How can continuous improvement catalyze equitable outcomes in education?
High-quality educational experiences are a bridge to opportunity like no other when it comes to career paths, economic and social mobility, and personal growth and fulfillment. There has been much investment in reforming education systems, yet graduation rates for historically marginalized students – including Black, Latino and Hispanic, students who speak a language other than English, and students affected by poverty – fall behind the national average.
Improvement Methods for Equity is an improvement practicum with a goal of teaching and applying continuous improvement approaches in local contexts to address educational inequities.
In addition to teaching improvement approaches in service of increasing equitable outcomes, Shift sought to build organizational capability to expand the use of these approaches to additional people in their communities.
Fourteen intermediary education-centered organizations from across the country participated in the first IM4E practicum.
Each organization recruited a team of up to six members to include the different perspectives impacted by the issue they aimed to improve. The goals of this practicum for each organization were to:
- Build upon each organization’s overarching equity imperative to define an aim for their specific improvement initiative.
- Share data with progress towards their aim and impact on student lives.
- Recruit and work together as a multi-disciplinary team to learn from and leverage each other’s professional and lived expertise, demonstrating the core principle of making the work problem-specific and user-centered.
- Provide examples of how learning from improvement tools and approaches advanced progress towards their aims.
- Surface the complexities of learning continuous improvement methodology by initiating an improvement initiative, and their resilience to do so during a pandemic.
Tanya Johnson with Impact Strategy Group, Inc.
This work was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.