Our Philosophy (Short Version)
EdChange is dedicated to diversity and equity in schools, organizations, communities, society. We act to shape schools and communities in which all people, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, class, (dis)ability, language, or religion, have equitable opportunities to achieve to their fullest and to be safe, valued, affirmed, and empowered.
We believe that too much equity, diversity, and multicultural education work is shaped to be comfortable and easily digestible. While we believe that people need some level of comfort in order to grow, in order to "inform ourselves," we also believe that true change can happen only when people, and particularly people with power, allow themselves to be vulnerable to difficult, and sometimes uncomfortable, dialogue. This dialogue is the first step toward greater change in our schools and communities.
It is our goal to help affect change in individuals, schools, communities, and society by working with people and organizations at any level of awareness or development along the diversity, cultural competence, inclusion, and equity continuum who are committed to positive change.
Our Philosophy (Long But Not Long-Winded Version)
In schools this means moving beyond cultural fairs and celebrating diversity and moving toward frank conversations about serious equity-related issues and what those issues mean in the context of our practice (whether in the classroom, the central administrative office, or elsewhere) as well as our role in the bigger picture of schools and schooling. These issues include achievement gaps, bullying, school culture, classroom climate, increasingly diverse classrooms with increasingly white teaching and administrative staffs, and others. And we believe it is impossible to have real conversations about these issues if we don't have real conversations about race, gender, socioeconomic status, and other dimensions of identity that impact the way students, teachers, administrators, parents, community members, and others experience schools and the world around them.
Ultimately, the key question for us is not just whether students and teachers can appreciate differences, though we know that tremendous individual learning opportunities can emerge from a process of education that facilitates this sort of appreciation. The key question,instead, is whether every student who walks into our schools has an opportunity to achieve to her or his fullest, to have access to an equitably validating, supportive learning environment, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion, home language, (dis)ability, and any other dimension of her or his identity. As such, our goal is one of education equity and we measure our work based on how much closer we help a school move toward a context of equity (which means the elimination of inequity).
And we do so based on the specific contextual needs of each school or organization with which we work. Sometimes it means a workshop with a strong emphasis on the achievement gap, teacher expectations, and effective pedagogies for a diversity of students. Sometimes it means a workshop or dialogue related to racial tensions or gender equity in the classroom. We do not believe in canned presentations. We believe in collaboration and context.
At the same time, we recognize that teachers want and need strategies for implementation -- practical ideas, curricular tools, classroom activities, and pedagogical approaches that support diversity and equity. We know that the students that we see day to day can't afford to wait for us to solve the bigger issues in education. So we work to balance the practical with the philosophical, providing immediate strategies while helping educators consider needs for long-term, institutional change. In addition, we love working with students, engaging them in dialogues about equity and diversity!
As in schools, we believe that the challenge in many community and corporate organizations is to help move people from a consciousness focused only on celebrating diversity to one focused on celebrating diversity in a larger context of movement toward equity and justice. This process involves frank dialogue about difficult issues and how those issues impact us as individuals, our organization(s), the people our organization(s) serve, and the larger society around us.
This doesn't mean that we don't believe in the concept of starting with people or organizations where they are with these often difficult, sometimes painful issues. But it means challenging people and organizations to move beyond where they are, whether they consider themselves to already have a firm understanding of equity and diversity, or whether they've never considered these issues in a complex, facilitated way.
We are committed to helping you meet your vision of equity, diversity, multiculturalism, and justice.