Giving Compass’ Take:
• Data was the first step for the city of Baltimore – they identified racist school resource allocation – but now to fix it they must go into communities and change things.
• How can data continue to inform Baltimore’s work? How has philanthropy contributed to inequitable distribution of resources?
• School segregation is still rampant in the United States. Memphis is more segregated today than it was 50 years ago.
Sonja Brookins Santelises, the CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools, sent a message to the teachers, principals, system leaders and non-profit professionals in the audience at her keynote on Wednesday: improvement science must be used in the context of a community’s individuals. It’s not about “fairy dust” or “easy answers.”
Santelises’ district, Baltimore City Public Schools, has faced a number of challenges, including low performance and heating issues. To turn those stories around, Santelises says that educators must take equity “out of the box of a philosophical, intellectual dialogue” and apply it to their everyday work.
As the educators mapped their own practices by creating a “community conditions index” that showed which areas in Baltimore received, say, more gifted and talented programs, they found to their dismay that the school system was reinforcing the old redlining practices. In response, Santelises and her team now look at their major initiatives and investments through that equity lense.
In addition to implementing equity in everyday work, Santelises also believes educators should tie improvement science with engaging young people and their communities.
“If we, as educators, and those who support educators, are going to move to the next wave of improvement, we have got to do it grounded in the knowledge that we’re doing this work with communities, not to communities,” she said.
Read the full article on equity in education by Tina Nazerian at EdSurge
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