Sparking dialogue that leads to action

By Suzanne Bouffard
June 2021

Equity is a focus in every issue of The Learning Professional and in all of Learning Forward’s work. In recognition of the urgency of this work, in 2021 we are devoting two full issues to how educators can leverage professional learning to achieve equity for all students, starting with this issue on Action for Racial Equity.

This year, @LearningForward is devoting two full #TheLearningPro issues to how educators can leverage PL to achieve #equity for all students, starting with this issue on Action for Racial Equity. Click To Tweet

Since the publication of The Learning Professional’s 2018 issue on equity — one of the most widely read in our publication’s history — a lot has changed and not enough has changed. Bias, discrimination, and racism are as entrenched as ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight on structural inequities in health, safety, and education, while video documentation of police brutality and hate crimes have made longstanding patterns of racist violence more widely visible than ever. Public conversations about racism and increasing protests against police brutality present opportunities to make change and act boldly — if we seize them.

Like many organizations, Learning Forward has stated our commitment to antiracism. And we recognize that statements are not enough — they must be backed by action. In addition to taking action in our organization, in our revised Standards for Professional Learning, and in our professional services, we also aim to elevate the actions of other organizations, systems, and individuals to inform and inspire our readers.

To achieve equity, statements aren’t enough. — @SuzanneBouffard #TheLearningPro Click To Tweet

We decided to focus this issue on the theme of action because changing perceptions and beliefs is important and fundamental work, but it is not enough. We encourage readers to revisit our past publications to engage in that fundamental work, and to keep going. Now is a time for going further, for taking action.

No one can do this work alone. We are honored and humbled to produce this issue in partnership with guest editor Tanji Reed Marshall of the Education Trust. A passionate and wise scholar, educator, and communicator, she has brought a wealth of knowledge and insight to this collection of articles and continues to build our consciousness.

There is so much important equity work to do, and so much transformative work already occurring, that we cannot possibly feature all of it in one issue. With this set of articles, we have aimed to elevate diverse voices and initiatives, but this issue is not a definitive set of perspectives or resources. It is a place to dive in, from which to dig deeper.

Our December issue, on the topic of Leadership for Equity, will be another opportunity for deep engagement. We urge our readers to continue learning about equity from our other issues of The Learning Professional, additional Learning Forward and Education Trust work, and the many excellent resources available from other organizations and experts.

A note about terminology: The Learning Professional follows the style guidelines from the Associated Press, but we honor authors’ choices about terminology with regard to race and ethnicity. For example, some articles in this and other issues use the term African American while others use Black, and we usually capitalize the terms Black and Brown, but, in some cases, authors have requested to follow a different convention.

It is our hope that these articles will spark dialogue that leads to action. In the coming months, Learning Forward will facilitate webinars and social media conversations based on the issues raised here, build on them in our virtual annual conference, and continually seek and provide opportunities for engagement and growth. Be sure to subscribe to our email list and follow us on social media — @LearningForward and using our new hashtag #TheLearningPro — to join us.

Image for aesthetic effect only - Suzanne-bouffard
Senior Vice President, Communications & Publications | + posts

Suzanne Bouffard is senior vice president of communications and publications at Learning Forward. She is the editor of The Learning Professional, Learning Forward’s flagship publication. She also contributes to the Learning Forward blog and webinars. With a background in child development, she has a passion for making research and best practices accessible to educators, policymakers, and families. She has written for many national publications including The New York Times and the Atlantic, and previously worked as a writer and researcher at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Duke University and a B.A. from Wesleyan University. She loves working with authors to help them develop their ideas and voices for publication.

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