We will feature timely reflections from The National Equity Project Leading For Equity project staff. Here is the first reflection from Senior Director, Victor Cary.
As our organization transitions from the Bay Area Coalition for Equitable Schools to The National Equity Project, we have increased our commitment to take part and influence the national discourse on issues of educational equity. As such, this week I attended Achieving Equity Through Innovation: A Canada-United States Colloquium sponsored by the Canadian Education Association and the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy In Education (SCOPE).
I was joined by my colleague, National Equity Project Senior Associate Hugh Vasquez. Our intention was primarily to listen and participate in the conversation., but the meeting turned out to be more of an occasion then I anticipated. There were close to 100 participants comprised primarily of researchers, policy makers and state officials. In attendance were representatives from the United States, Canada , Australia, Finland, and the Czech Republic.
When we got there, the convener who extended me the invitation to attend the colloquium asked if I would be willing to share my experience of what it means to work for equity ‘on the ground’. I accepted the invitation and suddenly found myself in the situation of having to make a formal presentation to the entire group. It turns out that our chance to influence the national discourse on equity was coming sooner than I would have imagined.
The meeting was organized around a series of six dialogues.
Dialogue 1: Equity Challenges in Canada and the United States – What’s Needed? Improvement or Transformation
Dialogue 2: Student Engagement, Equity and Innovation
Dialogue 3: Teachers Unions as Agents of Change
Dialogue 4: Equity, Innovation and Urban Education: Views from the Ground
Dialogue 5: Teaching that Makes a Difference
Dialogue 6: Implications for Policy: Achieving Equity and Innovation At Scale
Working closely with Hugh, I prepared my remarks to address Dialogue 4. I wanted to illuminate and provoke the participants to think about what it means to translate research into practice and policy into action.
The presentation was remarkably well received. I mostly shared the Oakland story of the small schools movement and the role played by The National Equity Project.
This was an atypical forum for me to speak. But, our work and the work of those we support and partner with was immediately recognized as important with valuable lessons from which to learn. It was exciting and hopeful to contribute to the discourse on educational equity. I know this is just the beginning.