4 practices for leaders to build equity

By Kiffany Pride
June 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the longstanding pattern of lower scholastic performance among marginalized groups of students negatively impacted by poverty, disability, and race (Kuhfeld et al., 2020; NCES, 2020). This gap in achievement demands that all of us question whether we are paying enough attention to educational equity in our schools and systems. Education leaders, in particular, have a responsibility to ensure equity for each student. Without intentional efforts, we are part of the problem and not the solution. As assistant commissioner of learning services in the Arkansas Department of Education, I believe that state leaders have a unique and important role to play in advocating for students and creating equity. We can help schools make systemic changes. That starts with establishing what equity

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In Arkansas, the unknown impact of COVID-19 on student learning created a heightened sense of urgency to confront inequities. Over the last year, the state department of education has engaged in four essential practices for building equity.


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Kuhfeld, M., Tarasawa, B., Johnson, A., Ruzek, E., & Lewis, K. (2020). Learning during COVID-19: Initial findings on students’ reading and math achievement and growth. NWEA Brief, 1-10.

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National Center for Education Statistics. (2020, November). Achievement gaps.

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Peurach, D.J., Cohen, D.K., Yurkofsky, M.M., & Spillane, J.P. (2019). From mass schooling to education systems: Changing patterns in the organization and management of instruction. Review of Research in Education, 43(1), 32-67.×18821131

Image for aesthetic effect only - Kiffany Pride-e1621445614693

Kiffany Pride ( is assistant commissioner of learning services in the Arkansas Department of Education.

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