By Patrick Britton
On December 5, 2019, Bright Morning President, Elena Aguilar and Senior Associate Jessie Cordova discussed steps to building equitable schools and classrooms.
During the course of this powerful discussion, framed as a question and answer session, Elena and Jessie shared insights on ways to more deeply engage in the work of dismantling inequity and building a brighter future for all of our children.
Here are my top four quotes from this robust and energizing conversation:
“Equity is unblocked access and practice.”
A definition is a critical starting place on the work of equity. In this webinar, Jessie noted, “equity is unblocked access and practice.” This looks like allowing students to be their full selves and to be able to practice – to try, to fail, to explore, and to find opportunities to engage with the wider world.
“Show me your budget, and I can tell you what you prioritize.”
Jessie noted, “Equity doesn’t have a price tag” and funding shouldn’t limit the work of equity…and at the same time, there is a practical aspect where budget concerns are necessary to access curricula, bring in trainers, and more.
“People do not fear change, they fear loss.”
Citing the book leadership on the line, Jessie shared how our relationship to change relates intimately to the work of building equity. The drive to build more equitable schools and classrooms is often new for individual educators and schools. It requires behavioral changes from individuals and organizations – and often individuals can stall changes because they feel that what they’ve done previously has worked. However, Jessie shared that individuals often “just look at what [they] stand to lose – let’s instead look at what [they] stand to gain.”
Elena followed up by sharing the need for an intentional theory of change and a theory of action where change is concerned. She noted that urgency is important, but it must be balanced by purpose.
“[What if…] we built a world that we want to have and a space where everyone’s dignity is honored.”
Jessie and Elena engaged in a discussion of how the pursuit of equity often feels like oppression to people of privilege. Jessie noted that while white people need to buy into this work, it is important not to wait indefinitely. Our children simply can’t afford to wait – and we must have purpose to match our urgency.
This summary barely scratches the surface of what was a lengthy and stimulating discussion. Check out the full video here – it will be available until December 16, 2019
In addition to the replay, we encourage you to check out the following resources mentioned in the discussion:
- Bettina Love – We Want To Do More Than Survive
- Chip and Dan Heath – Switch
- Marty Linsky and Ronald Heifetz – Leadership On The Line
- Robin DeAngelo – White Fragility
Disclosure: The links to the books mentioned above are affiliate links, meaning Bright Morning will receive a commission should you click on them and choose to purchase.