As mentioned before, the current educational system was not designed to serve all students well. Rethinking educational systems will require us to understand the history that has created this present reality so that we are intentional in not perpetuating inequity through our own equity work. Equity work involves healing, and that requires identifying and naming the harm resulting from oppressive structures created years ago and in the present day. Oppression and harm manifest differently in different places and for different people, requiring us to understand local history and context. Additionally, educational systems are varied and complex, so what might work in one educational setting may not translate to another. Understanding the context of your community and your students is essential in thinking about the ways you can best serve your students. This chapter includes resources on the history of education in the US, the way in which race was constructed in the US, and activities that can be used to deepen your understanding of your own district, community, school, etc.
Ensuring that your work is grounded in the context around you