Inequality Talk

Introduction to Inequality Talk

What people claim about opportunities and outcomes shapes who offers which opportunities to whom. Adults won’t offer young people additional opportunities via schools if they sense kids don’t need or deserve them.

Schooltalk for equity requires more successful Inequality Talk!

Consider this Principle for schooltaking for equity:

PRINCIPLE: To motivate and inform student support efforts, keep trying to make more informed claims about the supports and opportunities young people have and need.

(Clean your lenses. Speak more precisely and thoroughly about student outcomes as a product of interactions in opportunity contexts over time.)

In this section of schooltalking.org, we’ll post resources that help us talk about improving the opportunities necessary for success in schools.

THINK/DISCUSS

Is there a claim about students’ opportunities and outcomes that you have heard in an education community you know, that you suspect oversimplifies processes that are actually more complicated? What’s one aspect of young people’s lives in opportunity contexts that you suspect folks need to investigate to support more thorough explanations?

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Featured #schooltalking effort

Can we shine a spotlight on schools that actively close “opportunity gaps” so all students get the opportunities they need? See the NEPC Schools of Opportunity project, at schoolsofopportunity.org. The project seeks to recognize excellent public high schools that are actively striving to remedy “the differences in opportunities and resources that drive the well-known achievement gaps.”

And, here’s some useful Inequality Talk from Kevin Welner sharing "Schools of Opportunity" winners. When we celebrate standout schools creating equity for students, we can demand systems that create more such opportunities for all.

"Celebrating schools that help students beat the odds is a very different thing than creating a system that changes the odds. Our federal, state and district policies need to support schools like these and encourage more schools to adopt these practices. Together we all must work to create policies and funding systems that help these and other schools do everything they can for our children.

"The truth is that schools can make a real difference — but they can’t do it alone. They need our help. So as we celebrate this year’s eight extraordinary Schools of Opportunity, along with 37 recognized in previous years, we hope that they inspire all of us to do better and to create a society of opportunity."

Schools of Opportunity from Schools of Opportunity on Vimeo.

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Featured #schooltalking effort

One of my current goals as a schooltalker is to improve my skills in discussing issues of immigration in education-- a key issue of Inequality Talk. I’m sharing resources as I find them. Here’s a great resource focused on understanding the history of immigration, so we can talk thoughtfully about immigration today. It’s a gold mine googledoc created by Libby Garland and Joanna Yip, full of “publicly available sources for teaching immigration history, complete with strategies for scaffolding and unpacking challenging texts at the end.”

The collection has many short resources that could spark informed conversation about immigration past and present, plus concrete suggestions for discussion activities. Check it out!

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Featured #schooltalking effort

Inequality Talk can get far more informed via this K12 curricular guide, "Teaching 'The New Jim Crow,'" by author Michelle Alexander and Tanya Coke. It's designed to support educators who might want to teach Alexander's book—or more broadly, "who want to explore the myriad issues surrounding race and justice in our society."

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