Excited to present a Pre-Conference Institute on Harnessing the power of partnerships and a session on Unleashing the power of academic language at the annual MATSOL conference. If you are attending, please come by to say hello!
Our public and personal histories: the journey toward educational equity is a powerful blog. Full disclosure, its author, Dan Alpert, is the editor of three of my books and a soon-to-be fourth. I found his personal and public voice to be powerful for many reasons. Many of us live with the hope that the legacy of Brown v BOE and the Civil Right Movement will lead to better outcomes for the very groups that they were intended. However, data on high school graduates shows us all that underserved populations continue to be among the most underachieving and vulnerable or at-risk of failing school. While we might like to think of equity as racially, culturally, economically, and linguistically neutral, we cannot help but see the stark differences in outcomes. Perhaps the word underserved is an appropriate one as it implies the need for us to move toward strengthening the ways in which we serve the most vulnerable students. Many, including me, suggest that the gap is between students who carry academic language to, in and from school versus those who are learning it while attending school. We should not think of this difference as a deficit or use deficit-based language (such as semi-literate and illiterate). Rather, our willingness to deeply understand and draw from the sociocultural, literacy, academic, and thinking skill assets of our students is an important first step toward equity, access and engagement. It also is the path to do what Dan suggests as: “the work of relationship-building, honoring home cultures, setting high expectations, and building inclusive classroom communities that honor individual differences.”