A list of terms and definitions to help you and your team find a common language around equity work


Developmental Experience -Developmental experiences combine elements of action and reflection in an intentionally constructed learning opportunity. These developmental experiences represent opportunities for team members to engage in experiential learning that is focused on their own work and the equity challenge they have collectively identified.

Diagnostic Plan- A plan articulating the identified inequities, among students and schools describing the target groups of students your organization is serving the least well and what practices exist that contribute to that inequity. The diagnostic plan included whatever evidence there is of the equity challenge, the Root Cause Analysis (see below), evidence for the drivers on the Root Cause Analysis, what drivers they needed to investigate more, how the team could investigate qualitatively or quantitatively, and necessary actions to complete the qualitative and/or quantitative studies.

Equity means that each child receives what he or she needs to develop to his or her full academic and social potential.

Equity Challenge -Institutional, organizational, level and student-level equity challenges (“equity gaps”) that will be solved through participation in the learning network.

Equity Imperative- “A “what” and “why” statement that includes the equity challenge, which equity outcomes the organization is committed to, a narrative of the Root Cause Analysis (RCA), what is the inquiry to be taken relative to the equity challenge, what is the organization leveraging over the course of the inquiry, diagnostics or evidence that may be part of the inquiry, discussion of possible drivers for improvement that might be tested or validated.”

Foundations for Young Adult Success - A framework that synthesizes decades of research evidence, practice wisdom and theory to capture a holistic view of children’s developmental needs from early childhood to young adulthood. Individual Racism: Refers to the beliefs, attitudes, and actions of individuals that support or perpetuate racism. Individual racism can be deliberate, or an individual may act to perpetuate or support racism without knowing that is what a person is doing.

Institutional Racism- Refers specifically to the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups. The institutional policies may never mention any racial group, but their effect is to create advantages for whites and oppression and disadvantage for people from other racial groups. Institutional racism shifts our focus from motives and actions of individuals to the practices and procedures within an institution,

Root Cause Analysis – Is a method of problem solving used for identifying the root causes of faults or problems.

Structural Racism - Refers to ways in which history, ideology, public policies, institutional practices and culture interact to maintain a racial hierarchy that allows the privileges associated with whiteness and the disadvantages associated with color to endure and adapt over time. A history and current reality of institutional racism across all institutions, combining to create a system that negatively impacts communities of color.

Targeted Universalism - A frame for designing policy that acknowledges our common goals,while also addressing the sharp contrasts in access to opportunity between differently situated sub-groups; barriers to quality education, well paying work, fair mortgages, and so forth. To transform structural inequity into structural opportunity, policies need to address these contrasts and measure success based on outcomes.