School District of Philadelphia headquarters - TLK

The School District of Philadelphia launched a multi-year effort recently to confront inequality.  —Tribune Photo/Abdul R. Sulayman

Following the national reckoning over racism this summer and criticism from staff and student advocates over its commitment to providing equitable opportunities, the School District of Philadelphia launched a multi-year effort recently to confront inequality.

“As a district, there are things that we can do to ensure that, at least when children are in schools … they have every opportunity to achieve,” Superintendent William Hite said at a press conference. “We want to disrupt or eliminate all those systems that have disadvantaged some individuals.”

The ‘equity coalition’ will be housed in the Office of the Superintendent, and consist of subcommittees made up of administrative staff, principals, and teachers.

Long term, the coalition plans to come up with a systemwide “equity lens” that will be used to change policy around things like educator diversity, racial disparities in achievement, and underrepresentation of Black and Latino students in advanced courses.

In the short term, though, the coalition’s goals are modest: over the next year, the coalition will conduct a districtwide equity audit and a needs assessment to develop priorities the coalition plans to accomplish in year two.

This article first appeared on WHYY.org.

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