Langford focusing on equity, looking to close achievement gap among ethnic groups in Des Moines.
Dionna Langford is running unopposed for re-election to the District 2 seat on the Des Moines School Board.
“I’m focused on equity in our district,” Langford said. “We have an incredibly diverse district, and with that you see different subgroups achieving differently. Our black students have twice the dropout rate of white students, and we need to do what we can to fix problems like that.”
Langford has been on the forefront of social work, both on the board and outside of it. She served as an AmeriCorps member with Public Allies with the Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families (Des Moines Register) and continues to work in the Connect 2 Careers program at the Children and Families of Iowa.
She has also been inspirationally adamant about racial inequalities in Iowa and how that impacts people all over the state in every realm of life. Earlier this year, she was part of a movement on the schoolboard to embrace Black Lives Matter (BLM) and to continue this conversation. They ordered and wore BLM t-shirts that Langford said raised a lot of discussion on the topic.
With diversity in the district, and a growing number of English learners coming in, Langford knows there are steps that need to be taken in order to ensure actual equal opportunity in Des Moines schools. After a recent decision on DACA by President Trump, Langford foresees major drawbacks.
“As a board we made a strong statement against the decision,” Langford said. “For me personally, I think it’s devastating and hard to combat. This is the type of rhetoric we’ve seen used out of fear and it has major impacts on the cultural climate of our country.”
The climate of our country is changing, according to Langford. Things are becoming more hostile and the board is taking measures to ensure that every student has the same chances here in Des Moines.
Langford said that a top priority in response to this is to make sure that families within the school system know that their child has a place and a right to an education.
Langford is finishing her first term on the board and will be re-elected for her second, barring an unlikely turn of events involving a write-in candidate. She is from Des Moines and attended East High School.
Both in her campaign and in her work on the board, Langford’s top priorities have been work on the achievement gap in Des Moines, ensuring equity in every student’s experience in the public-school system and to helping facilitate community collaborations to support the schools and students within.
School board elections are Sept. 12th and polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. See this website to find out where you can vote.