The freedom to thrive is every person’s fundamental right. Access to a great education, regardless of race or ethnicity, is essential to that freedom. And yet, despite important areas of progress, the promise of an equitable educational opportunity remains unfulfilled.
For years, all our work at NewSchools has sought to combat racial inequities in education and open doors for students and leaders of color seeking to have a positive impact in the sector. We’ve seen breakthroughs, but it’s not enough — a reality made even clearer by the coronavirus pandemic. Black, Latino, Indigenous, Asian and Pacific Islander people have suffered disproportionately from COVID’s impact, from police violence and hate attacks, from threats to their jobs, housing, health and more. All of this is a result of America’s structural and institutional racism. All of it affects educational opportunity. We are committed to being part of the necessary change and we recognize the need to work on racial equity in a deeper way.
That’s why we’ve created a new Racial Equity investment area, which combines a broad focus with a new way of making funding decisions. We are looking for ideas focused on addressing racial inequities in education that fall outside of our other three investment areas. The process for choosing ventures in this investment area will look different than it has in the past. There is rich, hard-won wisdom in communities of color — and we trust it. We’re ceding power. Instead of a traditional grantmaking approach, parents, students, and education innovators will decide how to allocate our Racial Equity funds. There are brilliant solutions borne from the lived experiences of people of color. We don’t pretend to have all the answers; instead, we’ll help you bring powerful, imaginative ideas to life that reach toward a racially equitable education system — a bedrock of American antiracism.
Public education can become a powerful force for justice that extends to other systems. But it will only happen when people of color are owners, planners, and decision-makers guiding and remaking all levels of our educational system. We believe the genius to create equitable learning experiences for all students already exists in our nation, in our communities, and that new ideas must have the support they need to grow.
Communities of color are leading the way into a just future. We’re ready to follow, learn, partner, amplify, and support.