In a sector that relies on data — on student achievement, college access and persistence, teacher effectiveness, etc. — to measure progress and impact, we sorely lack data from across our sector regarding progress toward diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). But as organizations state their commitment to DEI and seek to advance it, we need data to understand the current state, inform effective paths forward, and have a common language for holding one another accountable for progress.
To address this, we just released a landmark study of DEI in education to explore key questions about where we are as a field, why DEI matters, what promising practice looks like, and how various organizations and leaders can effectively move forward. While we recognize that diversity takes many forms, we bring a specific lens of racial/ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, and we focus on organizational DEI by exploring organizational practice (especially talent practice) and staff experience.
Among the things we found:
- Research shows DEI improves organizations; we contribute to this body of knowledge by illustrating six major themes regarding perceived linkages between DEI and student outcomes, as reported by over 100 leaders in our sector
- Diversity is a powerful differentiator of organizational practice and staff experience, but our organizations are still not reflective of communities served.
- Diversity alone is not enough — diversity, equity, and inclusion are required to realize the myriad benefits related to staff experience and organizational outcomes (e.g. staff retention)
- Few organizations are employing practices that may increase DEI. While there is no “checklist” for progress, authentic communication and demonstrated management commitment emerge as particularly powerful levers.
- Organizations differ in their current DEI context, and current context should inform path forward regarding ways to advance and/or sustain DEI.
While the mere concept of making a data-based case for DEI may strike some as undermining the lived experience of staff from historically marginalized backgrounds, it is our hope that that the data in the report along with the clear calls to action can be powerful tools in the hands of those who have been leading the demand for change in our sector.
Too often, progress toward DEI is stymied by claims that it’s not the highest priority or not mission critical; read the report here (link) to challenge those erroneous claims and learn why DEI data collection, action, and accountability are talent best practice.