The MASCD board has decided to focus the organization’s work throughout the 2020-21 school year on equity. In its simplest definition, equity means fairness. Equity and fairness in education is anchored in a commitment to anti-racist and inclusive practices and policies. Equity and fairness in education means all students are provided with the resources and the environment they need to be healthy, safe, challenged, supported, and engaged. We will use our platform and our network to facilitate conversations and learning opportunities about how to expand equity in education.
On July 20th, MASCD hosted a powerful webinar on how to work for racial equity in Massachusetts schools, and 117 people joined us. The large turnout speaks to the strong desire educators have to learn together about how to create and maintain anti-racist schools where all our students can thrive.
It was particularly impressive to see with how open and honest the panelists were - how willing they were to acknowledge that they do not always know exactly what to do or how to do it. But all of them shared a clear vision of the importance of making an explicit commitment to being anti-racist, engaging in conversations about racism with students, parents, and the community, and intentionally disrupting racist practices and policies.
Here are some of the key strategies that came up in the discussion:
o Conduct equity audits of your curriculum to see who is being represented, and who is not being represented. And then make necessary changes.
o Identify the competencies students need, at different developmental levels, to work for racial justice.
o Articulate a scope and sequence for anti-racist learning to ensure the same consistency across K12 that we expect for any other subject.
o Analyze data through the lens of racial equity.
o Acknowledge what you do not know and commit to learning.
o Create book studies for educators to learn together about anti-racist practices.
o Learn to be comfortable with discomfort.
o Build networks with other anti-racist educators to support you in your work. Find accountability partners who will help push you in your work.
o Acknowledge past and present racism, and the harm students of color have experienced.
o Create the space for students of color to discuss their frustration and anger. Listen.
o Be non-defensive.
o Be brave.
We are so grateful to our panelists who generously shared their experiences, insights, and strategies for how to advance the work of anti-racist education:
Massachusetts school leaders Dr. Michael Morris, Superintendent for Amherst-Pelham; Dr. Marilyn Tencza, Superintendent for Leicester; Dr. Peter J. Cushing, Assistant Superintendent for Medford; Dr. Henry Turner, Principal for Newton North High School; Julie Vincentsen, Principal for Hanscom Primary School in Lincoln; and Craig Martin, MASCD Board member and school leader; and our colleagues from other states who helped broaden our perspectives: Dr. Neil Gupta, Vice President for ASCD; Michelle Moore, public education advocate; and Dennis Griffin, Jr., school leader. And many thanks to our excellent moderators who guided the conversation so skillfully: MASCD President-Elect Matthew X. Joseph and Hedreich Nichols.
MASCD is committed to listening, learning, and facilitating conversations and events around racism and equity in education. This past June, we had the pleasure of gathering panelists from across the country in an online webinar to discuss racism and how to work towards towards equity in our education system. Please watch this powerful discussion and check back to learn about more upcoming events this year.
"This was an outstanding event. So honored to hear these passionate voices and learn."
"WOW! This was an AMAZINGLY inspiring, motivating, and thought provoking event. I can't say thank you enough. I look forward to many many more events/conversations!!!"