With Critical Race Theory spurring debate, is there hope for diversity in schools?

With Critical Race Theory spurring debate, is there hope for diversity in schools?

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The greatest social justice movements teach us that progress isn’t linear, but is rather dynamic. This means that progress doesn’t transpire overnight. It doesn’t transpire instantaneously with one motion or action, but is the product of concerted efforts compounding to create change. This also means that in the midst of fighting for what is right, resistance sometimes hidden in the form of defeat and regression can take place.

In the case of fighting for educational equity, this means that creating schools that honor and celebrate diversity, affirm students’ identity, develop a sense of social and critical consciousness within students, cultivate inclusivity, and provide equitable access and outcomes for all students can often feel nearly impossible. With bans on teaching Black history; book bans that prohibit certain texts that center the histories, perspectives, and lived experiences of marginalized communities; and other unjust and discriminatory practices, educators, parents, and education advocates may wonder if there is any hope for diversity, equity, and inclusion within schools.

The answer is yes. No matter where you and your school are within your DEI efforts, here are two considerations to overlay in contemplating how to deepen your work and ensure it is meaningful, authentic, and taking real–not performative–roots.

Expand your definition of diversity

I define diversity as representation across the board–or in other words, it is a variety of areas of identity or difference. This definition is very important to note, because far too often, the word diversity is used as a synonym for race and ethnicity.

Krystal Allen, Founder & CEO, K. Allen Consulting

Krystal Allen is the Founder & CEO of K. Allen Consulting™, an education advocate, and philanthropist. A native of Selma, Alabama, Allen is a well-respected former school principal and teacher. She began her career teaching elementary school, serving as an instructional coach, then asst. principal, and finally leading as a school principal.Most recently featured in TIME Magazine, she is a 2019 Gambit 40 Under 40 recipient, a 2019 Aspen Institute Ideas Festival Scholar, the 2016 Urban League of Louisiana Activist Award recipient, and serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Kid Smart; Success at Thurgood Marshall; and the Selma Center for Nonviolence. A first-generation college graduate, Krystal earned her B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, M.Ed. from NLU-Chicago, and is currently completing her Ed.D in K-12 Urban Educational Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. Krystal’s work and passion for DEI, social justice, adult learning, and organizational development are the driving forces of her work and commitment to equity.

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