Teaching for Equity
Teaching has the power to bring all students closer to the future they imagine for themselves. That’s why we’ve taken this moment of crisis to reimagine how our education system can build on the brilliance of teachers–not replace it–to better serve the students furthest from opportunity.
Teaching for Equity is an integrated vision designed to guide you to reflect on your teaching, to support whole students, and to live out your commitments to anti-racism.
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Teaching for Equity is not a prescription. Rather, it’s an invitation to reflect on your strengths and prioritize areas for new learning in an integrated way. Download your copy to explore three strands of classroom practices, supportive beliefs, and teaching moves designed to create real opportunity.
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A Cohesive Approach Designed from Lessons Learned
Teaching for equity means using your practice to disrupt inequities, transform students’ experiences and outcomes, and create a more just and joyful world. We must not only be aware of identity and complex needs but also be experts in our content. To support you, we address:
How can I leverage research and theory in practical ways in my classroom?
How can I ensure rigor and relevance in my teaching to meet the expectations of the standards while also engaging my students?
How can I use practices that honor students’ identities and experiences, affirm them as learners, and support them to succeed in school and life?
Vision at a Glance
Teaching for Equity is more than a framework. It’s an action guide that translates complex research into teacher beliefs, practices, and resources.
The beliefs in the three classroom strands offer a cohesive vision of educational opportunity and the teacher mindsets that support it. These connect to a menu of practices that suggest daily action. In addition to the work inside of classrooms, we acknowledge that no one teacher can do this work alone. Teachers also need resources, both personally and systemically. Therefore, the classroom strands build upon two resource strands. Scroll down to learn about each component in detail.
Ways you can draw from grade-level standards and curriculum to ensure access to rigorous, and culturally responsive content
Ways you can create and model caring, affirming relationships across the school community
Ways you can ensure that daily instruction fosters an interdependent community where all students can learn
Inputs that enable systemic change beyond and inclusive the classroom as well as the prerequisite beliefs and commitments necessary for equitable teaching
Chicago, 11th Grade
“Incorporating different identities into the curriculum….can help children feel seen in their environment, especially when they might not feel seen at home, or when that culture is only prevalent at home.”
6th Grade, Chicago
“I feed off the energy of my teachers, and I know if they believe in me, they want to see me grow up to be successful, not just in those normal jobs, but see me grow into this creative being.”
8th Grade, Houston
[It wasn’t] until I started attending middle school, where I was more in the curriculum–and we have social and emotional learning in our schools–that I started really learning about [the history of my people]…we should start getting more inclusion in our schools in all subjects.”
Detroit, 12th Grade
“Teachers can learn a lot from students. Our resilience, our way of life, the way things work. What we learn has to be together…what [teachers] believe will fall on to us as well.”
Teens Take Charge
It is us students who bear the consequences of an unequal education system, but it should not solely be our responsibility to fix it. A strong public education system requires work from all of you, too. And that education, the one that we advocate for, must start now. If not, we will all be left behind.
Ensuring access to equitable and excellent teaching for students across this country will take all of us. Are you ready to take action?
Head over to our action center for ideas for getting started! Over the next year, we’ll be listening and learning with the goal of lifting up stories that make this vision more actionable. Using these practices in your context will help educators across the country learn more of what works for equity.
Are You a School Leader?
We have new resources for you too! Open Up Opportunity builds on the vision named in Teaching for Equity to offer a process, guidance, and tools for strengthening use of materials and developing teacher mindsets.
We are offering a limited number of briefings, workshops, and strategy sessions to school system leaders, support organizations, and think tanks. Get in touch with us using the form below.
Teaching for Equity Contact
Thank you to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative for making this research possible. We also celebrate the dozens of teachers, leaders, and researchers who contributed wisdom and lived experiences to the design process.
Much of the photography on this site and the Teachig for Equity publication was provided by Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Photos by Allison Shelley for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action.
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