Creating a culture of equity requires monitoring, encouragement, resources, data, and opportunity. The equity lens confirms the importance of recognizing institutional and systemic barriers and discriminatory practices that have limited access for many students in the Oregon education system.
What is the equity lens?
The equity lens emphasizes underserved students, such as out of school youth, English Language Learners, and students in some communities of color and some rural geographical locations, with a particular focus on racial equity. The result of creating a culture of equity will focus on the outcomes of academic proficiency, civic awareness, workplace literacy, and personal integrity. The system outcomes will focus on resource allocations, overall investments, hiring and professional learning.
What is the impact on High School Success?
Districts utilized an equity lens as they drafted their first plan for High School Success-- and they continue to do so. The purpose of the equity lens is to clearly articulate the shared goals we have for our state, the intentional investments we will make to reach our goals of an equitable educational system, and to create clear accountability structures to ensure that we are actively making progress and correcting where there is not progress. High School Success is no exception.
Some questions that they asked during the planning process were:
- Who are the racial/ethnic and underserved groups affected? What is the potential impact of the resource allocation and strategic investment to these groups?
- Does the decision being made ignore or worsen existing disparities or produce other unintended consequences? What is the impact on eliminating the opportunity gap?
- How does the investment or resource allocation advance the 40/40/20 goal?
- What are the barriers to more equitable outcomes? (e.g. mandated, political, emotional, financial, programmatic or managerial)
- How have you intentionally involved stakeholders who are also members of the communities affected by the strategic investment or resource allocation?
- How will you modify or enhance your strategies to ensure each learner and communities’ individual and cultural needs are met?
- How are you collecting data on race, ethnicity, and native language?
- What resources are you allocating for training in cultural responsive instruction?
Please visit the Oregon Department of Education's Education Equity web page for more information regarding equity in Oregon's education system.