A vision for equity starts at the top

By Alan Ingram
October 2018
Vol. 39 No. 5
“Hey, that’s not fair!” It’s a credo repeated righteously on play scapes or amongst young siblings regularly. Unfair treatment, even at that early age, stirs a visceral reaction no matter who’s involved. And while the consequences of inequitable treatment may be as benign as an extra turn on the swing or a more lenient bedtime, the stakes are much higher when the inequities exist within the realm of education. I turned to a career in public education in 1996, having served 22 years in the U.S. Air Force. It was a natural next step in my commitment to public service and the ideals of making a meaningful difference in the lives of children of all creeds, colors, and backgrounds. There is no arguing that the most

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Alan Ingram

Alan Ingram is president of Learning Forward.

Starting Point For Leaders

One example of an excellent resource is the Tennessee Leaders for Equity Playbook. The playbook serves as a tool — not a mandate — and outlines seven equity commitments aimed at assisting leaders to make the needed shifts in mindset and practice that benefit all students.
The Tennessee ESSA Leadership Learning Community developed the playbook as part of a joint initiative with the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Council of Great City Schools, the National Urban League and The Wallace Foundation, with input and feedback from a comprehensive group of stakeholders.

This resource offers an actionable framework and a flexible resource to support school districts and community leaders in improving schools and outcomes for all students. The playbook is available at


U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. (2018). 2015-16 civil rights data collection: School climate and safety. Washington, DC: Author.

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