If we cannot own our contribution to students' underperformance, we cannot change our agency in providing better outcomes for the students waiting for us in September.
For our classrooms to improve, our systems have to engage in professional learning that is deep enough, wide enough and aligned enough so that teachers leave feeling more prepared than ever to deal with the complexities that our children bring into the classroom.
The equitable classroom is a classroom that is connected to the lives of black and brown students, Where there is no equity, there is not a jagged and at times circular path forward, but just a flat, one-size fits none learning experience that is facilitated by a novice in content and does not take into account the needs and opportunities for scaffolding and enrichment inherent in our children.
Teachers have the power to change the instructional culture of the classroom so that students get used to a quality learning experience that they do not have to pay for, benefit from and recommend to other people.
If all of this conversation does not lead to action, then it is for naught. Actions have to follow our words, or our words will be the epitaphs that children can write on their failed educational careers—"at least they talked about helping us."
we cannot practice equity principles without first shifting our approach to building expertise in content, curricula and children.
How we expect black and brown children to behave, perform and persist through trauma has to change.
Just as there were shifts in teaching that were brought on by the adoption of the Common Core, there are shifts that need to take place in our school communities in order to cultivate an environment of equity where the practices are not superficial—but deep and purposeful.
In that vein, teachers can best partner with students to build academic muscle by knowing their content well, preparing lessons with multiple opportunities for students to create and revise meaning as well as assessing, giving feedback and then re-assessing student work (within the lesson).
We are not weak at asking questions of our black and brown students. We might need to be stronger at answering their questions before they do better on ours.