ETHS/District 202 candidates emphasize equity in school board election

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ETHS/District 202 candidates emphasize equity in school board election

Evanston Township High School/District 202 board members at a school board meeting. Superintendent Eric Witherspoon said no matter how the election turns out, he is confident all four candidates are “very qualified

Evanston Township High School/District 202 board members at a school board meeting. Superintendent Eric Witherspoon said no matter how the election turns out, he is confident all four candidates are “very qualified"

Noah Frick-Alofs/Daily Senior Staffer

Evanston Township High School/District 202 board members at a school board meeting. Superintendent Eric Witherspoon said no matter how the election turns out, he is confident all four candidates are “very qualified"

Noah Frick-Alofs/Daily Senior Staffer

Noah Frick-Alofs/Daily Senior Staffer

Evanston Township High School/District 202 board members at a school board meeting. Superintendent Eric Witherspoon said no matter how the election turns out, he is confident all four candidates are “very qualified"

Catherine Henderson, City Editor

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As an Evanston resident, parent and advocate, Liz Rolewicz has watched the same issues come up over and over, so she decided to run for Evanston Township High School/District 202 school board to look at the bigger picture.

“Education is ground zero for societal influence,” she said.

Rolewicz is one of four candidates running for three open seats for the District 202 school board elections on Apr. 2. On Friday, the Organization for Positive Action and Leadership, a grassroots racial advocacy group in Evanston, released their endorsement for candidates in the District 202 and Evanston/Skokie School Board District 65 elections, supporting Rolewicz, Stephanie Teterycz and incumbent Monique Parsons, as well as other candidates from the District 65 race.

Rolewicz said OPAL’s work is directly in-line with her platform. She has seen groups of people who feel unsupported by the school system, and she emphasized the importance of changing the culture of District 202, doing “equity work” to determine who is served, who is affected and where the community can do more.

“My hope for this election is that we can have a board full of people who are willing do the really difficult, challenging work of identifying and addressing the equity issues,” Rolewicz said. “Race is a predictor of outcome in our schools, and we’re not okay with that.”

Rolewicz said ETHS is a trailblazer on the national level. She said the school should be proud and continue working to be a “role model.”

Alex Morgan — a board member with OPAL — said the organization looked for candidates with strong “quality of character” and emphasis on racial equity.

“This is part of why OPAL was started… to hold our local institutions accountable for the outcomes of black students and people of color in Evanston,” Morgan said. “We do that not just through advocacy but also through candidate development and working to get individuals elected to these positions in power.”

OPAL will also host forums for the District 202 school board candidates on Feb. 27 and another forum for Oakton Community College School Board on Feb. 28, where there are 13 candidates for three seats.

District 202 superintendent Eric Witherspoon said he had the chance to sit down with all four candidates, and no matter how the election turns out, he is confident they are all “very qualified.”

Witherspoon highlighted the District 202 commitment to creating equitable opportunities for all students. He added that he considers OPAL an ally in this work.

“The community is really having an opportunity to select who’s going to serve on the board,” “My hope always is that we will get people who are really motivated to contribute the most to making ETHS a better place for students.”

Email: catherinehenderson2021@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @caity_henderson

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