OUR MISSION : TEACHERS FOR RACIAL EQUITY IN EDUCATION
Teachers for Racial Equity in Education, known shortly as TREE, was borne out of necessity. From the worldview of a Black female educator leader raised in the mostly white “utopian” city of Portland, Or., the needs of students, families, adults, educators, and institutions of public education - in regards to racial equity - were magnified tenfold. They were also broadly cast and widely varied - from funding for prescription glasses for a small brown boy to workshops for educators on interrupting racism; from attending a principal meeting in order to assist in parent advocacy, to building social justice lesson plans for teachers beginning to understand race’s role in society. The request, inquiries, and needs pour in like a fast water spigot. Realizing that no one Black or Brown educator is the expert on all things Black or Brown in education, TREE’s aim is to utilize many educators of color in a network, whose expertise most closely matches the need of each individual, family, or agency. The dismantling of racism within systems is necessary for the optimal success of students, families, educators, and institutions of color, and TREE seeks to help individuals and agencies meet those needs.
To facilitate the growth and empowerment of individuals and agencies in their educational endeavors, using their own strengths to apply to unique challenges they face, in order to narrow - and eventually close - the racial achievement gap.
To use collaborative planning, observations, data inquiry, planning, training, tutoring, advocacy, and action steps in a non-evaluative, objective, collaborative manner - with an end goal of self-sufficiency for the client.
To utilize the expertise of a network of educators, leaders, and community members with the focus on racial equity in education for all.
DATA AND RATIONALE
There is not a public educational institution in the nation that does not have a racial achievement gap. Though poverty is an indicator, it is less of a predictor of school achievement than is race. This rings true in primary, secondary, baccalaureate, graduate, and trade schools. According to Stanford University researchers, who analyzed over 200 million test scores, every school that has a population of children of color, has an achievement gap. More specifically:
One sixth of all students attend public school in school districts where average test scores are more than a grade level below the national average; one sixth are in districts where test scores are more than a grade level above the national average.
The most and least socioeconomically advantaged districts have average performance levels more than four grade levels apart.
Average test scores of black students are, on average, roughly two grade levels lower than those of white students in the same district; the Hispanic-white difference is roughly one- and-a-half grade levels.
Achievement gaps are larger in districts where black and Hispanic students attend higher poverty schools than their white peers; where parents on average have high levels of educational attainment; and where large racial/ethnic gaps exist in parents’ educational attainment.
The size of the gaps has little or no association with average class size, a district’s per capita student spending or charter school enrollment. (Reardon, Sean. Stanford Graduate School of Education, “Local Education Inequities across the US Revealed in Stanford Data Set,” 29 Apr 2016, http://news.stanford.edu/2016/04/29/local-education-inequities-across-u-s-revealed-new-stanford-data-set/)
The study continues on to say that this gap “is inextricably linked to unequal allocation of resources among schools; and that policies that don’t address this will fail to remedy racial inequality.” Resources, however valuable, are not limited to tangibles. The number one indicator of success of a child in school is an educator who is a conscious, active participant in closing the gap. One who examines their own biases in order to ensure the success of children who show up differently than they. Therefore, a culturally incompetent, apathetic educator or institution is more of a lack of resource than is the absence of a shipment of the latest tablets or laptops.
Stanford University is not the only entity to verify this truth. There is data as far back as student test score data has been collected, as well as thousands of dissertations, theses, scholarly articles, studies, and analyses from the most reputable and prestigious universities. Most compelling, one may ask students, staff, and parents of color, and they will have a personal anecdote to corroborate this truth. But the gap is not destiny. TREE Consulting offers the training and advocacy to students, parents, agencies, and other stakeholders to dismantle systemic racism in education.