We’re on a quest for better and more equitable outcomes for every child in every community – and we believe that through our vision of changing systems, we will achieve education excellence with equity. Cradle to career partnerships across the nation have pioneered new ways of working to change behaviors, beliefs, practices, and policies in service of better outcomes.

But better outcomes are not enough.

We know that our current systems effectively serve some, but not all, of our learners. Every StriveTogether partnership that breaks out their data by race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, geography, disability status, and other variables can point to gaps in achievement among different demographic populations. This work is about changing systems in our communities to produce reliably excellent outcomes for every child.

To achieve the vision, communities have an obligation to create more equitable systems and eliminate disparities. We’ve seen signals of progress: San Diego involves youth and parents in decision-making. Dallas County integrates a focus on rigor, relevance, and relationships to infuse equity into the partnership’s strategies. Racine is facilitating frank conversations about implicit bias and racial inequity to inform kindergarten readiness strategies. And Tacoma has made significant gains in the graduation rates among every racial demographic.

StriveTogether’s Theory of Action has always offered some guideposts to help communities toward more equitable systems.

  • Engaging a broad array of community voices and focusing on eliminating locally defined disparities are two of the guiding principles that partnerships intentionally focus on as they move from building a partnership to impacting outcomes.
  • To advance progress toward systems change, cradle to career partnership must make achievement gaps visible to the community through publicly sharing their data on race, ethnicity, income, and other factors – encouraging everyone to share accountability for narrowing achievement gaps.

From a clear call to action at the 2013 National Convening in Dallas, TX to the tireless efforts of the Race, Class, and Culture Workgroup and the insights of partnerships participating in the Equity Fellowship and StriveTogether’s Results Based Leadership offerings, our partnerships have challenged us to take an even stronger public stance in service of equity.

Now, our updated systems change indicators offer a clear stake in the ground on behalf of the children and families in most need of differential supports based on their unique conditions – such as race/ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, and ability – to reach their full academic and social potential. We are committed to supporting partnerships in building capability to achieve better and more equitable results. We are raising our bar of quality even higher: it’s not enough to maintain or improve outcomes. To truly change systems at scale, cradle to career partnerships need to take intentional steps to narrow disparities and create better and more equitable systems to support the success of every child, cradle to career.

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StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network members are celebrating graduation and the start of summer, but they aren’t missing a beat when it comes to working for true community impact.

If your partnership has been featured or mentioned in your local news, send it along to kenkelm@knowledgeworks.org. We would love to share your work with our partners, stakeholders and friends.

Photo courtesy of The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State.
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