The education system in the United States is not just inequitable, but racist in design, which has resulted in vastly different learning experiences for students of color. As a result of a system tied to local tax bases, schools in communities of color continue to be overcrowded, under-funded, and less-resourced with a lower percentage of teachers who have advanced degrees. In addition, communities of color experience less access to high quality pre-school and prohibitive costs to college and universities. Furthermore, Black students are subject to discriminatory disciplining practices that feed the school to prison pipeline.

The shelter-in-place policies that have been in effect, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, has exaggerated inequities for many students of color who are unable to receive meals, lan [...]

Discipline and the School-to-Prison Pipeline

“A Battle for the Souls of Black Girls”
Erica L. Green, Mark Walker and Eliza Shapiro
The NY Times
Restorative Practices
Advancing Racial Equity in Schools, Vermont-NEA
Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected
Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw with Priscilla Ocen and Jyoti Nanda
The African American Policy Forum (AAPF); Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies, Columbia Law School
Breaking the Chains: The School-To-Prison Pipeline, Implicit Bias, and Racial Trauma
Zabrina Aleguire, Anna Basallaje, Christopher Bridges, et al.
Equal Justice Society
Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline: The Crisis Affecting Rochester’s Students and What We Can Do to Fix It
Metro Justice; Center for Teen Empowerment; Alliance for Quality Education (AQE); Advancement Project
Building Equalizing Schools Within Inclusive Communities: Strategies in the Classroom and Beyond that Redirect the School-to-Prison Pipeline
Susan Eaton and Linda DeLauri
Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, Harvard Law School
Discipline Policies, Successful Schools, And Racial Justice
Daniel J. Losen
National Education Policy Center
Growing Up With Injustice: A Case Study on School Discipline
Susan Cahn
Edward W. Hazen Foundation
Let Her Learn: A Toolkit to Stop School Push Out for Girls of Color
National Women’s Law Center
Mass Incarceration and Children’s Outcomes: Criminal Justice Policy Is Education Policy
Leila Morsy and Richard Rothstein
Economic Policy Institute
Miami-Dade County Public Schools: The Hidden Truth
Advancement Project and Power U Center for Social Change
Parent-to-Parent Guide: Restorative Justice in Chicago Public Schools - Stopping the School-to-Prison Pipeline
Racial Disproportionality in School Discipline: Implicit Bias is Heavily Implicated
Tom Rudd
Kirwan Institute
Reclaiming the Promise of Racial Equity in Education, Economics, and Our Criminal Justice System
American Federation of Teachers
School Discipline Consensus Report: Strategies from the Field to Keep Students Engaged in School and Out of the Juvenile Justice System
Emily Morgan et al.
The Council of State Government Justice Center
The $746 Million a Year School-to-Prison Pipeline: The Ineffective, Discriminatory, and Costly Process of Criminalizing New York City Students
Katherine Terenzi and Kesi Foster
Urban Youth Collaborative; The Center for Popular Democracy
We Came to Learn: A Call to Action for Police-Free Schools
The Advancement Project; Alliance for Educational Justice

Imagining New Futures in Education

Institutional Practices and Tools

Beacons of Hope: Stories of Transformation and Equity in California Schools
California Partnership for the Future of Learning
Campaign for Fiscal Equity
Alliance for Quality Education (NY)
The New Frontier: An Integrated Framework for Equity & Transformative Improvement in Education
Dr. Sheryl Petty
California Tomorrow
Districts Advancing Racial Equity (DARE) Tool
M. E. Hyler, D. Carver-Thomas, M. Wechsler, and L. Willis
Learning Policy Institute and the Southern Education Foundation
An Anti-Racist Agenda for State and Local Education Agencies
Poverty & Race Research Action Council
Education Resource Equity: Communications Toolkit
Alliance for Resource Equity: Education Resource Strategies (ERS) and The Education Trust
An Anti-Racist Agenda for State and Local Education Agencies
Poverty & Race Research Action Council
Unrealized Impact: The Case for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Xiomara Padamsee and Becky Crowe
Action for Access: Do Your Students Have Access?
Todd Lacher
Be Her Resource: A Toolkit About School Resource Officers and Girls of Color
Monique W. Morris, R. Epstein, and A. Yusuf
Center on Poverty and Inequality at Georgetown Law and National Black Women’s Justice Institute
Equity in Education: Addressing Racial/Ethnic Disproportionality in Special Education - Technical Assistance Manual for Identifying Root Causes
NYU Metropolitan Center for Urban Education
Equity in Education: Key Questions to Consider
Bruce Atchison, L. Diffey, A. Rafa, and M. Sarubbi
Education Commission of the States 
Landmark Lawsuit Filed in California to Make Trauma-Informed Practices Mandatory for all Public Schools
Sylvia Paul
ACEs Too High News
Policies to Eliminate Racial Disparities in Education: A Literature Review
Dr. Ann Curry-Stevens, A. Lopezrevorido, and D. Peters
Center to Advance Racial Equity at Portland State University
Promoting Children’s Well Being
Jeff Duncan Andrade
American Federation of Teachers
Racial Equity Analysis Tool
Seattle Public Schools
Racial Equity Analysis Tool Facilitator’s Guide
Racial Equity Tool: Policy Review Worksheet
Puget Sound Educational Service District
Racial/Ethnic Disproportionality in Special Education: Data Analysis Workbook
Dr. Edward Fergus and Roey Ahram
NYU Metropolitan Center for Urban Education
School-Wide Restorative Practices: Step by Step
Denver School-Based Restorative Practices Partnership
Supporting the Education Organizing Movement: An Exchange Between Intermediaries
Rosanna Bayon Moore and Susan Sandler
Justice Matters Institute
The Equity-Driven Systems Change (ESC) Model: A Toolkit for Improving Institutional Practice and Student Outcomes
Singhashri (Kica) Gazmuri, S. Petty, and E. Porter
California Tomorrow

Post K-12 Issues and Research

Anti-Racism in Higher Education: A Model for Change
Allison N. Ash, Redgina Hill, Stephen N. Risdon, Alexander Jun
Race and Pedagogy Journal
The Cost of Balancing Academia and Racism
Adrienne Green
The Atlantic

Post K-12 Resources and Practices

Imagining an Anti-Racist UC: Focusing on Staff as a Catalyst for Change
UC-CORO Systemwide Leadership Collaborative
Re-Imagining Outcomes-Based Funding: Using Metrics to Foster Higher Education Equity
The Education Trust
Reparations in Higher Education
Scholars for Social Justice
An Education in the Racial History of College and Community
Jennie S. Knight
Inside Higher Ed
Higher Education Webinar: Racial Equity Initiatives in Higher Eduation
Shaun R. Harper, Irina A. Faskianos
Council on Foreign Relations
Addressing Racial Equity in Education: K-12 Schools and Higher Ed
Amanda Albert
The Castle Group
Hard Truths: Why Only Race-Conscious Policies Can Fix Racism in Higher Education
 Tiffany Jones and Andrew Howard Nichols
The Education Trust
Higher Education Should Lead the Efforts to Reverse Structural Racism
F. A. Hrabowski III, P. H. Henderson, and J. K. Tracy
The Atlantic
Investing in Racial Equity: A Primer for College & University Endowments
Jochebed Bogunjoko et al.
Intentional Endowments Network (IEN), The Crane Institute of Sustainability
Audacious Future: Commitment Required
Racial Equity Task Force
University of Virginia
What Anti-Racist Teachers Do Differently
Pirette McKamey, The Atlantic
Student Activism in School: Getting Your Voice Heard – Resources, Inspiration and Expert Advice for Making a Difference On and Off Campus
Community for Accredited Online Schools
The Demands: A Resource for Campus Organizers Fighting for Equity and Justice in America
Black Liberation Collective

Resources for K-12 Teachers and Parents

Becoming an Anti-Racist Educator
Wheaton College Massachusetts
Social, Emotional, and Academic Development Through an Equity Lens
The Education Trust
What Anti-racism Really Means for Educators
Jamilah Pitts
Teaching Tolerance
Equity Matters
Montgomery County Public Schools, MD
What White Colleagues Need to Understand
Clarice Brazas, Charlie McGeehan, Teaching Tolerance Issue 64
Class Action: An Activist Teacher’s Handbook
Bhaskar Sunkara
Confronting White Nationalism in Schools: A Toolkit
Nora Flanagan, Jessica Acee, and Lindsay Schubiner
Western States Center (WSC)
Here Are Easy Ways to Have Tough Talks With Kids About Race
Mónica Novoa
Leading an Equity-Focused Response Through and Beyond COVID-19
NYC Leadership Academy
Learning English and Beyond: A Holistic Approach to Supporting English Learners in Afterschool and Youth Programs
Jhumpa Bhattacharya and Jimena Quiroga
Afterschool Matters; California Tomorrow
Racial Justice in Education: Resource Guide
National Education Association and Human and Civil Rights
Six Critical Paradigm Shifts for Multicultural Education
Paul Gorski
EdChange and the Multicultural Pavilion
WE ARE Educators for Justice
Abigail Smith and Justin Cohen
White Educators | Anti-Racist Educators

Segregation and Integration

2017 Infographic: School Segregation on Long Island
ERASE Racism
A Timeline of Boston School Desegregation, 1961-1985 with Emphasis on 1964-1976
Jeremy Wolff
Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern University School of Law
Boston Busing/Desegregation Project for Truth, Learning, and Change: Key Findings from Data Collection to Date
Union of Minority Neighborhoods
Brown at 60: Great Progress, a Long Retreat and an Uncertain Future
Gary Orfield, E. Frankenberg, J. Ee, and J. Kuscera
The Civil Rights Project
Education and the Path to One Nation, Indivisible
Linda Darling-Hammond
Learning Policy Institute
Failing Brown v. Board: A Continuous Struggle Against Inequity in Public Education
Journey for Justice Alliance
Heading in the Wrong Direction: Growing School Segregation on Long Island
ERASE Racism
Reviving the Goal of an Integrated Society: A 21st Century Challenge
Gary Orfield
The Civil Rights Project
Segregation at an Early Age
Erica Frankenberg
Center for Education and Civil Rights at Penn State
Segregation Now
Nikole Hannah-Jones
The Racist Origins of Private School Vouchers
Chris Ford, Stephenie Johnson, and Lisette Partelow
Center for American Progress
The Segregation of American Teachers
Erica Frankenberg
The Civil Rights Project ; SPLC
Unfinished Business: Linking Boston’s “Busing/Desegregation Crisis” to Struggles for Equity, Access and Excellence for All in Boston Today, 1974 to 2014
Union of Minority Neighborhoods

Testing, Student Outcomes, and Resource Access

Our Approach to Systemic Racism in Open Education
Angela DeBarger
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The Digital Divide and Homework Gap in Your State
National Education Association
After the Test: Closing the Achievement Gaps with Data
Kiley Walsh Symonds
Learning Point Associates and Bay Area School Reform Collaborative
Behind the Test Scores: Teaching and Learning Under Arrest
Olivia E. Araiza et al.
Justice Matters and the Data Center
Black Lives Matter: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males
Schott Foundation
Cheating Our Future: How Decades of Disinvestment by States Jeopardizes Equal Educational Opportunity
Alan Richard
The Leadership Conference Education Fund and Education Law Center
Death by a Thousand Cuts: Racism, School Closures, and Public School Sabotage
Journey for Justice Alliance
Five Key Trends in U.S. Student Performance
Martin Carnoy and Emma García
Economic Policy Institute
Responding to Educational Inequality: Addressing Race and Social Class Disparities to Increase Opportunity
Tina Trujillo et al.
Othering & Belonging Institute

“The ability to read, write and analyze; the confidence to stand up and demand justice and equality; the qualifications and connections to get your foot in that door and take your seat at that table − all of that starts with education.”

~ Michelle Obama, former First Lady


Making an Impact: Advancing Racial Equity in Schools – Race Forward

Also in this section:
  • Addressing Hate and White Supremacy

  • Criminal Justice

  • Employment and Labor

  • Health and Healthcare

  • Language Justice

  • Reparations

  • Voting Justice and Democracy Building

  • Children, Families, and Youth Development

  • Economic Development

  • Environmental Justice

  • Housing

  • Media and Technology

  • Reproductive Justice

  • Community Planning: Land and Transportation

  • Economic Security

  • Food Justice

  • Immigration and Refugee Rights

  • Philanthropy

  • Trauma, Violence, and Healing



In the context of racial equity work, accountability refers to the ways in which individuals and communities hold themselves to their goals and actions, and acknowledge the values and groups to which they are responsible.

To be accountable, one must be visible, with a transparent agenda and process. Invisibility defies examination; it is, in fact, employed in order to avoid detection and examination. Accountability demands commitment. It might be defined as “what kicks in when convenience runs out.” Accountability requires some sense of urgency and becoming a true stakeholder in the outcome. Accountability can be externally imposed (legal or organizational requirements), or internally applied (moral, relational, faith-based, or recognized as some combination of the two) on a continuum from the institutional and organizational level to the individual level. From a relational point of view, accountability is not always doing it right. Sometimes it’s really about what happens after it’s done wrong.

SOURCE:  Accountability and White Anti-Racist Organizing: Stories from Our Work, Bonnie Berman Cushing with Lila Cabbil, Margery Freeman, Jeff Hitchcock, and Kimberly Richards (2010). 

Related Resources:  Accountability

Location: PLAN / Change Process

Black Lives Matter

A political movement to address systemic and state violence against African Americans. Per the Black Lives Matter organizers: “In 2013, three radical Black organizers—Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi—created a Black-centered political will and movement building project called #BlackLivesMatter. It was in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman. The project is now a member-led global network of more than 40 chapters. [Black Lives Matter] members organize and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.” 

SOURCE:  Black Lives Matter, “Herstory” (accessed 7 October 2019).


When people act to perpetuate oppression or prevent others from working to eliminate oppression. 

Example: Able-bodied people who object to strategies for making buildings accessible because of the expense.

SOURCE:  Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook, edited by Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin (Routledge, 1997).

Institutional Racism

Institutional racism refers specifically to the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups. The institutional policies may never mention any racial group, but their effect is to create advantages for whites and oppression and disadvantage for people from groups classified as people of color.


  • Government policies that explicitly restricted the ability of people to get loans to buy or improve their homes in neighborhoods with high concentrations of African Americans (also known as “red-lining”).

  • City sanitation department policies that concentrate trash transfer stations and other environmental hazards disproportionately in communities of color.

SOURCE:  Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building by Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Donna Bivens, and Barbara Major (2005).

Related Resources:  Racism (scroll down alphabetically to the box for “Institutional Racism”)

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

Movement Building

Movement building is the effort of social change agents to engage power holders and the broader society in addressing a systemic problem or injustice while promoting an alternative vision or solution. Movement building requires a range of intersecting approaches through a set of distinct stages over a long-term period of time. Through movement building, organizers can:

  • Propose solutions to the root causes of social problems.

  • Enable people to exercise their collective power.

  • Humanize groups that have been denied basic human rights and improve conditions for the groups affected.

  • Create structural change by building something larger than a particular organization or campaign.

  • Promote visions and values for society based on fairness, justice, and democracy.

SOURCE:  Julie Quiroz-Martinez, From the Roots: Building the Power of Communities of Color to Challenge Structural Racism (Akonadi Foundation, 2010), citing the Movement Strategy Center, which offers these further definitions.

Related Resources:  Movement Building

Location: PLAN / Change Process


The systematic subjugation of one social group by a more powerful social group for the social, economic, and political benefit of the more powerful social group. Rita Hardiman and Bailey Jackson state that oppression exists when the following 4 conditions are found:

  • the oppressor group has the power to define reality for themselves and others,

  • the target groups take in and internalize the negative messages about them and end up cooperating with the oppressors (thinking and acting like them),

  • genocide, harassment, and discrimination are systematic and institutionalized, so that individuals are not necessary to keep it going, and

  • members of both the oppressor and target groups are socialized to play their roles as normal and correct.

Oppression = Power + Prejudice

SOURCE:  What Is Racism?” − Dismantling Racism Works (dRworks) web workbook.

Racial Inequity

Racial inequity is when two or more racial groups are not standing on approximately equal footing, such as the percentages of each ethnic group in terms of dropout rates, single family home ownership, access to healthcare, etc.

SOURCE:  Ibram X. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist, Random House, 2019.

Racist Policies

A racist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between or among racial groups. Policies are written and unwritten laws, rules, procedures, processes, regulations, and guidelines that govern people. There is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy. Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity between racial groups. Racist policies are also expressed through other terms such as “structural racism” or “systemic racism”. Racism itself is institutional, structural, and systemic.

SOURCE:  Ibram X. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist, Random House, 2019.

Related Resources:  Laws and Policies

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / History of Racism and Movements

For specific topics, also see PLAN / Issues


States have a legal duty to acknowledge and address widespread or systematic human rights violations, in cases where the state caused the violations or did not seriously try to prevent them. Reparations initiatives seek to address the harms caused by these violations. They can take the form of compensating for the losses suffered, which helps overcome some of the consequences of abuse. They can also be future oriented—providing rehabilitation and a better life to victims—and help to change the underlying causes of abuse. Reparations publicly affirm that victims are rights-holders entitled to redress.

SOURCE:  International Center for Transitional Justice.

Related Resources:  Reparations

Location: PLAN / Issues

Structural Racism

  1. The normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics – historical, cultural, institutional, and interpersonal – that routinely advantage Whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color. Structural racism encompasses the entire system of White domination, diffused and infused in all aspects of society including its history, culture, politics, economics, and entire social fabric. Structural racism is more difficult to locate in a particular institution because it involves the reinforcing effects of multiple institutions and cultural norms, past and present, continually reproducing old and producing new forms of racism. Structural racism is the most profound and pervasive form of racism – all other forms of racism emerge from structural racism.

  2. For example, we can see structural racism in the many institutional, cultural, and structural factors that contribute to lower life expectancy for African American and Native American men, compared to white men. These include higher exposure to environmental toxins, dangerous jobs and unhealthy housing stock, higher exposure to and more lethal consequences for reacting to violence, stress, and racism, lower rates of health care coverage, access, and quality of care, and systematic refusal by the nation to fix these things.


  1. Chronic Disparity: Strong and Pervasive Evidence of Racial Inequalities by Keith Lawrence, Aspen Institute on Community Change, and Terry Keleher, Applied Research Center, for the Race and Public Policy Conference (2004).

  2. Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building by Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Donna Bivens, and Barbara Major (2005).

Related Resources:  Structural Racism

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

White Supremacy

The idea (ideology) that white people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to People of Color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. While most people associate white supremacy with extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis, white supremacy is ever present in our institutional and cultural assumptions that assign value, morality, goodness, and humanity to the white group while casting people and communities of color as worthless (worth less), immoral, bad, and inhuman and “undeserving.” Drawing from critical race theory, the term “white supremacy” also refers to a political or socio-economic system where white people enjoy structural advantage and rights that other racial and ethnic groups do not, both at a collective and an individual level.

SOURCE: “What Is Racism?” − Dismantling Racism Works (dRworks) web workbook.

Related Resources:  System of White Supremacy and White Privilege and Addressing Hate and White Supremacy

Locations: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts and PLAN / Issues