Equity Literacy

  • Recognize biases and inequities 
  • Address inequities in the short and long-term 
  • Create bias-free, equitable, and anti-racist classrooms and institutions
  • Develop mindsets and practices aligned to New York State and NYC Public Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Education Framework

Paul Gorski describes equity literacy as a “...framework for cultivating the knowledge and skills that enable us to be a threat to the existence of inequity in our spheres of influence.” Equity literacy enables us to look critically at ourselves, the world around us, and the underlying systemic factors that create the inequities we see everyday. Equity literacy gives us the tools to end long-standing racial, ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic disparities across the NYC Public Schools and direct resources to communities most in need. This work is entrenched in the desire and moral obligation to provide all students and families with necessary access to the full landscape of high-quality education.

Equity literacy is especially important in this time as our city and nation mourns and marches for equity and racial justice. How do we make sense of the time we are in? How do we understand it as a reflection of generational trauma and systemic and institutional inequities? What knowledge, skills, and dispositions do we need to bring to bear to make sure the system does not go back to the status quo? This is equity literacy.

Overall Essential Questions 

  • How do my identities, biases, privileges, and positionality, influence how I see myself, my students, colleagues, families, and communities, and the world around me?
  • How do I define identity and culture? How does my identity and culture influence how I interact and connect with students and families?
  • How can I understand the history of race, racism, and racial violence in the United States? 
  • How do I facilitate adult conversations about race, racism, and racial violence? 
  • How do I start the conversation with students about race, racism, and racial violence?
  • How do I cultivate anti-racist practice in my personal, professional and organizational life?

Implicit Bias Awareness Workshop

Participate in the NYC Public Schools' foundational Implicit Bias Awareness Workshop.

For the past five years, over 80,000 NYC educators have attended the Implicit Bias Awareness foundational workshop, either in-person or virtually. NYC Public Schools are offering the foundational Implicit Bias Awareness (IBA) Workshop fully asynchronously. The workshop consists of four modules. All NYC Public Schools staff are encouraged to engage in this online learning. (Completion time is three hours.)

Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Education (CRSE) Implementation Supports

The NYSED Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Education (CRSE) Framework was adopted by New York State in 2018, and by NYC Public Schools in 2019. In early 2023, NYC Public Schools has launched multiple CRSE initiatives aimed at supporting educators and school communities strengthen their understanding and implementation of CRSE. 

NYC Public Schools is proud to offer a Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Education (CRSE) Foundations asynchronous online course via WeLearn NYC. All NYC Schools staff are encouraged to engage in this learning. (Completion time is three hours.)

Additional Equity Literacy Supports

How do my identities, biases, privileges, and position influence how I see myself, my students, colleagues, families, and communities, and the world around me?

Kirwan Institute Implicit Bias Module Series The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity is one of the foremost experts on the study of Implicit Bias. To extend your learning, visit this module series.

Project Implicit The Implicit Association Test (IAT) measures attitudes and beliefs that people may be unwilling or unable to report. The IAT may be especially interesting if it shows that you have an implicit attitude that you did not know about.

Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life Professor of Psychology and Education Derald Wing Sue discusses the psychology of racism and anti-racism and the issue of racial microaggressions. Racial microaggressions are the brief and everyday slights, insults, indiginities, and denigrating messages sent to people of color who are unaware of the messages being communicated.

How can I understand the history of race, racism, and racial violence in the United States? 

There are many great resources on equity literacy, the history of race, racism, and racial violence in the United States. The corresponding links provide curated book lists to deepen your knowledge and skills to dialogue and act for racial justice. This includes booklists and syllabus from Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to be an Anti-Racist, the Schomburg Center, and Anti-Racist Resource Guide

The 1619 Project Curriculum Inaugurated with a special issue of The New York Times Magazine, challenges us to reframe U.S. history by marking the year when the first enslaved Africans arrived on Virginia soil as our nation's foundational date. Here you will find reading guides, activities, and other resources to bring The 1619 Project into your classroom.

A Conversation on Race This resource from the New York Times includes a series of videos on different racial and ethnic groups describing their experiences with racism, including the following: 

  • A Conversation with my Black Son
  • A Conversation About Growing Up Black
  • A Conversation With Black Women on Race
  • A Conversation with Latinos on Race
  • A Conversation with Asian-Americans on Race
  • A Conversation with Native Americans on Race 
  • A Conversation with White People on Race
  • A Conversation with Police on Race 

We Need to Talk About Injustice In this Ted Talk, Bryan Stevenson discusses injustice and systemic inequalities in the United States.

American Federation of Teachers: Share My Lesson A three-part series that explores the many ways black Americans face racial bias. These short films—Racism is Real, Black Protests vs. White Riots, and Prison System by the Numbers—explore the effects of racial bias on the lives of black Americans and the ways in which racism impacts American society as a whole.

The Massacre of Black Wall Street This multimedia resource tells the often untold story of Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood District, known as Black Wall Street and the wave of racial violence in 1921 that destroyed what many called a “beacon of black prosperity and security.”

How do I facilitate conversations about race, racism, and racial violence?

Conversation Ground Rules Fundamental ground rules or community agreements allow for open and productive dialogue to take place about difficult subjects. Catalyst provides examples of ground rules to use in multiple contexts.

Navigating Triggering Events: Critical Skills for Facilitating Difficult Dialogues Author Kathy Obear notes that “facilitators and participants bring...their fears, biases, stereotypes, memories of past traumas” to learning environments. The Triggering Cycle is a helpful tool for facilitators to effectively navigate triggering events during workshops or conversations.

Guidance for Central Office Leaders to Discuss BLM Protests Created by the NYC Public Schools' Office of Organizational Development and Effectiveness (ODE), this guidance document provides considerations for creating space for dialogue, prepping for the conversation, and a facilitator guide to support you through the conversation.

Effective Facilitation: Relationship is the Measure of Your Strength Director of Community Affairs Sadye Campoamor put together this facilitator guide to engage the community in conversations about the times we are in and what does it look like to have an anti-racist school community.

How do I start the conversation with students about race, racism, and racial violence?

Center for Racial Justice in Education The Center for Racial Justice in Education has tons of resources for talking about race, racism and racialized violence with kids. CRJE is also a local organization that provides support to schools and districts.

Anti-Racism for Kids 101: Starting to Talk About Race If you’re nervous about talking about race with your kids, these books about racial diversity will give you an easy place to start destigmatizing difference & celebrating racial diversity.

National Museum of African American History & Culture: Talking About Race (Educator Section)This web resource directed at educators seeks to equip teachers with “the context and methods necessary to help your students be more racially conscious ... [and] assist them in becoming agents of change.”

Teaching Tolerance: Let’s Talk! This guide provides strategies for planning and facilitating critical class discussions on topics such as white privilege, police violence, economic inequality and mass incarceration 

Facing History: Preparing Students for Difficult Conversations In this lesson plan from the Facing History unit Facing Ferguson: News Literacy in a Digital Age, students establish a safe space for holding difficult conversations, acknowledge one another’s complicated feelings about race, and develop a shared understanding of the basic facts surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri

How do I cultivate anti-racist practice in my personal and organizational life?

106 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice This article from Medium is continually updated to ensure the strategies and tasks articulated in the article are up to date.

10 Ways Youth Can Engage in Activism The article provides concrete strategies and ideas for how youth can engage in activism and become powerful agents for change. 

Antiracist Allyship Starter Pack A comprehensive list of resources and tools regarding racism and anti-racism. The document is organized by articles, resource compilations, books, petitions, podcasts, film/video and much more.

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