Many education reformers ask, “Why should we focus on closing the demographic gap between the children we serve and the leaders of the ed reform movement?”
Our answer is simple. Research shows that diversity matters, and a sustainable education reform movement requires a community to participate in its own liberation to achieve the practice of freedom. As the UNCF Done to Us, not With Us project reported, “the history of social change, like the civil rights struggle, teaches us that no such movement can succeed without the support and active engagement of its intended beneficiaries.”
Following the death of Trayvon Martin in February 2012, members of the NewSchools team gathered to share our reflections and pain. Given that our mission is to transform education so it works for poor kids and kids of color, the conversation made us realize that we needed to invest more to enhance leadership and power in our partner communities.
We created an internal Diversity Collaborative with representatives from every team and integrated our diversity goals across our organization and the ventures in our portfolio. I announced our goals and progress at the NewSchools Summit in May 2014. Our CEO Stacey Childress joined NewSchools in July 2014. She enthusiastically embraced our first steps, expanded the scope of our diversity initiative and assigned members of the leadership team to spearhead the work. We look forward to sharing more about our investment strategy and impact in future blogs.
In the meantime, please take inspiration from Koya Partners & Education Pioneers’ From Intention to Action Report and the stories we have shared about diversity work being done by our partners and ventures. At last year’s Summit, our honor roll celebrated organizations that have made diversity a priority, and more than 200 organizations and individuals pledged to ramp up their diversity efforts. We have started to share the stories of their work to inspire ourselves and our readers to take action.
Please help us inform, inspire and empower the education reform movement by sharing your stories about how you are diversifying the leadership of your organization. Tweet us at #DiversifyEd!