Diverse leadership teams bring tremendous value across organizations and industries. However, there is much work to be done when it comes to education organizations’ abilities to attract, develop, and retain leaders of color.
Koya Leadership Partners and Education Pioneers developed From Intention to Action: Building Diverse, Inclusive Teams in Education to Deepen Impact to help translate these well-intentioned beliefs about the importance of diversity into actionable practices.
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Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Education Reform
by Stacey Childress
Great schools matter for kids. I believe they are the most powerful force we have for reducing economic and social inequality in the United States over the long run. But it’s a mistake to work on “fixing” schools while ignoring the conditions and beliefs that make it possible for chronically underperforming schools to persist in the first place. Or the crushing realities they perpetuate in communities across the country.
Our work to improve schools will be stronger if we acknowledge and speak up about the interdependencies with other issues that affect young people and their communities. Earlier this fall, a couple of weeks after unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot dead in Ferguson, our team at NewSchools used a standing all-staff meeting to talk in small groups about what had happened. Our team is not as diverse as it should be, or will be, but we tried to bring our differences to bear as we struggled to make sense of the story coming out of Ferguson. For some of us it was tough to find the right words. We tried in good faith to connect it to the work we do to support entrepreneurs working to improve schools.
Andy Smarick: D.C.’s Outstanding and Improving Charter School Sector
Strong Charter Accountability in D.C.
I recently wrote about exciting new charter school results in Washington, D.C.. More kids are in high-performing charters, the number of high-performing charters is growing, and the number of struggling charters is shrinking.
For lots of reasons; D.C. has great
D.C.’s Outstanding and Improving Charter School Sector
As my Bellwether colleague (and D.C. Public Charter School Board member) Sara Mead wrote last week, newinformation on the performance of the Washington, D.C. charter school sector is extremely encouraging. And while the strong and improving achievement scores are terrific news for kids and families in the city, they also offer even more reason to believe that chartering—if done smartly—can replace the district system for delivering public education in America’s cities.
At this year’s Summit, 205 organizations, including NewSchools, committed to enhancing diversity in their leadership ranks. As we reflected on our stories of action, we realized how challenging the work can be and how much we all can benefit from sharing ideas, questions, steps taken and lessons learned with others in the field. We encourage you to browse our and other organization’s stories of action below and hope it will inspire you to submit your own.
Do you have diversity work to share? Let us know using #DiversifyEd! Tweet #DiversifyEd
UTRU Prepares Teachers from Diverse BackgroundsSchool districts that serve children in high-need communities need well-prepared, effective, and diverse educators who are ready to teach on day one. Urban Teacher Residency United launches and supports programs that prepare new teachers who themselves come from diverse racial, economic and experience backgrounds. Our programs provide the practical learning, the hands-on experience and the support network teachers need to be effective right away. Through excellent teaching, students can experience academic success.
New Urban Learning Builds College Partnership for TeachersConcerned with the number of African American certified male teachers in our organization, and by the challenges faced by those seeking certification, we partnered with a local university to train and certify our teachers. While we’ve started small, our hope is to continually improve access to certification for more and more teachers of color, including supporting non-traditional individuals interested in education obtain certification.
Teach for America Launched Dream. Rise. Do.Recognizing that African American men make up only 2% of the nation’s teachers, we launched Dream. Rise. Do. (DRD) to bring awareness to the need for more! We launched www.dreamrisedo.org, securing 20K pledges agreeing that 2% is not enough. Through DRD we will increase the number of black male teachers in the nation’s classrooms. We will build a coalition of organizations that will work together to secure more black male teachers.
NewSchools Invests in Fellowship for Race & Equity in Education (FREE)NewSchools invested in Michelle Molitor & her new organization FREE, which was founded to facilitate discussions about the effects of systemic racism on our schools. Michelle believes “the most dangerous conversation about race is the one we’re not having as an education community.” Through FREE, she will work with people and organizations to create learning communities that bridge difference and build confidence in talking about race so as to live, learn, and act in a democracy together.
Ripple Effects Releases New Version of Race/Racism TutorialWe updated our professional development software which helps teachers address race as a social construct, and how racism can be approached as a problem without blame or shame. Our aim is to create a safe space for educators to reflect on race and racism and enable them to risk deeper levels of self-honesty, an important first step in creating needed dialogue. We are also actively searching for leaders of color to join […]
Charter Board Partners is Building Awareness that Diverse Charter Boards are Better BoardsRaël N. James, CBP’s recruiting director is leading a national awareness effort on board diversity based on our belief that diverse boards are better boards. Board member Michael Pickrum is helping us identify & connect with high profile people of color to encourage them to join boards & support charters. In the past year, our DC board candidate network increased from 26% to 36% people of color, & 54% that we matched to boards were people of color.
Axis Talent Partners Pledge to DiversityAs education practitioners, our team has long been fueled by a deep commitment to diversity & equity, something we had yet to articulate publicly. Inspired by the conversation at Summit 2014, we’ve reflected this in our values statement (link). We’re proud to work with smaller districts & independent charter schools throughout the country identifying and hiring talented leaders of color. We’ll continue introducing our clients to candidates who represent diversity on multiple levels.
NewSchools Changes the Room at Summit 2014We enlisted partner organizations to help identify more black and Latino participants and speakers at Summit. 26% of Summit attendees were people of color–up from 14% in 2013. These new voices changed the conversation in sessions and in the hallways resulting in more courageous conversations about race and class, more action diversifying leadership in ed reform and more efforts across many organizations to strengthen ties with the communities our work touches.
Camelback Ventures Commits to Education Entrepreneurs of ColorNewSchools is supporting Camelback Ventures to help reduce the opportunity gap for education entrepreneurs from underserved communities. Aaron Walker started the Camelback Fellows Program to provide early-stage coaching, connections and capital to social entrepreneurs of color. Camelback’s goal is to provide $5 million in funding to 100 entrepreneurs with 80% sustaining leadership roles over the next five years.
TFA Adjusts Recruiting Policies to Encourage InclusionTeach for America made a deliberate effort to improve both the racial and the socioeconomic diversity of their teaching corps and it shows! This years’ TFA recruits are the most diverse ever with half of the 2014-2015 cohort identifying as people of color and 47% coming from low-income backgrounds. Expanding diversity has built a corps better able to connect with the challenges and experiences of the students they serve.
What action are you taking to enhance and improve diversity in your organization? Have an opinion, an idea or a question about what needs to happen to effectively diversify education leadership?
Share with us via twitter with #DiversifyEd, and please include a photo!