Reconstructing traditional signs of disruption from black and brown students as entry-ways into better serving them is an equity move.
If we do not build an infrastructure around the inherent worth of black and brown students, which will benefit all students, how can they be assured of receiving a quality education?
I hope you do see color, and that you establish an environment where nobody has to tiptoe around racial or difficult topics, and that you can work with the students and adults you see every day to bring equity and understanding to every individual in your school.
Equity is not measured in how many conferences we attend, books we read or posters we display in our classrooms; it must be measured by its reflection in our practice.
If we do not own our role, we cannot create the change.
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."