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Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE)

Racial Imbalance Advisory Council

The Racial Imbalance Advisory Council (RIAC) advises the Commissioner of Education and the Board of Education on matters pertinent to the development and maintenance of school desegregation/integration in public schools within the Commonwealth. The Council assesses statewide trends and needs in desegregation and integration patterns, seeks wide public and professional input, and disseminates information regarding racial balance, and access to effective educational programs for all the Commonwealth's children regardless of race or class. RIAC also advises and makes recommendations regarding legislation, regulations and program guidelines, and provides other programmatic recommendations, as it deems necessary, to fulfill the goals established by the Board of Education. Membership on the Council is representative of a broad base of individuals experienced in equity theory - its application and implementation at the district and school levels.

The primary goal of the Racial Imbalance Advisory Council (RIAC) is to: review the *Racial Imbalance Law in order to respond to significant changing demographic needs, changing student needs, changing district needs, changing desegregation plans, and to ensure that districts adhere to the tenets of the Racial Imbalance Law. The Racial Imbalance Law was passed with the knowledge and understanding that the legacy of racial discrimination in our society carries long-term consequences.

Of primary concerns to the RIAC are the integration of students in our public schools and improved student achievement for all. Both are still lacking in many urban Massachusetts schools and districts. There continues to be pronounced racial and cultural differences in student achievement, participation in special education, suspensions and expulsions. The Council believes that school districts need to focus their efforts on adequate and appropriate staff development that prepares teachers to meet the needs of all students regardless of their racial heritage or socio-economic status. Of equal importance is the belief that districts should develop appropriate evaluation tools that will ensure timely identification of systemic strengths and weaknesses and if necessary develop and implement plans for appropriate improvement.

Meeting Schedule

Meeting Date & TimeMeeting Location
Tuesday, 10/13/2020 Download Word Document
9:30–11:30am
This meeting is being held remotely. If you would like to attend, please email Sylvia Lam for the Zoom information.
Subcommittee Meeting
Monday, 11/2/2020
12:30–2:30pm
This meeting is being held remotely. If you would like to attend, please email Sylvia Lam for the Zoom information.
Tuesday, 12/1/2020
9:30–11:30am
This meeting is being held remotely. If you would like to attend, please email Sylvia Lam for the Zoom information.
Subcommittee Meeting
Thursday, 12/17/2020
2–3pm
This meeting is being held remotely. If you would like to attend, please email Sylvia Lam for the Zoom information.
Tuesday, 2/2/2021
9:30–11:30am
This meeting is being held remotely. If you would like to attend, please email Sylvia Lam for the Zoom information.
Tuesday, 3/2/2021
9:30–11:30am
This meeting is being held remotely. If you would like to attend, please email Sylvia Lam for the Zoom information.
Tuesday, 5/4/2021
9:30–11:30am
This meeting is being held remotely. If you would like to attend, please email Sylvia Lam for the Zoom information.
Tuesday, 6/1/2021
9:30–11:30am
This meeting is being held remotely. If you would like to attend, please email Sylvia Lam for the Zoom information.

Council Statement

The Racial Imbalance Advisory Council (RIAC) advocates for the importance of diversity in the education of the children of the Commonwealth. It believes that all children should be held to the highest standards and afforded access to the highest quality of education. To this end the Council will:

  • Support the mission, and proposed goals and objectives of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for all students who attend public schools
  • Establish links with proposed activities of RIAC and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Strategic Plan.
  • Review racial integration patterns in MA public schools including charter schools, and also court case findings and the impact on school assignments in MA
  • Examine and research recent documents relevant to advantages/disadvantages of diverse educational settings and race relations

2019–2020 Racial Imbalance Advisory Council Members

Membership on the Racial Imbalance Advisory Council includes:

NameTitleInstitution
Milly Arbaje-ThomasChief Executive Officer, MSW, LCSWMETCO, Inc.
Rachel BowenHuman Resources DirectorMarblehead Public Schools
Gloria BuffongeUnion OrganizerHarvard Business School
Brian CastellanosSchool Committee MemberLynn Public Schools
Charlotte ClarkeEarly Childhood EducatorConsult with Childcare Programs
Dr. Raul A. FernandezAssociate Dean for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion & Lecturer, Higher Education AdministrationBoston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development
Barbara FieldsOrganizational RepresentativeBlack Educators Alliance of MA
Christina HornerSenior AssociateGreat Schools Partnership
Dr. Kalise WornumChief Executive Officer, Senior Director of Educational EquityKW Diversity, Brookline Public Schools
Dr. Kenann McKenzieExecutive Director, Aspire Institute & Adjunct Assistant Professor in Education, Leadership & Policy Studies, Boston University Wheelock College for Education & Human Development
Kahris McLaughlin Ph.D.College RepresentativeBoston University Wheelock College for Education and Human Development at Boston University
Michael Morris Ed. D.SuperintendentAmherst, Pelham, and Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools
Christine MurrayFinancial and Grants AdministratorBoston University Medical School
William B. NewellFormer High School Administrator, METCO Board Member
LaTonia NaylorSchool Committee MemberSpringfield Public Schools
John RitzFormer Engineer; Parent Multiracial Family; Volunteer work with multi-racial groups
Jessica SamuelPhD Student, American & New England Studies ProgramBoston University
Shannah VaronExecutive DirectorBoston Collegiate Charter School

Contact Information

Co-Chairpersons:
Dr. Kahris McLaughlin and Mr. William Newell

Secretary: Dr. Michael Morris

For Further Information Contact

DESE Liaison
Shay Edmond
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148
Telephone: 781-338-3217

Resources

Annual Reports to the Board of Education

Related Resources

  • Chapter 15: Section 1I
  • Chapter 15: Section 1J
  • Chapter 76: Section 12A
  • Chapter 71: Section 37C
  • Chapter 71: Section 37D
  • Chapter 71: Section 37I & 37J

  • Charles V. Willie, Ph.D., & Michael Alves, Ed.M. (1996); Controlled Choice: A New Approach To Desegregated Education and School Improvement. Education Alliance Press.

  • Carl A. Grant (1995); Educating for Diversity: An Anthology of Multicultural Voices. Allyn & Bacon

  • Schott Foundation for Public Education (2008). Given half a chance: The Schott 50 state report on pulbic education and black males. Executive Summary. Cambridge, MA: Author. Retrieved October 20, 2008

  • Singleton, G. E. & Linton, C. (2006). Courageous conversations about race: A field guide for achieving equity in schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

  • Uriarte, M., Chen, J., & Kala, M. (2007). Where we go to school… Latino students and the public schools of Boston. Boston, MA: The Mauricio Gaston Institute for Latino community Development and Public Policy. Retrieved on October 20, 2008

  • Noguera, P. & Wing, J. Y. (eds.) (2006). Unfinished business: Closing the racial achievement gap in our schools. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Last Updated: May 24, 2021

 
Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370

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