The Board’s Role in Equity

The Board’s Role in Equity

Educational equity is an issue in every school district and one that every board should be focused on addressing. One of the most common misconceptions about equity is that gaps in opportunity only exist in certain areas or among certain demographic groups. Educational equity is not just an issue for urban or racially and ethnically diverse areas, nor is it only an issue for large districts or districts from certain geographic regions. The first step in moving your district towards equity is coming to agreement around some foundational premises which signal that your district is ready to pursue educational equity.

  1. Student achievement and positive student outcomes must be the central focus of the work of school boards.
  2. Opportunity gaps exist in every school and in every district.
  3. School boards are responsible for setting the expectations and making decisions that support educators in closing opportunity gaps.
  4. School boards must have trusting and collaborative relationships with the many communities they serve to be successful in these endeavors and model this for district staff.
  5. Educational equity is an ongoing journey, not a fixed destination.

Accepting that boards are responsible for student outcomes, that inequities that impact student outcomes exist and that boards have a key role in identifying and addressing those inequities, is necessary to move forward.

So, too, is the acknowledgment that equity work is not something we do for or to our communities, but rather something we pursue alongside them. Families, communities and, yes, students need to be part of the process.

Finally, the pursuit of educational equity requires ongoing commitment to look at and do things differently. It is not a one-time program or event, but a way of operating that requires ongoing evaluation and adjustment. If you, your board or your leadership team struggle to come to an agreement with these premises, you may want to start here. Without agreement on these foundations, you risk falling short of your goal to see every child succeed.

Additional Information

Foundational Premises of Educational Equity Infographic 2020