Beyond random acts of equity

Courageous conversation about transforming systemic culture

By Glenn Singleton
October 2018
Vol. 39 No. 5
Schools cannot achieve racial equity without explicit processes for leaders and staff to examine their personal, professional, and organizational beliefs about race. But in 25 years of working with schools and organizations in the United States and abroad, I have learned that educational systems are deeply challenged to examine their beliefs about racial equity. This is especially true when those beliefs have been polished with the superficial and aspirational jargon of mission and vision statements. The language in these statements is revealing. For example, “broadening” — that is, shortening — the term “racial equity” to just “equity” reflects a paucity of knowledge, skill, and will to engage with race. To systemically transform professional learning to integrate a racial equity lens, we need to address this

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Glenn Singleton

Glenn Singleton ( is the founder and president of Pacific Educational Group in San Francisco, California, and the creator of Courageous Conversation.

Courageous Conversation engages those who won’t talk, sustains the conversation when it gets uncomfortable or diverted, and deepens the conversation to the point where authentic understanding and meaningful actions can occur.


Professional learning to foster systemic transformation for equity must address and facilitate practices that teach stakeholders at the board, central office, building, classroom, and community levels to:

  • Develop the skill to talk about race;
  • Acquire knowledge of how race is constructed and understand its intersection with schooling;
  • Build the capacity to interrogate how systems operate to institutionalize beliefs about race; and
  • Summon the will to interrupt systems that yield unwanted, racially predictable, and disproportionate results.

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