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Painting Eggs

Lorain City Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeff Graham says some information revealed in an equity audit is hard to take.

“But it’s the right thing to do,” Graham said.

The district hired Ross May from Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County to evaluate the district regarding social justice.

May looks for ethnic and student subgroup participation in programs and activities to line up with overall subgroup percentages.

For example, since the student population at Lorain City Schools measures roughly 40 percent Latino or Hispanic, 27 percent black, eight percent multi-racial and 25 percent white according to data from the Ohio Department of Education website, those same percentages should show up in activities, Graham said.

After a four-hour meeting March 27, Graham, district administrators and May worked through about half of the 180 pages of data from the equity audit, he said.

“We pointed out things that should be looked at differently,” Graham said. “For example, Titan College rules changed, so we need to look at the data differently.”

Graham said he intends to share results of the equity audit in about a month, after a second meeting to finish going through the data, and after he organizes thoughts around what the data reveals and ideas on first responses.

“Some things hurt to look at,” Graham said. “But we’re doing this because we want to make sure all of our students have equal access to all of our programs and they don’t. We need to ask, ‘Why?’

“Some things made me sad. Some things made me hurt to look at. But these are all opportunities to improve. We are looking at reality the way it is.”

If things hurt, the district needs to fix them, he said.

“And a lot of these things we’re already fixing,” Graham said. “This is last year’s data, and the year before.

“With this equity audit, it’s going to be emotional, because there are some things where we’re not doing it very well.”

The Ohio Department of Education did not require the district to go through this audit, he said.

“It’s not something the state is making us do,” Graham said. “We’re doing it because it’s right. It’s not ODE. It’s not academic distress.

“I don’t think we can improve without taking a good hard look at reality. It would be easy for us to hide from this, but we’re not doing it. In fact, we’re doing the opposite.”

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