Student talk in science class leads the way to equity in Detroit

By Kristie Ford and Kendra Welling-Riley
June 2021
The pursuit of racial equity in public education has a long history in the United States. For example, in the 1780s, 14 Black parents in Boston petitioned the Massachusetts Commonwealth’s legislature to give their children access to newly formed public schools (Hill, 1981). Since then, Black people, and people of color more broadly, have led heroic efforts for equal access, racial integration, fair school funding, and language equity in public schools. Although that initial petition was denied, the ongoing work has resulted in enormous changes in our public education system, from desegregation of public schools to dedicated federal funding for schools with low-income families and multilingual students (Stanford University, n.d.). Yet, despite decades of progress, racial inequities are a persistent, even paralyzing, presence in American

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Kristie Ford is executive director in the Office of Science at Detroit Public Schools Community District.

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Kendra Welling-Riley is training & support coordinator in the Office of Science at Detroit Public Schools Community District.

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