Remote and hybrid learning are exposing and exacerbating inequities in our educational system. Traditional school systems were designed to sort and segment learners, finding ways to identify who had the most academic aptitude by teaching to standards and administering tests. These systems and the structures, policies, and pedagogies that support them do not take into consideration the diverse needs of learners, and they both perpetuate and cause inequities among students. Equity, or ensuring that each learner has what they specifically need to succeed or gain access to resources and opportunities, cannot be ensured through reactive efforts. It will take proactive efforts to dismantle and rebuild systems that do not meet the needs of our learners.
Commit your LEA to an ongoing effort to improve equity by dedicating time for reflection and awareness building, leveraging data to clarify existing issues and drive the conversation, and by developing specific plans for teaching diverse learners.
Taking the time and effort needed to stop and ask questions which can bring about the awareness needed for change.
Tools for Planning and Designing for Equity
Tools for Conducting Discussions about Equity
Tools for Self-Reflection about Equity
LEAs have more information to guide them in their equity journey than they first imagine. Powerful insights can be gained from both academic and operational data. Taking a look at systems, policies, practices, and behaviors will help you understand where you are and where you need to grow.
Once you identify equity gaps in the system, you can collect the data you need to allow you to reflect on the conditions that create and perpetuate them before you move forward with concrete steps for interrupting inequities. Follow these four steps for collecting and analyzing useful data.
Every learner brings unique context, background, and needs to the learning environment. Historically these backgrounds have not always been recognized as assets, making young people often ashamed of their heritage language and culture. However, there is evidence that culturally relevant teaching promotes academic achievement and engagement. Altering instructional methods to promote equity can benefit students in multiple ways.