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  • Yemi S.

They prescribe thought... which is a hindrance to truth and not a facilitator of it. They prescribe lazy reasoning.

Labels are always a function of ego. Labels say, "I belong to this clique, and I will defend the group... regardless of any specific situational circumstance" — which in effect, is a rejection of the independence of thought necessary for avoiding the sins of groupthink.

Labels are manipulations of human psyche. They should be rigorously investigated and generally resisted... or risk losing your Self to the sway of the crowd; and the crowd is often directed by the worst impulses of humanity.

  • Yemi S.

How does your lens affect what you see?

Because you most certainly have a lens...

and your lens is informed by your identity (i.e. who you are)—

and your identity is a function of the sum total of your experiences and the many dimensions of your being and background.

What do you see?

This is an especially salient question for teachers.

How does who you are impact what you see?

If you can keep that question in mind, you will be much more likely to create in the ways that benefit all of your students... as in the ones whose identity-backgrounds match yours and also those who don't.

This is an essential responsibility of teaching in a 21st century multicultural society.

  • Yemi S.

My friend and colleague Chemay Morales and I wrote this piece nearly a decade ago, and I think it still has application for many who are currently in the process of designing Equity teams. At the time, she and I were part of a center tasked to identify root causes and strategies for reducing disproportionately in NY school districts, but these steps can be revised to apply to a range of initiatives intended to systematize the fairer distribution of opportunity in schools.

As a preview, the steps we describe for "Addressing Disproportionality Through the Creation of Culturally Responsive Problem-Solving Teams" are:

1. Conduct critical observations of your building’s currently existing team.

2. Define (or redefine) the purpose of the team.

3. Establish private, safe spaces where conversations can continue.

4. Identify the cultural considerations that need to be addressed within the problem-solving


5. Pair teachers with instructional coaches and include building administrators as key

team members.

6. Use case studies to develop richer understandings of student experiences.

7. Develop action plans that articulate a clear course of action and assign ownership

within the group for oversight and implementation of objectives.

8. Problem-solving teams should routinely engage in reflection and reconsideration.

A useful exercise for a newly forming team might be to review the document and translate the steps into a local context. You can find the full paper here:

Addressing Disproportionality Through th
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