At Education Pioneers, we prioritize talking about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) throughout the year. DEI is one of our core values and a primary category of our blog. DEI is the work we do, the experiences we have, the organization we want to be, and the world we want to live in. It isn’t just our core mission—DEI is personal, challenging, and institutional. One aspect of DEI is for all of us to have a rich understanding of our national history, and especially black history which is too often overlooked, marginalized, or relegated to only being discussed in February.
Several years ago, I was at a big Education Pioneers networking event in Chicago when I felt a strong presence near me. I turned to see a friendly face that I hadn’t seen for over 15 years. “Tshilumba!” I called out with joy. I was reunited with one of the 20 seniors I taught as a first-year teacher at St. Jude High School in Montgomery, Alabama. Since then, Tshilumba had gone on to receive several degrees, worked as an engineer and group leader at Kraft Foods, and launched a promising career in education. (As a Broad Resident at Chicago Public Schools, he worked with a number of Education...
Paris Woods is just getting started. As a low-income student attending St. Louis public schools, Paris overcame steep odds to succeed. And along the way, she grew more and more determined to change the system for other kids like her.
An EP colleague reminded our team recently that Monday’s holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. isn’t a day off. Instead, it’s a “day on” to serve in remembrance of the leadership and legacy of one of our nation’s greatest heroes. In the all-too-recent past, we’ve seen countless examples of racial and systemic injustice—the same kind of injustices that Dr. King spoke out against over 50 years ago. As Dr. King reminded us all then, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” We cannot be silent. In that spirit,...
D’Artagnan Scorza is the definition of a hero—even though he’d likely never agree with that title. When the Twin Towers fell on 9/11, in response to that terrible, defining moment, D’Artagnan left college to enlist in the U.S. Navy. And ever since he returned from Iraq, he has been working to transform his community, for it was his community that first transformed him.
There’s an important piece of our work that we’re not getting right as education leaders: our intentions to bring all voices to the table are falling flat, especially the critical voices and perspectives of leaders who reflect the racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse communities where we work. So in Boston, we put a plan in place to help others get started in building more powerful, diverse teams. Here's what we did.
Missouri was recently called the “heart of racial tension in America.” After the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson in August 2014 and the recent events on the campus of the University of Missouri, that title isn’t undeserved. But what’s happening at Mizzou—incidents of racism and bigotry—and what university leaders are doing (or not doing) about it sound eerily familiar.
America is at an inflection point about race. But do we realize it? The events happening at the University of Missouri are bringing the discussion—and experience—of race, racism, and inequity to a head. But instead of engaging in that discussion, too often, we’re turning away from it. As we grapple with how to create organizations, institutions, and schools that serve all students equitably, we must have effective and meaningful strategies for diversity, equity, and inclusion that meet the needs of the students that they’re designed to serve.
I recently heard an apt analogy* for diversity, equity, and inclusion work: that it’s akin to good dental hygiene. To take care of your teeth, you brush and floss daily, and go to the dentist regularly. Similarly, for diversity, equity, and inclusion work to be successful and meaningful, it must be an ongoing and daily practice. In the leadership development training our EP Fellows receive, we talk a lot about diversity, equity, and inclusion. In the spirit of helping more people get started, I want to share some of the resources we’ve used in our curriculum.
Education is a tough business. Teachers, principals, and schools are tasked with preparing our children to thrive for the rest of their lives, wherever their paths may take them. No small or easy task, that’s for sure. To help prepare our kids to be great citizens and the global leaders of tomorrow, diverse classrooms and schools can help us get there.