Educators are not only the guides for the academic potential of students, but also nurture the social emotional health, success, and equity within school communities and beyond. To promote equity in education, it is crucial that educators can meet the needs of students beyond their academic goals, which requires being attuned to students’ diverse backgrounds and unique experiences. When educators build this important cultural competence and become advocates and supporters for students and their communities, schools take one step closer to equity in education.
Equality vs. Equity
In order to take steps toward equity in education, it’s important to first understand what equity is. Equity refers to fairness and equality in outcomes by working to overcome the historical legacy of discrimination, marginalization, and underinvestment that disadvantages specific groups of people. In contrast to equality––which focuses on treating everyone the same, regardless of difference in attributes and opportunity––equity requires differentiated support for every student based on their specific experience.
What is Implicit Bias?
People don’t always express their subconscious thoughts or actively notice the ways they automatically perceive those around them. When people respond with different attitudes or stereotypes unconsciously, this reaction is considered to be implicit bias. Implicit bias occurs when someone is unwilling or unable to see the prejudices they have and is often in contradiction of a person’s exposed beliefs and values. Educators who truly wish the best for every one of their students may still struggle with implicit biases based on students’ race, economic status, or abilities. To promote equity in education, it is important for educators to identify their personal implicit biases and actively work to remove these biases from the classroom. Find out if you have implicit biases by taking a Project Implicit bias test.
How to Practice Anti-Racism
Anti-racism is the beliefs, actions, movements, and policies adopted or developed to oppose racism, and acts as a critical component of equity in education. Behaviors that are anti-racist accept the notion that racism is deeply established in society due to historical, social, and institutional intricacies that manufacture racial ideology, but actively work against racism with these complexities in mind. Educators should bring anti-racism into their classroom every day, admonishing covertly racist situations––such as those caused by implicit bias––and words just as often as those that are overtly––or openly––racist. Most importantly, educators should practice anti-racism by educating students about the historical and institutional foundations of racism and racial ideology, creating students who are good stewards of anti-racism themselves.
Equity in Education is a Community Effort
To promote equity in education, everyone in the school community must work together to disrupt implicit biases and practice anti-racism. Equity and social justice are strongly supported by social emotional learning, which helps instill cultural competence in students and educators. The 7 Mindsets portal includes a plethora of resources for educators and students on topics such as equity, implicit bias, micro-aggression and much more. 7 Mindsets’ commitment to equity includes online and in personal professional development, K-12 courses, and thousands of resources to help build the social emotional health of educators and students and promote equity and cultural competence in our schools and communities.
Want to learn more? Contact Us