This article originally appeared on the Learning Policy Institute website an is reprinted with permission. The article was written by Maria E. Hyler, Desiree Carver-Thomas, Marjorie Wechsler, and Larkin Willis.
Decades of reforms have proven insufficient to address persistent racial disparities in educational opportunities. In school systems across the United States, meaningful efforts to ensure access to strong educational opportunities require a bold and significant shift. Policies and practice must not only prevent discrimination; they must move beyond simple notions of equality—in which every student gets the same—to equity—in which all students get what they need to develop academically, socially, emotionally, and physically.
School leaders who have been committed to racial equity understand the historical legacy of structural racism that reaches to our present context and that results in the educational opportunity gaps that students still experience. District staff who have focused on racial equity recognize that students’ individualized experiences, opportunities, and successes in school are deeply contextualized in the social reality of institutionalized racism across the United States. They seek to educate the individuals and ameliorate the systems that perpetuate inequitable opportunities and resulting outcomes for students.
This article originally appeared on the EdPepLab blog and is reprinted with permission.
As U.S. schools closed their doors this past spring in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a little-considered effect was the impact of school closures on the preparation of the next generation of educators. Teacher and leader candidates all over the country had their field experiences abruptly cut short, and educator preparation programs (EPPs)—in partnership with school districts and state education agencies—had to adapt quickly to ensure candidates continued to receive high-quality preparation and were able to complete their licensure requirements.
As districts begin to enact school opening plans, EPPs are building off of lessons learned from the spring as they engage candidates in equity-centered, deeper learning preparation. LPI has been in discussion with members of EdPrepLab—a network of programs working to continuously improve and share their practices—to better understand how they’re responding to this unusual time. Three themes have emerged as guiding their strategy and practices moving forward:
- Focusing on core program strengths
- Shifting from crisis mode toward innovation
- Capitalizing on innovations to strengthen educator preparation after COVID-19
On November 14, I had the privilege of moderating the first in a series of webinars produced through a partnership of AACTE and the Educator Preparation Laboratory (EdPrepLab). This webinar, “Social and Emotional Learning, Cultural Competence, and Equity in Teacher Preparation,” will be followed by three others focusing on transformative research and practice in educator preparation.
Joining me for the webinar were Nancy Markowitz of the Center for Reaching and Teaching the Whole Child, Patty Swanson from San Jose State University, Pat Norman from Trinity University, and Mari Jones from the HighTech High Graduate School of Education.
Both Trinity and High Tech High, where Norman and Jones teach, are members of the EdPrepLab network. EdPrepLab, which launched this year, is an initiative of the Learning Policy Institute and the Bank Street College of Education that aims to strengthen educator preparation in the United States by linking research, policy, and practice and by supporting and expanding preparation that is equity-focused, student-centered, and grounded in the science of learning and development.