the new plan.