The focus on equity is essential for educators and I valued the opportunity to attend so many powerful sessions on this topic. One such session was presented by Dr. Pedro Noguera. I remember the first time I heard Dr. Noguera speak about equity. It was in 1996 when I worked in the Department of Professional Development in Baltimore County Public Schools. As I listened to Dr. Noguera today, I was saddened to think that after more than two decades, he is still addressing the same issues with us. The progress in creating equitable school experiences for ALL students has been limited. We can point to some improvement and there are definitely examples of schools that have made positive change. But a sustainable solution eludes us or does it?
The solution requires a focus on the barriers, which Dr. Noguera identified in this presentation. Essentially, those barriers focus on beliefs and attitudes. Our equity work requires us to change hearts and minds. Simple but never easy!
The piece of Dr. Noguera's presentation today that gave me the greatest hope today was an updated version of a graphic on equity.
The discussion has moved to recognizing the impact of privilege–the reality. We must be willing to tackle the social justice issues impacting the equity gaps in our schools. And in 2021, the voices demanding that we have these conversations have grown louder and the willingness to engage in these conversations is growing. That fills me with great hope! We must have these conversations, recognize our own part in contributing to the social injustice, and commit to making the necessary change or we will not reach the goal–that beautiful illustration of when the “barriers are gone.”
As always the National Conference on Education inspires me! I appreciate the new ideas as well as the validation of the work happening in my district and across the country! And as our first virtual National Conference of Education draws to a close, I am filled with hope!
Thank you, AASA!