- The Southern Education Foundation is looking for leaders interested in overseeing concrete changes to improve equity for a new fellowship offered through the Racial Equity Leadership Network, open to cabinet-level leaders across 13 southern states.
- District Administration reports between seven and 10 administrators will be selected for the network, after which they will attend a series of two-day events to identify equity issues in their districts, brainstorm solutions, and identify potential team members in their districts to move the projects forward.
- The Southern Education Foundation expects the leadership focus to increase capacity in districts that already have the will to improve equity — giving leaders support as well as time and space to strategize can be the boost they need to get new initiatives off the ground.
A strong focus on equity at the top of an organization can shape the culture all the way down to the classroom level. Disparities in academic outcomes and application of discipline have been tied back to biases by educators. While equity gaps are not created exclusively by schools and schools should not be alone in trying to solve them, equity initiatives by schools and districts can go a long way.
Restorative justice discipline models have replaced zero tolerance policies in many districts, limiting the number of suspensions and expulsions and therefore reducing the chances students will end up coming into contact with law enforcement and entering a downward cycle. A focus on equity in access to rigorous coursework has expanded racial and economic diversity in AP or IB courses, potentially setting more students up for success in college. The strategies for improving equity vary. Key to all of them, however, is strong leadership.