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Racial Equity

We recognize the immediate and pressing need for racial equity to transform the experiences of young people within CPS and the City of Chicago.

CPS prioritizes racial equity because of its predictable power across intersecting identities of gender, gender identity, socioeconomic group, and health status. At CPS, the Office of Equity believes all staff must take an anti-racist stance, which means disrupting the racism, othering, colorism, and the uneven playing field our students and staff face at the classroom, school and district levels. We must not perpetuate the historical inequities faced by our students, schools, and communities of Color.

Racial equity requires processes, initiatives, and outcomes that eliminates all forms of racial oppression and co-creates conditions that enable those most impacted by structural inequity to reach their full potential centering their agency. Racial equity is a process. We inclusively partner in affinity and accomplice across difference with those most impacted by structural inequity to design and implement a more equitable school district and learning environment. We will focus on the greatest needs groups by people, place, and time.

The four dimensions of the equity lens must be central to this process in order to create equitable initiatives and outcomes. Racial equity requires accounting for past inequities and centering those most impacted for targeted support by eliminating policies, practices, and attitudes at the individual, interpersonal, and institutional level. The process of racial equity also requires the work of personal, internal transformation: each of us holding up the mirror to how we show up in order to analyze how we perpetuate or interrupt inequity. By engaging in a truly equity- driven process—where the equity lens is always engaged—we can develop and implement initiatives to make meaningful change for our students.

While these initiatives may benefit all students, they should specifically benefit our greatest needs groups while prioritizing racial identity. As an outcome, racial equity means academic, socioeconomic, and opportunity differences are not predicted by race, and all forms of oppression are eliminated to liberate those impacted by structural racial inequity to reach their full potential. Outcomes are indicators of the progress we are making towards established goals. Although outcomes guide the direction of change that drives our work, we must be driven by process (i.e., listening to students on what works, continuous improvement) rather than solely numerical outcomes.

Examples of Anti-racist Practices

  • Set targets for hiring and retaining Black, Brown and Indigenous staff
  • Develop an anti-racist stance as a classroom, school, or district team
  • Ensure the physical environment affirms the cultures of students who are low-income, LGBTQ+, and students of color
  • Change policies negatively impacting protected groups

We need to do the hard work of creating thoughtful, adaptive practices that address structures or circumstances that either support or prevent students from reaching the universal goal––a shared ambition or target that everyone is expected to meet regardless of their backgrounds. Racial equity work requires a targeted universalist approach.

The CPS Five-Year Vision made concrete commitments to advance Black and Latinx male students, which are reflective of our targeted universalism and racial equity guiding principles. A racial equity lens always asks the question: how will this shift in practice affect the lived experiences of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and all students of color? If the answer is it will negatively affect them or contribute to accumulated burden, we need to redesign the policy or practice. In designing or redesigning policies and practices, we must ensure our students and communities of color, and especially those most impacted by inequity, are at the table to co- create solutions.

This downloadable PDF includes the Equity Framework and interactive worksheets.

Download framework