A McKinsey & Co. study on the impact of COVID-19 has told the nation that “the pandemic has set back learning for all students, but especially for students of color.” This, the study goes on to say, offers a terrible, bleak outlook for these children: “Along with robbing them of lives and livelihoods, school shutdowns could deny students from these communities the opportunity to get the education they need to build a brighter future.”
In response, the study calls for a full press of sweeping actions — everything from new moonshot initiatives to doubling down on evidence-based programming, such as expanded learning time, high-intensity tutoring and acceleration over remediation.
As a Black educator-activist, I ask all those in a position to implement such measures to consider the following before you begin.
This widened achievement gap reflects the chasm between the ability of teachers and school leaders and the potential of children of color. The root cause is not the pandemic, but instead the pre-existing racism endemic. The pandemic has only further exposed the failure of schools to create educational experiences that are worthy of and trustworthy for students of color and their families.
If your school doesn’t have any Black teachers, or has too few, do the hard work to recruit and retain them. Consider the innovations and evidence-based solutions for increasing teacher diversity and strengthening the Black teacher pipeline. The Center for Black Educator Development was designed for their discovery and promotion.
Here are some ways schools can take action and demonstrate a commitment to anti-racism that is essential for reducing pandemic learning loss:
- Invest in Black teachers
- Get in the right mindset (and heartset)
- Recognize and leverage the ways children learn outside of school
- Track your progress in creating anti-racist schools where Black and brown children thrive
- Educate yourself. Know our collective history
Read the full article about teacher diversity by Sharif El-Mekki at The 74.
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