All In: Diversity, Inclusion and Equity in Education, Part 2
A few weeks ago, I wrote about diversity, inclusion and equity. After posting that blog, a television commercial caught my attention and made me think.
In the commercial, the speaker says, “The world in which we live equally distributes talent, but doesn’t equally distribute opportunity, and paths are not always the same.” When I searched this quote on the Internet, I found a lot of conflicting views and debate about talent and potential. It seems that many want to argue about the meaning of talent or narrowly define it.
Perhaps, the focus should be on opportunity. Research described in a recent Washington Post article seems to support the quote from the commercial and makes the case that opportunity is not equally distributed across the population, but talent is.
The experience of a student from prekindergarten through graduation should be all about opportunity, access and reaching the highest levels of learning. That is true no matter the school or school system, and it is even more critical for those students who come from poverty, need to become fully literate in English and/or have been historically underserved.
Creating opportunity is precisely why Montgomery County Public Schools is focusing on strong foundational skills for all students in elementary and middle school. This is why we redeveloped our process for identifying highly able students for enrichment by using universal screening and a name, race and school blind approach so that all students needing enrichment and acceleration will have the opportunity to access it. It’s why we are increasing access and support for middle school students so they can take advantage of the opportunity to engage in Algebra I. It is why we invested in college preparation programs like ACES and College Tracks. It’s why we have invested in Equal Opportunity Schools in 18 of 25 high schools. These programs provide greater opportunity to engage in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate and other college prep programs. And it is why we are expanding career readiness options at the Thomas Edison High School of Technology and across the county.
It’s easy to champion words like diversity and inclusion, but when we are called upon to make tough decisions about resource allocation and program placement and opportunity, do our actions match our words?
Good Read/Good Listen
As we all know, learning doesn’t stop when you become an adult. I am constantly learning about new ideas and exploring new perspectives. I do this through books, articles and podcasts. Each blog, I will share a few of the most interesting ones with you. Some have made me ask questions, some have irritated me; others have made me smile or frown. I hope they make you think critically and open doors to new information and ideas.
The OECD School User Survey: Improving Learning Spaces Together
(Note: In the coming weeks, MCPS will announce how students and staff could shape the future of MCPS school buildings. Stay tuned.)
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