June ushers in a season of celebrating freedom. For the culture we celebrate Juneteenth, Father’s Day, Black Music Appreciation and Pride Month. But as we begin to turn up the heat for summer fun, I’m here to let freedom ring.
Schools are out on summer break and it’s the perfect time to get real about promoting inclusion as equity work. At the end of summer, we’ll see more public schools preparing to revert back to the traditional way of doing school before the pandemic. Returning to 5 days a week, in-person learning with very, very strict policies on students in schools.
Sadly, parents are celebrating their kids returning to school not realizing that public schools house a lot of unsafe emotional, social and academic spaces for children of color. This imparts is due to a lack of focus on inclusion in equity work. As a teacher, I want to ensure stakeholders know what to look for in the public school's equity work.
Step one of knowing if your school district is truly invested in equity is seeing if the development/revision of the student discipline policies actually includes students who have been impacted by the current discipline policies and procedures.
Most likely we aren’t hearing the voices of the students who experience discrimination due to discipline policies. This level of inclusion isn’t happening in public schools, period.
Let’s begin to look at public schools' diversity and inclusion policies through a lens of social change vs school culture change.
School districts must be intentional about ensuring they don’t have surface-level policies on inclusion that simply check off the boxes. The true work of equity in public schools should call out mediocre policies lacking inclusion and then implement social change strategies that improve the way we teach, live or learn.
Subscribe to The Educators Voice (insert website link) and go to the “Promoting Inclusion is Equity Work” episode of the Speak Black Man podcast on the educational entities website, FB page or our YouTube Channel.