Proposed Atlanta school policy aims to remedy ‘historic’ racial inequity

A proposed Atlanta school policy would seek to correct years of “historic inequity,” citing achievement gaps between white and black students and disproportionately fewer black students in talented and gifted programs and rigorous high school classes.

The Atlanta Board of Education will take a preliminary vote on an equity policy at its Monday meeting, with final approval scheduled for a future meeting.

If approved, it would be the first such policy for Atlanta Public Schools.

The board has been working on a policy to address inequities, particularly ones linked to race, for more than a year. 

There’s a big gap between Atlanta’s black students and white students on standardized tests, just one place where issues of inequity are evident in schools.

Read the draft APS equity policy

The policy’s suggested wording is broad in scope. Instead of spelling out specific rule changes, it directs the superintendent to consider equity in decisions and form an advisory committee. The board and superintendent also would develop goals each year to promote equity, and the superintendent would provide an update on that progress each November.

The policy calls for the district to remedy practices that lead to a “disproportionate over-representation of students of color” in special education, discipline and alternative school enrollment and those students’ under-representation in talented and gifted programs and Advanced Placement classes.