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The board’s role in advancing equity through curriculum decisions

Esteemed writer and activist James Baldwin was ostensibly addressing classroom educators in his 1963 essay, “A Talk to Teachers,” when he spoke of “those of you who deal with the minds and hearts of young people.” But, of course, his inspiring words resound with those involved in all sectors of public education.

School district and county office of education boards are charged with steering educational policies and decisions that profoundly impact students’ learning experiences. Among boards’ paramount responsibilities is the assurance of equity in curriculum decisions, ensuring that all students, regardless of background or circumstance, have access to high-quality learning opportunities that foster their academic success. Central to this mission is the board’s role in championing equitable representation and advancement in the curriculum.

One of the primary ways school boards promote equity in curriculum decisions is through the establishment of inclusive and diverse learning materials. By scrutinizing and revising proposed curriculum, boards can ensure that the materials taught in classrooms accurately reflect the experiences, histories and contributions of all demographic groups. This includes integrating diverse perspectives, cultures and voices to cultivate a more inclusive learning environment. One way to do so is to engage internal and external stakeholders who can provide feedback, incorporating feedback into the curriculum-adoption process.

Boards of education also play a vital role in monitoring and addressing disparities in educational resources and opportunities. By allocating funds and resources equitably among schools and districts, they can mitigate inequities that stem from disparities in funding, staffing or access to educational technology and materials. Additionally, boards can advocate for policies that prioritize the needs of marginalized and underrepresented student populations, such as English learners, students with disabilities and those from low-income backgrounds.

Furthermore, school boards serve as advocates for culturally responsive teaching practices and professional development opportunities for educators. By investing in training programs that promote cultural competence and sensitivity, boards empower teachers to create inclusive classrooms where all students feel valued and supported. Additionally, they can encourage the adoption of instructional strategies that cater to diverse learning styles and preferences, ensuring that every student has the opportunity to thrive academically.

The board’s role in ensuring the representation and advancement of equity in curriculum decisions is indispensable. By prioritizing inclusive content standards, equitable resource allocation and culturally responsive teaching practices, boards can foster a more equitable educational system that empowers all students to succeed while supporting their commitment to an equity-focused vision. As stewards of public education, local educational agency governing boards have a responsibility to uphold the principles of equity and inclusivity, laying the foundation for a brighter and more equitable future for generations to come.

Explore CSBA’s equity resources at