Our Commitment to Equity and Antiracism
The current education system is broken—promising limitless possibilities while perpetuating deep inequities. We believe in an anti-racist education that equips every child with the knowledge, skills, and passion to create a more equitable and just world.
We partner with educators in schools and districts who are committed in word and deed to high-quality education and equitable excellent outcomes for all students. By aligning on a shared vision focused on three dimensions of student achievement—mastery of knowledge and skills, character, and high-quality student work—we honor students’ full humanity.
We embrace a vision of education as a powerful engine for disrupting structural racism, and fulfilling our nation’s promise of equal opportunity for all. Educational equity means that all children experience:
- Instruction that challenges, engages, and empowers learners
- Access to standards-based, content-rich, culturally affirming curriculum
- Explicit anti-racist discussion, practice, and action
- School culture that fosters positive identity, belonging, agency, and purpose
We want to be clear about our language: the words that we use are important because they allow us to build shared understanding. Diversity means cultivating a wide representation of people, ideas, processes, and experiences. Equity recognizes that we are born into unequal and unjust circumstances—and these factors should not predict our ability to fail or succeed. Inclusion means creating the conditions that foster belonging—harnessing what makes us unique to strengthen our community and amplify our impact. Excellence is defined as transformational impact in EL Education’s Dimensions of Student Achievement. Anti-racism means taking an explicit stand against racism. We subscribe to author Ibram X. Kendi’s definition: “One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist. There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist’”.
We commit to:
- Examining how racism lives in each of us as individuals, and in the fabric of our organization and its policies, culture, and traditions
- Holding ourselves accountable to equitable and excellent outcomes in the schools and districts with which we work
- Holding ourselves accountable by providing consistent, transparent, and candid reviews to our staff, Board, and partners on our DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) strategies and commitments
- Educating ourselves and taking action over time to grow as an anti-racist organization
We come to this task with deep humility, knowing that we have much to learn. We look to the anti-racist educators in our midst for guidance. We also draw on our organization’s roots in an education philosophy profoundly dedicated to the power of student resiliency, agency, and leadership for social justice. Finally, we are grateful to learn every day from courageous students, teachers, principals, and district leaders doing this work in their communities and schools across the United States.
Keep learning with us.
Actions We are Taking Now
The crisis we are facing today has added urgency and specificity to a multi-year DEI planning process that we began last year. In the next six months:
We will take action to build our internal capacity:
- Launch an organization-wide Staff Development Plan with common texts at the center (including Unconscious Bias in Schools).
- Hold training for staff led by both EL’s internal DEI team and external experts.
- Increase skills of supervisors in leading diverse teams and managing for racial equity.
- Create a Student Advisory Council to help guide our work.
Convene a panel of teachers, leaders, parents, and students to review all of the topics and texts in the EL Education K-5 Language Arts Curriculum for cultural relevance, and prioritize areas for change.
And continue to strengthen our work with school and district partners:
- Include an anti-discrimination policy in all partner contracts.
- Complete all phases of the guidance, Reopening: Moving Toward More Equitable Schools, which includes tools for schools to use to track progress toward equitable outcomes.
- Create the EL Education Flex Curriculum 2020-2021 and additional Remote Learning Resources to ensure that all students have access to high-quality instructional materials.
- Incorporate specific methods for more integration of cultural and social identity development into “Crew,” our advisory structure.