As we transition to digital learning models, due to COVID-19, it’s important to remember that students with disabilities, those without access to the internet, and other under-represented populations are at higher risk of experiencing school closures more intensely.
To help ensure equity for all students, ask yourself the following questions when planning digital instruction:
CLARIFYING YOUR GOALS
- What kind of decision is under consideration (e.g., policy, program, budget)?
- Do all my students have access to the internet? If not, who does? Who does not?
- Should I assign digital work to students if I don’t know whether they have internet access? How much flexibility should be built into digital learning experiences and assignments?
- How do I ensure my students with disabilities are properly accommodated?
- What results or changes am I seeking that advance racial/social justice?
ENGAGING NECESSARY STAKEHOLDERS
- Who is most directly impacted (think: those who are marginalized or under-represented, e.g., educators or students of color, students with disabilities, rural students, lowest-paid workers)?
- How can they be meaningfully engaged and empowered in this process?
- What is the relevant history and current context?
- What data do we have, and what do we need? Is it disaggregated by race?
- Who benefits, and who is most burdened? How are different racial/ethnic groups affected differently?
- What are the root causes of the problem? Are there intersecting dynamics?
- What proposed solutions can address the root causes, remedy existing negative impacts, and change systems?
- How will this proposal advance racial and social justice, equity, and inclusion?
- What are the positive and negative impacts on different racial communities?
- How will marginalized groups and communities of color benefit from each option?
- How can this help counteract dominant patterns of white supremacy?
- What positive values, norms, and narratives can we affirm and project?
- How does this align with our values, vision, mission, and priorities?
DECIDING A SOLUTION
- What are the pros and cons of each option?
- Are there ways to revise the options to prevent adverse consequences?
- Which option best advances equity?
DEVELOPING AN IMPLEMENTATION PLAN
- What strategies, staffing, and funding are needed to ensure success?
- What is the implementation plan and timetable? Who will move it forward?
- How will we document and measure progress? What are the success indicators?
- How can we ensure ample communication, participation, and accountability?
OPERATIONALIZING EQUITABLE CHANGE
- How can we operationalize equity practices to sustain success?
- How do we institute these changes, so they become ongoing practices, protocols, and habits, i.e., a part of our organizational culture?