We know you landed here because you want to do better for your users: the many Black and Brown children using your technology in American public schools. These children face numerous injustices in their daily lives because of the color of their skin. They are suspended more often, placed on less ambitious academic tracks, and misunderstood and mistreated by peers and educators with drastically different childhoods.
Black and Brown students make up over half of US K12 public schools.
As an edtech builder, it’s
to design for these children, to understand them, and to champion their needs. Historical and systemic social structures cause Black and Brown students to be disproportionately impacted by
. Without rigorous and intentional oversight, edtech products that use AI and machine learning will amplify the existing racial biases already present in the data within our school systems and introduce new biases through assumptions in
. It may be difficult to understand how your product might do so, especially if you don’t collect the race of students, but racial bias is reflected in many aspects of a students’ educational experience; it impacts commonly used data in ways you might not expect. This is, after all, the definition of a
This won’t be easy. It will be worth it.
You’ve made big promises to change educationーto personalize learning, to identify students at-risk of dropping out, or to automate administrative tasks so that educators can focus on children. Just as you commit to student data privacy and accessibility,
it is time to commit to equity
by adopting new design and development practices to account for racial bias. Commit to changing education for
especially the ones the system isn’t designed for, the ones who live a different educational experience than you did, and, equally importantly, the ones who make up a majority of your users in American public schools today.
At the Edtech Equity Project,
we believe in a world that boldly prioritizes racial equity.
Large districts are investing in
, educators are
at the door to better understand their students’ needs and perspectives, and administrators are chartering new teams to ensure
for students. We have also seen horror stories of product failures in other industries–racially biased
Let’s get ahead of this in education.
The edtech industry needs champions like you to lead the way: to commit to racial equity.
Use this Toolkit.
We hope it serves as a guide for your team to take a more in-depth look into the data you use to build your algorithms and the way your products are used by and for Black and Brown students in schools.
details actions you can take at every stage of product design and development.
Give us feedback.
At the Edtech Equity Project, we believe in a partnership approach. This Toolkit, currently in V1.0, is a living, breathing document. We want you to use it, give us feedback, and work together with us to create an industry-wide movement that gets edtech builders to ask the right questions, and do the right thing.
Embrace the fact that the work doesn’t stop here.
There is no quick solution, and this toolkit will not solve all problems. There is so much more you can and must do. This work should be iterative and requires strong relationships with the Black and Brown students and teachers who use your products. You must find ways to give them a voice.
We believe deeply in this work, as do so many others we've met along the way. We hope you'll go all in with us. We’re here for you. Together, we can change the way edtech is built, deployed, and used in schools for the better. Let's create the future of learning we want to see.
Founders of The Edtech Equity Project, created at the
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