- Annual equity reports in Washington, DC, implicit bias training for state education agency employees in Vermont and Wisconsin, and “equity specialists” who work with teachers in Minnesota are just a few of the practices highlighted in a new report on states’ efforts to improve equity.
- Released today by America’s Promise Alliance, The Aspen Institute’s Education and Society Program, and the Council of Chief State School Officers, the report notes some of the steps that states have taken since chiefs, civil rights leaders, educators and advocates met in July 2016 to make commitments to improving educational equity.
- “We recognize the journey toward educational equity is a long and arduous one, but it is an important and necessary journey that will define the course of our nation,” the report’s authors write, noting that the practices, policies and other efforts highlighted are not meant to advocate for specific models, but instead to document the work completed so far.
While the report focuses on state-level efforts, the ideas presented can also inspire school and district leaders to examine their own practices and structures from an equity perspective. Local district leaders can also influence state officials as they work to design education report cards or make policies regarding improving opportunities for underserved students. For example, in Illinois, after hearing from multiple school and community representatives, the state created IL-EMPOWER, a school improvement plan that allows districts to choose from 30 different providers to focus on the areas where they need the most support. Previously, only one provider was offered.
Using some of the ideas in the report, school leaders can also look at issues such as family engagement, early learning opportunities, teacher recruitment, curriculum materials and technology access in their own districts. The report recommends that state leaders “find common ground with local superintendents, local school board members, and other leaders to make sure all actors recognize their power and responsibility to advance equity.”