Learning Forward believes schools achieve their utmost potential when:
Each student experiences relevant, culturally responsive, rigorous learning and benefits from the collective guidance and care of exceptional teachers and leaders;
Each educator has access to high-quality professional learning so they can cultivate the strengths and address the needs of each student they serve; and
Each leader advocates for and builds an education system that dismantles institutional racism and removes other barriers to students’ equitable access to learning.
This vision for equity in schools requires transformation at every level of the education system.
Learning Forward defines equity as the outcome of educator practices that respect and nurture all aspects of student identity rather than treat them as barriers to learning. Professional learning is a critical lever to achieve equity.
Educators experience and drive change when they address their own biases and reflect on how their beliefs impact students. They build equitable schools when they increase their capacity to differentiate instruction and assessment to meet students’ needs. They contribute to an equitable system when they denounce injustices and inequitable practices. Educators cultivate equity when they leverage the cultural and linguistic assets that students bring and ensure that each learner engages in rigorous learning. This requires the use of high-quality and culturally responsive curriculum and instructional materials.
Professional learning aligned to the Standards for Professional Learning disrupts and dismantles causal inequities by:
Eliminating gaps in access and opportunities by ensuring high-quality teaching, leading, and learning;
Equipping educators with knowledge and strategies specifically designed to recognize and eliminate bias in the classroom and in their own instructional practices;
Strengthening self-examination practices and collective responsibility of all educators in the system;
Providing evidence and data about strategies or designs that support equitable learning;
Prioritizing coherent and aligned systems that provide academic rigor, high-quality curriculum and culturally relevant instructional materials, educator quality, and resources to support each student; and
Transforming policies at all levels that shape anti-racist learning systems for adults and students alike.
Effective professional learning removes inequities in students’ access to meaningful learning, ensuring a pathway to success for each student. When all educators engage in high-quality professional learning, all students experience equity and excellence in teaching and learning.