By David Griffith
ASCD is starting an online conversation among educators about equity and we want to invite you to be part of the discussion.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a wide range of societal inequities, from housing to healthcare, that have long existed but not gotten the attention they deserve. So, too, it is with schools where the inequities have become even more glaring. Indeed, one obvious example is the digital divide. Heading into 2021, upwards of 12 million students didn’t have access to broadband internet—a fact that was seemingly tolerable when it left these kids with a #HomeworkGap disadvantage but became utterly untenable when it prevented them from accessing virtual instruction when schools closed.
Inequities like these can simply no longer be ignored. As ASCD’s newest policy recommendations make clear, “It is imperative to address the underlying root causes of these inequities in a systemic, coordinated, and sustainable way. Students with disabilities and socioeconomically disadvantaged students have been most negatively impacted by the pandemic.”
The return to full-time in-person learning this fall and the massive federal investment in education as part of pandemic recovery offers us a unique moment to focus on equity and to make the necessary changes to better support all students and schools.
It is important to create the space necessary to do this work. As part of this process, we want to get the input of educators about equity—what it means to you, what it should look like in schools and classrooms, how it can be integrated into your work, and what educators can do to advance its principles and practices.
Like so much of the past year, we will be conducting this conversation online. You can participate by following the #ASCDForum hashtag on Twitter. Over the next four weeks, we’ll be posing specific equity-related questions to educators. Your thoughts, opinions, and experiences will be informative to ASCD and helpful to your peers as we support educators to build a more equitable education system together.