Should MPS District Leaders, the Board and Superintendent, perform an EDIA, or Equity and Diversity Impact Assessment, on their newly proposed Comprehensive District Design (CDD)?
First let’s understand the what, why, and how of the EDIA.
What is EDIA?
The District’s website defines the EDIA as the following:
“The EDIA is a reflective tool and guided process to evaluate policies, practices, and procedures that impact students. MPS utilizes various methods such as policy analysis, evaluation, and research to support the process. Unless specified, this process generally takes about a year to complete. The graphic below lists the steps involved during the process.”
The District goes on to discuss the intent, or why, of their EDIA process:
• “Identify which MPS students are disproportionately affected by bias or discrimination in policies and practices;
• Assess the impacts and unintended consequences of these policies and practices;
• Engage stakeholders in developing plans to address the inequities; and
• Build capacity to monitor implementation and progress for continuous improvement.”
EDIA Process ~ the how if the EDIA.
The process of the District EDIA is as follows (from the MPS website):
STEP 1 Determine an EDIA Need: The Board of Education directs or determines the need for an EDIA to take place.
STEP 2 Complete Initial Impact Assessment: This phase is also known as the Partial EDIA phase. In this step, MPS staff from the Accountability Department are gathering information and data from existing sources as well as engage with stakeholders, specifically, the owners and implementers of the work. Based on the information gathered in this step, senior leadership will determine whether or not the project warrants a Full EDIA.
STEP 3 Full Impact Assessment: In this step, engagement with stakeholders expands beyond the owners and implementers of the policy or work. Rather, the Accountability Department engages with relevant stakeholders who are impacted by the policy to better understand the context and levels of impact that are being experienced by stakeholders. This information is triangulated with the existing data and documents that were gathered to formulate findings to share with the Board of Education and public.
Step 4 Present Findings and Responses: Findings are presented to the Board of Education, and made publicly available. Owners and implementers of the policy or work are given an opportunity to respond to the findings which will also be shared in the presentation to the Board. Generally, the responses are aligned to initial plans that will support addressing the findings.
Step 5 Develop and Implement Action Plan: After the EDIA project is completed, owners of the policy or work will develop and implement an action plan that addresses the findings.
Step 6 Progress Monitor for Continuous Improvement: The Accountability Department is responsible for monitoring process of the action plans developed by the owner of the policy or work.
So, WHEN does the Board decide if a decision before them needs the scrutiny of an EDIA process? As a former At-Large Board member, we looked at the level of impact a decision would have. It may have been a large impact in an area of the city, a particular school or program like athletics, or a citywide impact. The EDIA helped us to discover any unintended consequences of our potential decisions, if there would be disparate impacts on particular communities by zip code, race, culture, socioeconomic group, or other identifiable groups like students receiving special education services.
The Board at the very least must discuss if a policy, practice or procedure before them requires an EDIA. I believe the CDD clearly does, and the Board needs to follow their own process to ensure there are no disparate impacts, unintended consequences, inequities are identified and addressed, and a plan of progress management and accountability are embedded in the implementation of the entire CDD process.
*If you want to read the Equity and Diversity policy, go to https://policy.mpls.k12.mn.us/uploads/policy_1304.pdf
*If you want to know more about EDIA history, visit https://accountability.mpls.k12.mn.us/edia_history.