Community Engagement and Racial Equity in Education

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare what we knew to be true about America: Black and Latinx students experience deep and systemic inequities in many of our public systems, including public education. As we decide how to move forward with schooling in America, we have an opportunity to consult and engage with the very students, families and communities that are impacted the most. High-quality community engagement can, and should, be used as a tool to develop a system that addresses the racial inequities within our education system. Consulting and engaging communities that are most impacted is not only the right thing to do, but also often a statutory requirement of federal education funding.  However, both the frequency and quality of engagement across communities varies.  While there are lots of toolkits and resources available to teach schools and districts how to do community engagement well, there are fewer resources for parents and communities on how to advocate and hold districts accountable for the statutory requirements around community engagement to ensure that the voices of Black and Latinx communities are being heard in public education. In fact, many communities do not even know that community engagement is a statutory requirement for school districts.  

The Community Engagement and Racial Equity in Education initiative builds on the belief that community engagement can be used as one tool for racial equity in education. Through this work, the Center produces research on the community engagement practices of school districts around the country and works to help inform and equip communities with the information and tools they need to successfully advocate for high-quality community engagement.