NSVF Summit 2018: Moving Beyond Diversity to True Inclusion

Leaders often shy away from public discussion of our work to deepen diversity, inclusion, and equity in our organizations for fear of saying the wrong thing, being or making others uncomfortable, taking credit for the work of the collective, conveying that we have “the answers”, and so many other reasons. At the recent NewSchools Summit, Jovian Zayne and Xiomara Padamsee organized a session where four courageous leaders did the opposite - they stepped up to share a bit about their individual and organizational journeys, imperfections and all, with the hopes that their perspectives could help to inform and fuel others’ continued progress.


Interrupting White Dominance to Make Good on the Promise of Equity

Today, on the 64th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, I find myself reflecting deeply on the intent of this landmark decision. I believe the spirit of this decision was a promise to decouple race from access in order to eventually remove the predictability of success or failure as correlated with any identity, which is the definition of equity.

We have yet to deliver on that promise.


Who Are the Winners and Losers in Performance-Based Compensation?

The other day I left a working session with a client where we were tackling the question of whether and how their team members should be compensated based on performance. Inevitably, it was a challenging and values-laden conversation. Performance-based compensation is an approach where some or all monetary compensation is related to how employee performance is assessed relative to stated criteria. This model is intriguing enough that it comes up in virtually every compensation or performance management project I’ve ever been involved in.


On Being in the Closet at St. Ignatius

I distinctly remember one gay teacher while I was a student at St. Ignatius College Preparatory School in Chicago. Or, at least we all thought he was gay. He taught Spanish and was unapologetically flamboyant. I never had the pleasure of having him as a teacher, nor did I ever have a teacher who was openly gay until graduate school — I cried when she said it in passing on the first day of class. I don’t know if the Spanish teacher ever came out to students or ever said that he was gay. Frankly, it was none of our business. Even without the “official” confirmation, the students loved him. It was said that he was one of the best Spanish teachers in the department.


Two Ways Compensation And Diversity Should Not Be At Odds

At this time of year, schools are buzzing with the sounds of potential new teachers, school leaders, and other team members. Candidates are touring schools, presenting sample lessons, and interviewing, all with the end goal of an accepted offer. Given talent shortages in some areas of the country, Bellwether’s Talent Advising team has seen increased interest from both traditional and charter public school systems in redesigning their compensation approaches to best position them to attract top talent. Despite renewed energy in our sector to create diverse, equitable, and inclusive teams of adults that will then better create equitable and inclusive environments for students, existing diversity conversations don’t talk enough about compensation, and vice versa.


Diversity: Necessary (But Insufficient)

Our country has a long history of social movements that fight inequity, injustice, and institutionalized oppression and which are led by marginalized or oppressed groups. But the educational equity “movement” is unique in that it has, from the beginning, been led largely by white, economically privileged leaders and funders, while the communities most impacted by educational injustice are largely brown, black, and poor. The outcomes of this disconnect are approaches, practices, and structures that are not deeply and authentically informed by the communities being served. They often lack sociological and cultural context and relevance.