Community Conversations: Knox County Schools’ Disparities in Educational Outcomes Task Force

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — In 2014, Knox County Schools created the Disparities in Educational Outcomes Task Force, which is a group of business, community and faith-based leaders who recommend strategies to address both disproportions in academics as well as discipline in Knox County Schools that might be correlated with income, race, language or disability.

The committee regularly solicits input from the community, holding forums and following up on concerns with Knox County Schools leadership to address issues.

“For Black children, it’s one of the issues, it’s not the only issue but had seemingly occurred and had not been addressed in a very direct way would be the disciplining of Black and Brown children,” Tomma Battle, co-chair and parent representative with the Disparities in Educational Outcomes Task Force, said.

Since the task force’s creation, policies were implemented to make discipline levels more streamlined or fair and less varied from school to school.

There has been a focus placed on diversity in classrooms, multi-tiered levels of support and intervention to meet the needs of students and staff and forming partnerships with Great Schools.

“Most children have no control over their circumstances,” Battle said. “No matter what the challenges they are still expected to achieve at the same level as children without the challenges. There’s a need for more focus on equity as opposed to equality and the move to equity starts with acknowledgment of the issues, researching solutions and adopting and adopting policies that will close the gaps.”

If you’d like to get involved, you can find more information on the task force on the Knox County Schools website.

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