Reflective Practice in School Equity
The Equity and Social Justice Education 50: Critical Questions for Improving Opportunities and Outcomes for Black Students by Baruti K. Kafele
ASCD, May 1, 2021
Baruti K. Kafele begins his thoughtful work from the "I" perspective, exploring the way he's played the role of an "equity practitioner" throughout his career and how his own journey has led him to a deep understanding of equity. Particularly in the wake of the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Kafele explains that equity in schools must be examined and dissected through self-reflection and deep questioning. He subsequently asks reflective questions of teachers and leaders in all learning communities as a means of pushing schools forward. For example, one series of questions demands reflection around instructional strategies and asks how different approaches take into account the differing academic, social, and emotional needs of students. Another asks about intentionality in "culturally responsive learning environments" and offers ideas for teachers to ensure that each student is both seen and valued through each pedagogical choice that a teacher or administrator makes. Ultimately, the text urges the reader to question the ways in which some students may be learning at the expense of other learners in the room. This text would be meaningful for all members of a school community, particularly content-area departments and administrative teams. It can easily lead to essential, small-group conversations and reflections around the questions posed and collective work to question systems and choices in place and to forge paths forward.