Setting a course for improving education equity in Delaware
The state Department of Education is taking a look at equity in and among First State schools.
Officials recently held their first equity summit and are developing a statewide equity plan in an effort to offer all students equal access to the people, resources and opportunities needed for a quality education— from school to school and within school buildings.
Delaware Public Media’s Sophia Schmidt recently talked with the state’s only school district-level equity officer, Tawanda Bond, about what changes she thinks are needed.
Bond defines an equitable education system as one in which a student’s achievement level is not predictable based on their demographic or zip code.
The former teacher and principal approves of the state’s efforts — because she says equity initiatives must be lead from the top down.
“You know, it happens with support, it happens with education, it happens with professional development, and it also happens with modeling," she said. "And that does definitely need to happen always from the top to the bottom so that folks can buy in and they understand that we believe whatever it is that our philosophy is.”
She thinks the state prioritizing equity will lead school districts to do the same.
She says Red Clay has been focusing on diversifying its teacher workforce, providing professional development around implicit bias and updating the texts students are taught.
“Anything that we bring into our building should always be, we call it a mirror, a window or a sliding glass door," she said. "So students should be able to see themselves reflected in things that they are learning, or … they should be able to see others in things that they use in the classroom … and then they should be able to step outside of themselves and not just see other but understand others that can then help them understand themselves.”
She says this “culturally proficient teaching” and the necessary professional development will look different school to school.
Delaware Public Media has a partnership with Red Clay Consolidated School District, airing portions of its programming day on McKean High School's radio station, 88.1 WMHS and providing its youth media program, Generation Voice, as part of McKean's Audio, Radio, Video Broadcast Engineering career pathway.