From the Blog

It’s Time to Check Your Equity Pulse

by Christina Horner 

A school’s educational equity statement should be more than just words. Educational equity should be at the heart of what all schools say and do. If your school is truly committed to educational equity, it will be evident in what you see, hear, and feel in every aspect of school life. In humans, a simple check of the pulse provides vital information on how well the heart is functioning. If the pulse is irregular, it’s an indicator that the heart isn’t functioning properly and this can negatively impact other parts of the body, as well. The same holds true with how a school actualizes its commitment to educational equity. When was the last time you checked your school’s equity pulse?

If you are experiencing frequent episodes of unexplained failures, or if students, families, and community members feel distrustful of your school and teachers, an equity pulse check is long overdue.

Checking your equity pulse in three important areas—staff, professional development, and community engagement—is an important step in determining your baseline and recognizing any abnormalities. Is there a prevailing mindset that teachers believe families in your school do not care about their children’s education? Do teachers or administrators stay silent when they witness implicit or explicit prejudicial or harmful language and actions? Does the curriculum fail to confront the history of systemic racism? Are discipline and academic outcomes disproportionate? If you cannot provide a resounding “no” to all of these questions, then it’s time to check your school’s equity pulse. Failure to do so should be considered educational malpractice.

To get the most accurate reading of your equity pulse, it is important to assemble a diverse group of stakeholders: students, staff, teachers, administrators, caregivers, office staff, and community partners. Schools who fail to engage in corrective action without actively involving stakeholders are more likely to misdiagnose and improperly treat inequities. Thus contributing to a vicious cycle that inevitably leads to future disparities in educational attainment beyond high school: wealth gaps, health disparities, increased involvement in the criminal justice system, and more.

How to Take Your School’s Equity Pulse

Our equity pulse check requires stakeholders to engage in uncomfortable yet desperately needed conversations about race, racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion. If stakeholders do not reflect on and honestly share their experiences, as well as their hopes and dreams for their students, it is impossible to work collaboratively to identify priorities and an educational equity treatment plan that will lead to just outcomes for all students.

Click the button below to check your equity pulse: