DougCo schools equity policy survey deadline looms

Suzie Glassman

By: Suzie Glassman/NewsBreak Denver

(Castle Rock, CO) DougCo school district parents, employees, administrators, community members, and business owners have until the end of February 17 to answer questions about the current equity policy and what, if anything, they’d like to see changed.

The stakes feel high on both sides of the political aisle.

Conservative voters turned out in 2021 to support the board of education candidates who expressed their concerns about the newly-implemented equity policy.

Shortly after the new board members were sworn in, they fired former superintendent Corey Wise partly because they didn’t believe he was willing to modify the policy.

Other organizations believe dismantling or modifying the equity policy will set the district back in its progress toward diversity and inclusion for all students.

It’s unclear what the district will do with the results, but many parents feel the questions on the survey are misleading, biased, and include words with no clear definition.

“A survey can make anything seem legit if you ask the questions in certain ways,” said one Facebook post.
Sample questions from the DCSD equity surveyPhoto byHanover Research

For example, what does “curriculum that meets multiple perspectives mean,” asks one parent. “What perspectives is it referring to? Is white supremacy a perspective? Is homophobia a perspective?”

Superintendent Erin Kane responded, “I do agree with you that lack of standard definitions of words makes this topic so challenging, so hopefully, letting people put things in their own words will help alleviate that concern.”

Focus groups limited in size and representation

The district paid Hanover Research $75,000 to conduct 12 focus groups about the equity policy, six virtual and six in person.

Yet, many interested in participating could not join because attendance was limited. As a result, it’s unclear how representative some groups could be with only a handful of members.

One parent questioned (with laughing emojis), “So a focus group of 10 high school students isn't representative of the entire student body?”

Concerns about outsized representation

Others fear that groups who believe the policy contains elements of critical race theory, which the district does not teach, will take advantage of the fact that anyone with the survey link can respond as often as they choose.

FEC United posted the link in their Facegroup, calling on Douglas County residents to complete the form, but the group contains many members with no stake in the district’s outcomes.

Hanover Research said it has rigorous methods to validate that the data is accurate, including:

  • Checking response speed
  • Gibberish open-ended responses
  • Variability of matrix responses
  • And number/type of selections for multiple response variables

Hanover declined a request to speak to NewsBreak about the data collection process.

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I'm a reporter covering the Douglas County School District in Colorado.

Denver, CO

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