For the past five years, Teach For America South Carolina (TFASC) has partnered with the Racial Equity Institute (REI) to offer racial equity training for its teachers and staff members. Each year, TFASC teachers receive REI’s two-day, intensive training the week before their teacher training program in June.
REI is an alliance of trainers, organizers, and institutional leaders who are devoted to the work of creating racially equitable organizations and systems. During the workshop for TFASC teachers, REI presented a historical, cultural, and structural analysis of racism within education.
“With a better understanding of how our educational system was constructed in America, our teachers and staff members can contextualize how this system was strategically designed to benefit certain people,” said Tess Holt, senior managing director of leadership development at TFASC. “Once we realize this history in detail, we are better equipped to work toward dismantling a system that benefits only a few.”
REI’s racial equity training recently expanded and was adopted by Teach For America for its national board and staff members.
“Change can happen in our classrooms, our schools, and our districts, but to truly advance educational equity, change must happen at a system level,” added Holt. “Following REI’s training, our teachers should ask, ‘How am I combating educational and racial inequities and working toward systemic change?’”