Building Systemic Equity in Urban Education

Dr. Joe Gothard, Superintendent of St. Paul Public Schools

Education has reached a tipping point; people are waking up to the idea that we can and should do things in a different way. The challenge is how to actually enact change in a large urban district.

St. Paul Public Schools reaches 35,000 students, 79%  of whom identify as a race other than white, with 125 languages spoken by these students at home.

In this episode, we talk with SPPS Superintendent Dr. Joe Gothard about what needs to be done to build systemic equity into our urban education system.

Our conversation runs the gamut of hot topics facing K-12 education, including:

  • How COVID-19 brought to light so many disparities among urban students and their families and what school districts must do to bridge those gaps
  • Digital natives vs. digital immigrants and how this affects the teacher-student relationship
  • What's wrong with our high school graduation requirements, and why it's affecting our students' workforce readiness
  • Making tough decisions, like school closures, for the long-term benefit of all students
  • Building systemic equity into every aspect of your district's culture, strategy and initiatives
  • How to include parents and families into DEI conversations and initiatives: the two-generation approach

One word appears consistently in our conversation on systemic equity: identity. How can education do a better job of supporting each individual student's passions, interests and needs, and then help them build their identity?

We answer all these and more in this fascinating conversation with Dr. Gothard.

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