In a State With an Anti-CRT Law, a New Initiative Seeks to Coach Schools on Equity

By: Eesha Pendharkar, Education Week

Kentucky is one of the first states in the country to launch personalized coaching for district leaders and teachers through the department of education to further diversity, equity, inclusion, and a sense of belonging in schools.

Starting this fall, 74 districts out of the state’s more than 170 will receive coaching over the next two years through engage2learn, an organization that offers personalized professional development that was contracted by the state education department. Typically, DEI training is offered at the district level. Education Week could not find examples of any other states offering this model of statewide, personalized training on equity issues.

The state’s initiative is set to get underway soon after state lawmakers passed a law that could potentially restrict conversations about race and racism in the classrooms. But educators and administrators said it remains to be seen whether the new law will affect the state’s pioneering coaching efforts.

The new program grows out of an anti-racism resolution passed by the state education department in 2020. It states that Kentucky’s public schools have a history of racial inequity and that people of color, particularly Black students and staff, “are often left out of the conversation and remain unheard.” Since then, the department has launched a range of tools housed within its equity toolkit to help districts and educators continue fostering equity in schools. One such tool is the coaching initiative through engage2learn, which begins next month with assessments of each district’s needs.

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| RELATED: Kentucky Department of Education Partners with engage2learn to Advance DEI Efforts Across the State |