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Implementing Racial Justice

Implementing racial justice in our schools means engaging educators, students, co-conspirators and allies to foster real dialogue, examine policies and practices, and mobilize and take action.

As educators and allies, we must work to address the inequalities that result from institutionally racist policies and practices in our schools and the communities in which our students live. 

We choose not to accept these conditions as they exist, and to accept the responsibility for changing them.

Social action is who we are. We have to stand up for ourselves, because if not, we're going to help perpetuate the systems that oppress our students. And that's not okay. –Gladys Márquez, IEA

All over the country, we are taking actions to address access and opportunity for all students, by highlighting inequities and increasing awareness, organizing for change, and growing the movement.

Racism is complex and contentious. Many of us are afraid to even broach the subject. It often feels easier and safer to avoid the topic altogether.

But silence and inaction reinforce the status quo. And avoidance speaks volumes— it communicates to students of color that racism doesn’t matter enough to warrant attention and, by omission, invalidates their experiences, perspectives, identities and lives. White students, on the other hand, often see racism being accepted and normalized, without acknowledgement or accountability.

To advance real solutions, we need to address real problems. As teachers, we have “teachable moments,” or opportunities to constructively and productively address race. But these opportunities need to be thoughtfully created, seized, planned and managed.

Get Involved

Want to be an agent for social justice in your school? Start with these resources, trainings and recommended actions.
Takeru Nagayoshi in front of his classroom.

Racial Justice in Education: Key Terms and Definitions

From "affirmative action" to "White Supremacy Culture," learn the meaning of important words and phrases we use to talk about racial justice.

Cultural Competence Trainings

Learn how culturally responsive instruction can close achievement gaps and help educators serve students from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

End the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Help combat zero tolerance and other exclusionary school discipline policies that pushing kids out of the classroom and into the criminal justice system.

7 Harmful Racial Discourse Practices to Avoid

We provide definitions for the practices and describe the specific negative effects these practices have on racial discourse.

White Supremacy Culture Resources

Resources to sharpen our racial analysis and deepen our understanding of White Supremacy Culture.

A Dialogue with ESPs about Racial Justice in Education

This informational webinar helps participants develop a shared understanding of racial justice in education and strategies to engage in dialogue with colleagues and community on the topic.
teacher in classroom with facemask

Get Support

Great educators create great public schools. NEA provides the training, tools, and community support for educators to engage students, nurture justice, and excel in their profession.
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.