- According to Shane Safir, in order for educators to become allies and advocates for students of color, they need to first examine and understand implicit bias in their educational ecosystems.
- The Kirwan Institute for Race and Ethnicity describes implicit bias as "the attitudes and stereotypes that unconsciously affect people's perceptions, actions and decisions."
- Implicit bias typically impacts disproportionality in discipline, disproportionality in special education, teacher mindsets and beliefs, the tracking of students, and it can frame the dominant discourse around various topics and school policies.
Safir outlines a number of steps that educators can take to challenge implicit bias and recommends watching the TED talk given by Verna Myers on "the stories we make up about people before we know who they actually are."
Safir's basic steps include:
1. Become aware of your biases so you can interrupt them.
2. Study and teach colleagues about implicit bias.
3. Pay attention to gap-closing teachers.
4. Stop tone policing.
5. Tune into implicit bias in your school.
Recently, the topics of school integration, segregation and racial dispariy has been discussed by mainstream media outlets, including the New York Times, This American Life and NPR. That's because integration is one solution proven to decrease the acheivement gap and help low-performing schools turn around student performance.
Minnesota has notably struggled with integration and changing demographics. In 2014, over 60 years after Brown v. the Board of Education, re-segregation has occurred in various schools across the South, including Alabama, where “43 school systems are still under federal desegregation oversight."
Last September, Education Week launched a year-long series called, "Beyond Bias: Countering Stereotypes in School" that examined how educators are working to overcome bias. The series looked at problems and potential solutions for schools, with an eye for those districts just beginning to grapple with the pervasive issue.