Opinion: ED 306 and equity

By DEAN CASCADDEN

Published: 09-16-2023 6:00 AM

Dean Cascadden lives in Meredith.

I have been thinking about my role as a leader in education in New Hampshire promoting non-discrimination.

The NH Code of Ethics States: “The educator acts in the best interests of all students by advocating for equitable educational opportunities and … commits to equality, equity, and inclusion of colleagues, staff, students, parents or guardians and other members of the school community; and respects diversity amongst colleagues, staff, students, parents or guardians, and other members of the school community.”

The NH Code of Conduct specifically prohibits discrimination citing RSA 354-A. Practices of discrimination against any New Hampshire inhabitants because of age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, creed, color, marital status, familial status, mental or physical disability, religion, or national origin are a matter of state concern, that discrimination based on these characteristics not only threatens the rights and proper privileges of New Hampshire inhabitants but menaces the institutions and foundation of a free democratic state and threatens the peace, order, health, safety and general welfare of the state and its inhabitants.

As a New Hampshire educator, I need to promote equity to reach equality. We cannot just give the same input to all students and communities. Instead, we need to address the individual capacities and needs of the citizens involved, especially if there is an unequal “playing field” due to past actions or discrimination.

This has always been one of the functions of the ED 306 rules, a.k.a. the “Minimum Standards.” As the state board revises the ED 306 this issue will be critical as these rules are the underpinning of the state funding “Adequacy Grants.”

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The Minimum standards have long been used to help localities address some of the inequities in a school funding system based on property values which is inherently inequitable.

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