Equity is like fairness. Every student is faced with different obstacles in life, and those challenges can often hinder their potential in school and beyond. As advocates for educational equity, we believe that education has to be approached in a different way for students who are the most disadvantaged.
In ethnically diverse schools, equity means that culturally relevant teaching is bridging the gap between content and students’ own lived experiences. In rural areas, equity means that recruitment initiatives are helping schools solve teacher shortages.
Equity means something different to everyone, but to us, it means doing whatever it takes to help Kentucky kids be successful.
Accountability means that schools are held high to standards of performance.
We have an obligation to hold high expectations for all children, regardless of the challenges they face. That means that teachers are using standards-aligned assignments in their classrooms, administrators are maintaining structure in their schools, and districts are providing their students with high-quality curriculum.
Testing is also an important part of accountability. That doesn’t mean that high-stakes tests should be the only factor we care about, and it doesn’t mean that we believe teacher pay should be linked to test scores. We simply believe that learning should be happening in every public school across the Bluegrass, and that comes down to taking shared responsibility.
Parents want to know that their kids are learning. Teachers appreciate working in a culture of excellence. Students need quality learning experiences to take their next step in life.
That’s school quality in a nutshell, and we think it’s important to always be looking for new ways to strengthen the great work our public schools are doing.
Whether you call it school improvement, education reform, or something completely different, Kentucky kids deserve the very best educational experiences we can offer them. That means more strategic funding, high-quality curriculum, access to broadband Internet, and teacher retention initiatives. Reforms like these are paramount to the success of any school, whether rural or urban.
Urban, inner-city schools seem to dominate the focus of education conversations. We believe that’s important, and we’re inspired by all the great teachers, leaders, and policymakers that are dedicated to closing opportunity gaps for students in urban areas. However, we think rural schools should be a part of the conversation, too.
Rural schools face unique challenges with poverty and trauma. They also struggle with the recruitment and retention of high-quality teachers, and many lack the resources necessary to fulfill their highest potential. We believe that rural schools matter and that they should be an equally important part of the conversation.