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"When Equity Ain't Enough"

Leading for Anti-Racism in Schools

Race is the first thing we see, but often the last thing we talk about- even in schools. For many the conversation is too uncomfortable. What could we accomplish for students of color if we had the courage to not only speak about race, but lead through an anti-racist (as opposed to an equity) lens?

Dr. Tracey A. Benson, author of Unconscious Bias in Schools: A Developmental Approach to Exploring Race and Racism was joined in conversation with participants of our flagship program, the Anti-Racism Leadership Institute, as they shared more about their journeys to become anti-racist education leaders ensuring equity and better outcomes for black and brown students.

The conversation featured Kim Swain, Assistant Superintendent, Sudbury Public Schools and Jacob Ramirez, Instructional Coach, Cloverdale Unified School District.

Important takeaways include:

  • "Achievement gap" is not the preferred term. Rather "outcomes gap" is more accurate because it puts the responsibility on the systems and not the students to generate equity.

  • Sometimes you have to tear down your safe space to make room for productive conversations. In doing so we often find that the consequences are not as bad as we assumed they will be.

  • We often assume we know the reasons for our "gaps" or outcomes. But do we actually have data to support our theories?

  • We have to lead beyond equity because the inequities are of a racial nature- that is where the fissures are in the systems that are leading to disparate outcomes. If we do not specifically name the issues we cannot specifically address it.

Take Action Now

Here are the two things you can do today:

  1. Take stock of your current equity or anti-racist practices/ initiatives. How are students being positively affected? What's in it for students?

  2. Now consider, how do you know students are positively affected by this? Are you measuring the affect/outcome or are you simply speculating?

Learn More

Learn more about our organization, the Anti-Racism Leadership Institute led by Tracey A. Benson Consulting and upcoming opportunities to participate in our flagship program to create better outcomes for historically marginalized students.

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