As inequality rises, so must our expectations.

Most educators are aware of the growing opportunity gaps among K12 students. In this post I’m going to share strategies that teachers say are helping them support equity and social justice.

Our new white paper on curriculum transformation offers more ideas. Interested? Contact me for a copy.  (santone at

Strategy 1) Value cultural, linguistic, and familial “capital.”

Students and their families have knowledge, values, and stories that are untapped stepping stones to what they need to succeed in school and the work world. When you ask students, “What in your experience helps you make sense of this content?” it prompts them to dig deep and bring their own stories into the curriculum. And when they tell their own stories, learning becomes personal. They talk and listen, evaluate ideas together, and apply learning in meaningful ways.

Strategy 2) Cultivate social emotional learning.

Curriculum that develops skills such as social awareness and self-care can help students develop resilience and the physical and emotional wellbeing that is the basis for academic learning. Authentic projects that enable students to set goals, assess behaviors, and collaborate with others promise personal and academic benefits.

Strategy 3) Support equity with content that teaches it.

Success isn’t just about “grit.” Students must interrogate the larger forces shaping their lives and communities. Curriculum should address structural inequalities and provide opportunities for students to affect change. When students see possibilities, they develop a growth mindset that enables them to see their potential.

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