By 2045, according to latest census projections, Non-Hispanic Whites will no longer make up the majority of the U.S. population. “Minorities,” including people identifying as African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian/Pacific islander—and as having two or more races—will constitute a numerical majority.
It becomes more apparent to education experts, as that diverse future draws closer, that our nation has a long way to go in protecting rights and ensuring opportunities for all. Studies show that disparities in academic performance between most minority students and their Non-Hispanic White peers have worsened during the COVID pandemic.
As education researchers and reformers at institutions across the country work to tackle the resulting challenges, Norma L. Day-Vines, associate dean for diversity and faculty development at the Johns Hopkins School of Education, stresses that educational institutions mustn’t leave themselves out of the equation.
“One dangerous assumption we often entertain in academia is that we have it all figured out,” says Day-Vines. “But that’s not always true. We need to be honest about where we are falling short.”
She and her colleagues are embarking on the Johns Hopkins School of Education’s first-ever, comprehensive, schoolwide equity audit. Essentially, equity audits help unveil educational ecosystems that may have a disproportionate impact on SOE community members from marginalized groups. The audit reflects an internal review of policies, practices, procedures, systems, and data points, as well as engagement with stakeholders, in an effort to identity the school’s strengths, weakness, and opportunities for improvement relative to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The communitywide process will aid not only in building more equitable and inclusive practices, but also in working together more effectively.
“We need to be just as scientific about improving ourselves as we are about improving education,” Day-Vines says. “Because we can’t teach diversity, equity, and inclusion effectively unless we are practicing it effectively ourselves.”