What is Targeted Universalism? | Bite-Sized PD for Educational Equity

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What is Targeted Universalism?

Today’s Bite-Sized PD for Educational Equity was inspired by:

Targeted Universalism: Policy and Practice | john a. powell, Stephen Menendian, Wendy Ake | National Association of the Education of Young Children 

“By emphasizing the universal goal as a way of justifying a diversity of implementation strategies, transformative change possibilities can be envisioned, pursued, and aligned.”

Just when I think I have a handle on the terms, approaches, and the latest research, something else comes along and emerges as the "new thing". This is Targeted Universalism and it gives me hope about what could be when it comes to ensuring that all students have access to a high level of education.

Addressing Educational Equity

Targeted Universalism is an approach to addressing issues of equity that is growing in popularity. In education, it means determining a goal for all students and creating differentiated approaches by subgroups to achieve that goal.  This approach places those currently most underserved by our current systems at the center of the creation of new policies, pedagogies, and strategies. That is, instead of adapting current practices for black and brown students, new ones are developed explicitly for black and brown students.

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Top Five Takeaways for Equity in Education

  1. Identify your department’s or school’s goal as it relates to student achievement.
  2. Determine one way that growth or progress towards this goal will be measured.
  3. Decide when these measures will be applied and how the results will be communicated throughout the year.
  4. Examine the data to determine if there are subgroups of students not progressing at the rate of others.
  5. Place these subgroups at the center of your design approach to ensure you are developing systems explicitly for them and their needs.

Watch the video below about Targeted Universalism with your team and discuss its implications for your work in your respective roles.


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