Let's disrupt inequity with brave conversations about bias

Change starts with education -- here's a free toolkit for facilitated conversations about race, bias and prejudice so we can listen, lead and teach towards equity

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“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.

UNBOUNDED TOOLKIT 4.5-6h

Disrupting Inequity: Having Brave Conversations About Bias

The toolkit contains a high-level overview of the facilitated conversation, with individual PowerPoint presentations and materials containing detailed notes, resources, and activities that will help you move through each part of the conversation. Educators are encouraged to modify these presentations so they work for your school community.

PDF: Faciliator Overview
PART 1 90-120 min

Introducing Bias

Part 1 focuses on creating a shared definition of bias and an understanding of how it manifests inside and outside of your school. Outcomes include:

  • Strengthen group norms and ground rules to have conversations about bias and prejudice
  • Enhance understanding of bias with a group activity
  • Develop a shared definition of bias and understand how it manifests inside and outside of school
  • Unpack participant's bias assessment results
  • Experience a shared reading and discussion of biases
  • Reflect on bias and how it lives in our school community

Powerpoint: Introducing Bias

PDF: Case Study #1 : A Moment of Microaggressions


PART 2 90-120 min

Historical Perspective About Race in America

Part 2 examines the historical implications of race and how it has influenced your school culture. Outcomes include:

  • Strengthen group norms and ground rules to have conversations about bias and prejudice
  • Enhance understanding of bias with a group activity
  • Deepen understanding of bias by watching and discussing "Race - the Power of an Illusion"
  • Discuss how historical implications of race have influenced your school culture

Powerpoint: Historical Perspective About Race in America

PDF: Case Study #2: Addressing Race with To Kill a Mockingbird

Article: How to Have Conversations About Race


PART 3 90-120 min

How Does Bias Manifest in Our School?

Part 3 explores the lenses with which we view others and how that shapes your school environment. Outcomes include:

  • Strengthen group norms and ground rules to have conversations about bias and prejudice
  • Enhance understanding of bias with a group activity
  • Understand the lenses with which we view others
  • Discuss what participants have learned throughout the three sessions
  • Work to identify actionable steps that participants can take to improve your school's environment

PDF: How Does Bias Manifest in Our School?

Article: Equity Literacy For All


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