“Incredibly Valuable” – Considering Issues of Inequity – In Participants Own Words
Over 80 participants spent two days focusing on issues of equity in Vermont schools sponsored by the VT Higher Education Collaborative’s Mission Investment Fund. During these engaging and thought-provoking sessions, Paul Gorski explored why inequities and educational outcome disparities persist across race, class, gender, disability and other factors and what can be done to improve opportunities for all Vermont students.
Paul led often-tough discussions that required participants to consider what we might be conditioned not to see and the humility to see our own culpability. Equity means more than hosting multicultural arts-and-crafts fairs or diversity assemblies. It involves real conversations about racism, economic inequality, sexism, homophobia and ableism. The problem is not a lack of educators who appreciate and even champion diversity. The trouble lies in how so many diversity initiatives avoid or whitewash serious equity issues.
Participants appreciated Paul’s presentation, style and humor and recognized the benefit and necessity of tackling these difficult issues in order to make positive change. In their own words:
It’s always good to push us outside our comfort zone and think about other perspectives. There is soooo much to do in respect to creating a more opportunistic environment and experience for our youth. This has been a motivating experience…, I’m hoping to learn more about how to create and implement changes in our district.
I think the only way we can move forward to start with making people feel uncomfortable, identify their biases, and start responding to this… Thank you!
Can’t solve a problem we can’t name. Is Inequity so normal that I can’t identify it?
The information was on point and allowed everyone to safely consider, in a vulnerable way, where we are in our equitable practices including the systems in place in our state, our community, our districts and our schools.
Gave me a good framework for looking for inequity in my school and the language and example to address equity. Inequity takes many forms and has many layers. The marginalized people are the experts. Privilege drives school spending and opportunities.
Paul is the founder of EdChange and the Equity Literacy Institute; he has 20 years of experience helping educators strengthen their equity efforts in classrooms, schools, and districts. Paul has worked with educators in 48 states and a dozen countries. His professional and spiritual passions lie in building movements and engaging in processes for creating equitable and just organizations, schools, and communities.
VT-HEC is working to coordinate its effort with other VT organizations, especially the Vermont Principals Association. Because of the importance of this topic, the VT-HEC is using its Mission Investment Fund to offer its series at significant cost reduction. VT-HEC will offer three additional days in spring 2019, at a cost of $35 each, focused on gender (3/19); race (4/12) and poverty with Paul (5/15). See details here.
Watch for Paul’s other presentations in VT.