Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The importance of anti-bias work in education

New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, who has been clear in his prioritization of equity in the school system since he came in, this week called anti-bias work "a matter of life and death."
Referencing rhetoric from federal and local officials “that students are hearing all the time about who they are, where they come from, what their parents are,” Carranza suggested students are internalizing harmful messages.
“So, the idea of implicit bias training, the idea of having culturally responsive and sustaining curricula and pedagogy is not a matter of just educational practice,” he said. “In many of our communities, it’s a matter of life and death.”
Carranza’s comments are striking because they underscore his belief that those policies will have dramatic ripple effects in students’ lives.
This article on how the work was approached in the Gardner Pilot Academy in Boston from the latest issue of Teaching Tolerance magazine is, I think, a good insight into it:
Mann and Wilkerson immediately recognized that other members of the school community needed access to these conversations. But while Dialogues on Race and Ethnicity represented a great opportunity, the six evening meetings were often late. For those who could not find childcare or who worked late hours, opportunities for access were limited. So Mann and Wilkerson considered their options. Instead of leaving with an answer, Wilkerson says, they left the program with a question:
“Why don’t we make it our first goal to figure out what the community needs?”
So, in conjunction with the equity-focused management consulting firm Kingston Bay Group, Mann and Wilkerson developed an audit to get feedback on how the school was doing on the equity front. They solicited the views not just of teachers but also of paraprofessionals, students and families.
It's hard to find a framing quote: please go read it all! 

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