Equity Approach

The Groundwater Approach to

Equity by the Racial Equity Institute

While I believe that educational Equity is important, it is just one piece of the bigger inequity problem our society faces. I have received extensive training through the Racial Equity Institute. I believe that the systems we live in are complex and therefore I do not narrowly view educational equity from an educational perspective but through health care, education, law enforcement, child welfare, and finance, to name a few, it is all connected. As an educational equity leader I consider ALL aspects of society. The Groundwater metaphor is designed to help practitioners at all levels internalize the reality that we live in a racially structured society, and that that is what causes racial inequity. The metaphor is based on three observations:

I believe that:

  • racial inequity looks the same across systems,

  • socio-economic difference does not explain the racial inequity; and,

  • inequities are caused by systems, regardless of people’s culture or behavior.

Inequities Across Systems

African Americans are 1.5 times more likely to be below “proficient” in reading in the 4th grade (NAEP).

African Americans are 2.3 times more likely to experience infant death (CDC).

African Americans are 3.7 times more likely to be suspended in K-12 (ED and OCR).

African Americans are 2.7 times more likely be searched on a traffic stop (BJS).

African Americans are 7.0 times more likely to be incarcerated as adults (BJS).

African Americans are 1.8 times more likely to be identified as victims by the child welfare system (DHHS).

African Americans are 2.1 times more likely to be in foster care (DHHS).

African American business owners are 5.2 times more likely to be denied a loan (SBA).

African American business owners are 1.7 times less likely to own a home (SBA).