CUSD Cultural Proficiency Plan Update

CUSD+Plan

Graphic Courtesy of CUSD

During a school board meeting addressing the CUSD Cultural Proficiency Plan, a graphic is presented showing the percentage of students that have been harassed on a CUSD school campus.

Samantha Freeman, Staff Writer

The Cultural Proficiency Plan, approved at the December board meeting, was an important step forward; however, many of its original advocates believed the plan required further revision in order to better combat racism in schools. In response, the district set out in order to amend, revise, and add upon the original plan.

As of December, CUSD Against Racism and the Cultural Proficiency Task Force were working in conjunction to edit and revise the Cultural Proficiency Plan. The plan was created to combat racism within the CUSD school system to make campuses safer and more inclusive for all students. 

Some CUSD Against Racism’s suggested revisions included consolidating the timeline, targeting elementary school populations, addressing the needs of specific minority groups, and developing procedures to actually enforce change. Unfortunately for CUSD Against Racism, many of the proposed changes were not accounted for in the new and final draft. 

One of the biggest concerns that CUSD Against Racism had regarding the plan was that it rarely mention racism at all, which is something that the student organization strongly felt needed to be addressed along with other forms of discrimination that minority groups face at school. 

It should be a plan that focuses on uplifting the marginalized populations in our school district”

— Mafouta

“It should be a plan that focuses on uplifting the marginalized populations in our school district. They did not address and explicitly mention all the marginalized communities in the plan, and they only included one anti-racism part,” said Esther Mafouta, one of the core organizers of CUSD Against Racism. 

In the new plan, the listed goals were reorganized to emphasize priority issues, including harassment and racial bullying. While certainly an improvement over the original draft, the student-led group believes they are merely the bare minimum, and the plan needs to have a clearer description of exactly how these goals that are outlined are going to be enforced. 

“It’s great that they’re doing implicit bias training for teachers and a select number of students that can choose to join as well. But what will the follow-up look like because one training is not enough. We need to follow up on these training and ensure that what’s taught is being adhered to and absorbed,” said Mafouta.  

To address this specific issue of enforcement, the Cultural Proficiency Task Force is working on an implementation plan that will specify some of these procedures to ensure actual change on school campuses. 

It’s great that they’re doing implicit bias training for teachers and a select number of students that can choose to join as well. But what will the follow-up look like because one training is not enough.”

— Mafouta

“As a general rule of thumb, this plan was the bare minimum and we wanted to see more from the district. Currently the plan did pass because we did want the plan to pass. However, we just wanted the district to continue to improve upon it. Next up is the implementation plan,” said Mafouta. 

The purpose of the implementation plan is to outline  how the Cultural Proficiency Plan will be implemented. In other words, the Cultural Proficiency Plan outlined general goals to be accomplished to reduce racial inequality at school, and the following implementation plan will provide a direct path toward executing these goals over the next three years.  

“We pushed really hard for this plan because we want it to have bold, ambitious goals, so we can make as big of a difference as we can. I think that if we’re not vigilant constantly, pushing for the cultural proficiency anti-racist work to be a priority, then the plan could amount to nothing. But it’s definitely a good first step,” said Olivia Fu, one of the core coordinators of CUSD Against Racism. 

Although the plan still has its critics, it was improved, and the Cultural Proficiency Task Force is hopeful that their work will encourage true change within the school district.