The teachers, parents, and community members gathered in the library of National Teachers Academy quickly zeroed in on a common issue their schools faced – the parents involved in their schools didn’t reflect the racial makeup of the student bodies.
Coming from all over the city, the 30-plus attendees arrived early on Saturday morning for a summit hosted by non-profit Chicago United for Equity, which meets with community members across the city to arm them with tools for tackling inequity. In Chicago, whites make up 10 percent of the student population, but half the teachers in the district are white and anecdotally, white parents tend to be overrepresented in parent groups and school governance.
Even at the event, attendees struggled with what strategies would be appropriate to bring back to their schools, comprising mostly people of color. Most of the attendees were white women, a small representation of the diverse schools they represented.
“We hold these events with the intention of cultivating a support network, whether that’s in one neighborhood, or across three neighborhoods that are facing similar issues,” said Niketa Brar, executive director of Chicago United for Equity.
Brar shared a framework for measuring and following through with plans for promoting equity.