“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

This quote featured on the cover of the March 2021 issue of ASCD’s EL magazine, comes from an essay James Baldwin published in the New York Times Book Review in 1962. Incidentally, the essay is not explicitly about race or equity. Rather, it is a kind of generational literary manifesto.

In it, Baldwin exhorts his fellow contemporary writers to let go of longing for the supposed innocence of the past and to concentrate on the difficult “particulars” of the lives before them—to “describe us to ourselves as we are now.” This means fighting against complacency and “soothing lies,” and re-examining conventions that block honest appraisal. 

“We are the generation,” Baldwin writes, “that must throw everything into the endeavor to remake America into what we say we want it to be.” 

And while the essay isn’t about race or discrimination per se, you can see its rhetorical relevance to the conversations we are having today about systemic racism and educational equity. 

Indeed, many of the educator-authors featured in this course echo Baldwin in urging us to see things as they really are for many students in our schools and to avoid sugarcoating or masking over problems—or retreating into more comfortable narratives. In their emphasis on actionable (if not easy) solutions, they are also encouraging us to match our stated ideals with real change in schools.

Through the articles shared in this course, authors discuss the importance of:

  •  Explicitly integrating equity—and particularly racial equity—into school continuous improvement plans. 
  • Disaggregating data to identify patterns in outcomes and opportunities and using that data to refine instructional practices.
  • Challenging biases about student potential. 
  • Addressing specific, school-based barriers to learning.

Indeed, the ground-shifting difficulty of equity work is highlighted throughout this course. As James Baldwin understood, that is a necessary part of facing the hard things.

5 Additional Hours!

The certificate course allows you to earn 5 additional hours of professional development by adding the certificate course to your symposium registration.

Course curriculum

  • 1


    • Welcome

    • Course Objectives

    • FAQs

    • Before We Begin

  • 2

    Assignment 1

    • Activity 1.1 - Read: Is Your Approach to Continuous Improvement Colorblind? by Sarah Fiarman, Kristina Kyles-Smith, & Alison Lee

    • Activity 1.2 - Knowledge Check

    • Activity 1.3 - Reflection

  • 3

    Assignment 2

    • Activity 2.1 - Read: "Radical Care" to Let Black Boys Thrive by Tyrone C. Howard and Jaleel R. Howard

    • Activity 2.2 - Knowledge Check

    • Activity 2.3 - Reflection

  • 4

    Assignment 3

    • Activity 3.1 - Read : Beware of Equity Traps and Tropes by Jamila Dugan

    • Activity 3.2 - Knowledge Check

    • Activity 3.3 - Reflection

  • 5

    Assignment 4

    • Activity 4.1 - Read: Who Participates? by Niral Shah, Nickolaus Ortiz, Julie Christensen, David Stroupe, & Daniel Reinholz

    • Activity 4.2 - Knowledge Check

    • Activity 4.3 - Reflection

  • 6

    Assignment 5

    • Activity 5.1 - Read: Relevant Curriculum is Equitable Curriculum by Chaunté Garrett

    • Activity 5.2 - Knowledge Check

  • 7

    Assignment 6

    • Activity 6.1 - Read: The Illusion of Equity PD by T. Nicole Tucker-Smith

    • Activity 6.2 - Knowledge Check

    • Activity 6.3 - Reflection

  • 8

    Assignment 7

    • Activity 7.1 - Read: What Does Equity Really Mean for Multilingual Learners by Jon Nordmeyer, Tim Boals, Rita MacDonald, & Ruslana Westerlund

    • Activity 7.2 - Knowledge Check

  • 9

    Assignment 8

    • Activity 8.1 - Read: Coaching for Equity Demands Deeper Dialogue by Candice Bocala and RoLesia R. Holman

    • Activity 8.2 - Knowledge Check

    • Activity 8.3 - Reflection

  • 10

    Assignment 9

    • Activity 9.1 - Read: Overcoming the Inertia of Inequity by Jill Harrison Berg & Elizabeth C. Homan

    • Activity 9.2 - Knowledge Check

  • 11

    Assignment 10

    • Activity 10.1 - Read: Collaborative Learning for Equity by Douglas Fisher & Nancy Frey

    • Activity 10.2 - Video

    • Activity 10.3 - Knowledge Check

  • 12


    • Before You Go

    • Final Reflection & Survey

Forgot to add the certificate course to your symposium registration?

Call the ASCD Service Center at 1-800-933-2723.


  • Can the course be accessed via phone or tablet?

    The course platform is completely responsive, so you may use any device of your choice.

  • How is learning assessed?

    This course utilizes a combination of Knowledge Check quizzes and written assignments.

  • How are assignments submitted?

    Assignments are uploaded directly onto the certificate platform.

  • Is there a final exam?

    No; there is no cumulative exam or summative assessment. Certificate requirements are met by completing each assignment, (reading/viewing and corresponding activity).

  • What is the deadline for completing the certificate course?

    All assignments should be completed by May 31, 2021, when the course will close.

Limited Availablity!

Course begins February 22, 2021 at 11:59 PM EST.

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