The Equity in Education Coalition sees institutional racism as the principal reason students of color are caught in the opportunity gap.
We operate on the common sense assumption that white kids do not “naturally” perform better in academics than kids of color, and that white families do not provide a “superior” academic culture. Instead, we understand that institutional racism, especially but not exclusively in the education system, unduly burdens our kids and deprives them of the world class education they deserve. And it is institutional racism that created, sustains, and grows the opportunity gap in Washington.
We see institutional racism in the disproportionate challenges kids of color face inside and outside of the classroom. When compared to their white counterparts:
- kids of color are more likely to experience poverty,
- kids of color are more likely to experience homelessness,
- kids of color are more likely to experience disability,
- kids of color are more likely to be expelled, and
- kids of color are more likely to be arrested.
For children of color to participate on an equal playing field, we need to undo centuries of systems-wide oppression. Closing the opportunity gap, though our goal, can not be limited to improving standardized test scores, but instead must look at the greater picture. To ensure children of color a high quality education, we must address the institutional barriers facing our students, from poverty and homelessness, to healthcare and disability, to incarceration and police brutality.
In undoing the institutional racism that unduly penalizes children of color, the Equity in Education Coalition has taken up pedagogy and policy that:
- Celebrates the breadth of experiences and wisdom communities of color offer,
- Values children of color as an asset, and not something to tolerate,
- Promises to dismantle racism within our organization and networks,
- Calls out racism committed by those in power, and
- Allies with others who work to fight social oppression.