Equity in K-12 education is a complex issue. It is difficult to know where to start or what strategies to use. Strategies and definitions can vary by district, school, classroom, and even by student. Understanding how equity impacts outcomes will empower districts to take definitive action using key strategies that research shows are critical to the success of any equity initiative.
The Center for Public Education defines equity as being “achieved when all students receive the resources they need so they graduate prepared for success after high school.” As an educator, parent, and advocate for educational equity, I believe we have yet to reach the bar. Marginalized learners consistently lag behind the national average and are not receiving the resources they need to graduate, much less be prepared for post-secondary success. Additionally, many of our school districts are experiencing record low enrollment and attendance rates. According to a recent study, COVID has resulted in an increasingly wide equity and achievement gap.
Equity Through Language Acquisition:
Language is a vital lever to support instructional equity. Language gives students the ability to access math, science, and STEM in meaningful ways. Embedding academic language in the classroom strengthens teaching practices and reduces the achievement gap by supporting marginalized learners. There are many proven strategies, such as providing scaffolded content for students of all ability levels or making connections to students' own real-world knowledge.
Another important strategy is to ensure that marginalized learners are represented in the content they learn. Content should be both a window and a mirror. The visuals, the names, the life stories, and the aspirations represented in that content should be relatable. When students connect with course content in meaningful ways, academic achievement soars. At Speak Agent, we have an ongoing commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in our organization as well. Our mission is to bridge the achievement gap for marginalized learners by helping them to acquire the language of content, thereby enabling them to unlock their full potential.
Speak Agent ensures diverse students are represented as users of our platform and in our content while providing every student the resources and supports they need to learn effectively. Through our research-based and collaborative instructional program design, we make the language of math and science accessible to all students. The platform is also optimized to support after-school usage, thus increasing time on task and extending the classroom instructional benefit.
Would you like to learn more about Speak Agent's commitment to Equity through Language Acquisition? Let’s set up a time to talk. We’d love to be your partner in formulating a language-based strategy that works for your school district!
Charles brings 30 years of experience in education and sales leadership. As a lifelong educator—from teacher to Principal to District Administrator—Charles committed his career to teaching students of all abilities and to championing the needs of diverse and underserved learners. After service as a public educator, he entered the private sector as a Special Education Advocate and helped families and students navigate the special education process in MD, VA, DC and NY. Before joining the Speak Agent, Charles served as Educational Consultant for Gale, where he managed K-12 sales in Maryland and Delaware. At Gale, Charles led a successful effort to develop and disseminate diversity & equity content. Prior to Gale, he was Director of Inside Sales and Account Management for Kajeet, where he directed account growth and retention. Charles holds a BS from the University of Maryland.