Equity in Education Requires Transformational Change in St. Louis School Systems

Will we return to the system we had prior to 2020 that works for some and is massively detrimental to others? Or will we leverage our collective will and imagination to build something better?

  1. Define, measure, and commit to make progress toward economic and racial equity. This looks like examining and then removing barriers to access and engagement for low income students and families of color. This looks like simplified and accessible enrollment processes that prioritize space for marginalized children. It looks like setting and achieving goals around the recruitment, development, and retention of teachers who share the background of students. It requires rethinking (or even eliminating) gifted and talented and magnet programs that overwhelmingly serve white and middle class children. It requires an equity indicators dashboard that is published and reported on regularly. It means that children are able to read and do math at grade level.
  2. Redistribute power to students, educators, and community members. This is not “buy-in” or “feedback” but actual decision-making authority. This looks like student representatives on teacher hiring committees and community boards made up of parents and other stakeholders that have authority over budgets, schedules, and principal evaluation. It looks like co-location of neighborhood services and ongoing adult education. It requires community approval of plans for underutilized buildings. It requires investing in parent leadership and capacity building for all parents to effectively assume these leadership roles, especially those living in or close to poverty. It is an elected board that sees its role as increasing engagement and community empowerment.
  3. Transform and expand central supports for all city schools with a focus on learning, partnership, and innovation. This is only possible with much greater collaboration between district and charter schools. It looks like city-wide learning communities led by students, teachers, and community members. It looks like partnerships with leading local and national capacity building organizations. It requires transparent and accessible data and reporting that students, educators, and community can use to learn about what is working and why. It requires creating better measures of school quality that focus on academic growth and include social-emotional development and school climate.
  4. Address upstream conditions that perpetuate inequities between systems and make it challenging to reimagine them. This looks like transforming how we fund public education and pay teachers. It looks like expanding access to high quality early childhood education. A thorough discussion of this can be found in these excellent reports from Forward Through Ferguson and First Steps To Equity.
  • Define, measure and report on equity commitments in our own organization and begin working to remove barriers to achieving them.
  • Redistribute decision-making power in how we invest resources to students, educators, and a broader base of community members who share the backgrounds of those most marginalized in our community.
  • Launch a new learning platform to support our community in understanding what is working, to hold systems accountable to racial and economic equity indicators in education, and to celebrate and amplify progress toward more equitable educational outcomes.

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First-generation college graduate, educator, advocate for educational equity and excellence; husband, son, brother, dog dad to Cooper; STL city resident.

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Eric Scroggins

Eric Scroggins

First-generation college graduate, educator, advocate for educational equity and excellence; husband, son, brother, dog dad to Cooper; STL city resident.

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