Urban Strategies Council has developed an equity framework that involves data-driven decision-making, community engagement and targeted interventions. The documents on this page illustrate how we use our framework to address equity issues in education and health.
Explore how we use the equity model in education
1. Define equity and understand its importance to outcomes in a given context
Whether using our proposed definition or your own, Full Service Community Schools (FSCS) and Promise Neighborhood Schools (PNS) should define equity and educate the community about its importance as both a principle and a practice for FSCS or PNS.
2. Engage the community and ensure that leadership is representative of the community
Whether using our proposed definition or your own, FSCS and PNS should define equity and educate the community about its importance as both a principle and a practice for FSCS or PNS.
3. Build data systems and/or data-sharing collaborations to support equity and effectively use data
Equity will not be achieved without commitment. This requires us to be explicit about our outcomes for equity and being accountable for achieving them. We need to establish specific, measurable outcomes for our equity efforts, regularly assess our progress, and make adjustments and corrections that ensure we are achieving them. While “equity is everybody’s business,” that is not sufficient. Responsibility for achieving equitable outcomes must be specifically assigned to leadership and personnel working with students and families. Those who are effective in achieving equitable outcomes should be recognized and rewarded; those who are not should be supported to improve or coached in finding work in which they are effective.
4. Establish explicit equity outcomes and accountability for achieving them
In a diverse school community, FSCS and PNS need to draw on all of the assets, knowledge and expertise that the community possesses about itself and its children. This requires involving the entire community and all of its segments through engagement and inclusive leadership structures.
5. Focus on closing the equity gap and increasing achievement
Closing gaps is not enough if even the highest performing students are below standards. FSCS and PNS must strive not only to close the gaps, but to raise the standards so that all of our children can compete with the best in the world.
6. Apply targeted universalism
We cannot achieve equity by recognizing differences in outcomes among different segments of our community and then ignoring those differences when we implement interventions. Interventions must be both universal, designed to improve outcomes for all; AND targeted specifically to address the unique needs and conditions of those sub-populations of individuals and groups experiencing inequitable outcomes.
7. Continually assess for and address equity
Equity is not a practice to be considered at the outset of a process of planning a FSCS or PNS. It must be embedded in the values and practices of an organization and a community and continually examined and assessed. The equity lens is especially important when making decisions about services and the allocation of resources to ensure that those students and families who are underserved get the quality services and the resource allocation needed to close the outcome gaps they experience.