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### University of Pennsylvania’s Equity Consortium Employs Abington School District as Fiscal Agent

Abington School District, located in Pennsylvania, serves as a financial intermediary for the Delaware Valley Consortium for Excellence and Equity, affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, along with various school districts in Pennsylvania and Delaware. This arrangement was disclosed in documents provided to Parents Defending Education by a concerned community member.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education established the Coalition for Educational Equity in 2004, housing two equity consortia within the institution: The Delaware Valley Consortium for Excellence and Equity (DVCEE) and the New Jersey Consortia for Excellence Through Equity (NJCEE). The NJCEE extends its services to 42 school districts in New Jersey, while the DVCEE caters to 49 school districts spanning Delaware and Pennsylvania, as per the latest revenue report obtained by Parents Defending Education. Notably, during the 2022-2023 academic year, most districts allocated $12,000 for annual membership fees to the DVCEE.

Dayna Muñiz, the co-director of the Coalition for Educational Equity at UPenn, confirmed in an email thread obtained by Parents Defending Education that Abington School District functions as the fiscal agent for DVCEE. The financial transactions, including school district membership fees and expenses for DVCEE services, are channeled through Abington School District. The specifics of how this financial responsibility was assumed by Abington School District remain unclear. However, it was noted that Tomea Sippio-Smith, the director of UPenn’s Coalition for Educational Equity, was a member of Abington School District’s Equitable Practices Committee.

DVCEE offers a range of services to school districts in the mid-Atlantic region, including the implementation of the “DVCEE Equity through Education Quality Review” program, initiated in the 2018-2019 school year. This program conducts a detailed assessment of equity within school districts based on the “Six Goals of Education Equity,” ultimately producing a comprehensive report for the district.

Dr. Robert Jarvis, the former Director of the UPenn Coalition for Education Equity, outlined the goals, objectives, and commitments in a document titled “Educational Equity In School District Policy and Action.” The core principle highlighted in the document emphasizes fairness and justice in resource allocation, removal of institutional barriers, and the promotion of equal academic and life outcomes for all students.

Furthermore, Abington School District’s dedication to equity was underscored in the “Superintendent’s Administrative Procedure” memo received by Parents Defending Education. The district took proactive steps by appointing a District Equity Officer and establishing a Committee for Equitable Practices, comprising educators, students, parents, administrators, as well as representatives from the NAACP and the Abington Township Police Department. This committee was tasked with various responsibilities, including analyzing district demographics, defining equity, reviewing district policies through an equity lens, and devising an equity action plan and policy for the school district.