Districts across the country are conducting equity audits to understand the inequities that exist in their policies, practices, and curriculum.
Equity audits are a valuable leadership tool used to collect the data that informs the process of removing barriers that impede full participation, access, and opportunity for every student to receive an equitable and excellent education.
Often, equity audits identify issues like:
- How funding is spent inequitably across students and schools
- How teachers are placed inequitably across the district
- How curriculum under-represents or mis-represents people of color
- How bias impacts hiring practices
- How discipline practices are disproportionate
- How course assignments and recommendations are inequitable
Equity audits are intended to benefit underrepresented populations by ensuring equitable educational opportunities for those students at every step, from teacher quality, to curriculum, to outcomes.
While equity audits are critically important for addressing systemic racism in education, they tend to impact the district office far more than the classroom.
After analyzing equity audit data, leaders should decide what actions will have the greatest impact on the transformation of educators’ mindsets, instructional practices, and policies within classrooms and across the school. Although it is important to understand the impact school practices have on all children, if schools want to achieve systemic equity, leaders must target their actions toward practices that are directly and disproportionately holding back the progress of historically marginalized populations.
This plan of action should focus on ensuring that every student has access to the curriculum, assessment, pedagogy, and challenges they need based on the recognition and response to their individual differences, and the sociopolitical context of teaching and learning. (National Association for Multicultural Education, 2019).
After creating this action plan, seek professional development that focuses on dismantling the inequities discovered in the equity audit in order to meet your goals for your students. Professional development should focus on equity-centered curriculum, community building, culturally relevant practices, understanding implicit biases, and other practices that work towards creating equitable-centered learning environments.
It is crucial for school leaders to understand that an equity audit is an important first step in addressing systemic barriers to success for all students. But this is just the beginning of the process. Schools must develop meaningful plans to address the bias of educators, support the development of culturally relevant teaching resources, address classroom discipline and grading practices, and remove other barriers that prevent every student from accessing inclusive and equitable learning opportunities.
We invite you to review LINC’s antiracism resources as you engage in this important work.
Skrla, L., McKenzie, K. B., & Scheurich, J. J. (Eds.). (2009). Using equity audits to create equitable and excellent schools. Corwin Press.