“In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right that must be made available on equal terms.”
Chief Justice Earl Warren, Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
The landmark Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education shifted the educational terrain for all students across the United States. This historical ruling not only named the pervasive weed of inequity that had grown throughout the school houses in towns, cities and states, it brought to light the injustices that the U.S. suffered due to the systematic racism that weaved throughout our laws, town-halls, and societal practices. It forced individuals to, at the very least, adjust the blatant biases that were the norm of the day. Some may even say it placed the burden of acquainting communities to children and their families whom had never had the opportunity of knowing individuals outside of their neighborhoods.
While Brown v. Board of Education placed the technical burden of ensuring that all children received an equal opportunity to education, it did not solve for the adaptive work of recognizing the micro and macro practices of biases that are intertwined in individual educators and the systems that they serve. In fact, the national data of school achievement by race indicates that these practices have not ceased over time; a closer look at school data trends, national assessment stats, and discipline data gives us an even greater sense that it has increased.
UnboundEd’s core value of equity
calls us to action on the commitment to disrupting patterns of implicit bias, privilege, and racism in ourselves, our organization, and in the education field to contribute to equitable outcomes for all students. We recognize that without an intentional study of biases we as educators will continue, even if unintentionally, to create the barriers to learning despite our belief about educational equity. We hope this toolkit leads to brave conversations in school communities all over the country so we can listen, lead, and teach towards equity.