Shattering Inequities: Real-World Wisdom for School and District Leaders By Robin Avelar La Salle

For education leaders who believe that all students deserve the premium education that only some currently experience, Shattering Inequities: Real-World Wisdom for School and District Leaders shows how your leadership can provide equitable outcomes for our most vulnerable students. Chapters include examples of actual equity leaders and leadership lessons as easily retrievable equity hooks--memory cues of complete, complex, and nuanced leadership takeaways. In the throes of educational transformation, the book's examples provide leaders with practical ways to quickly and effectively infuse substantive thoughtfulness into common equity challenges and inspire equity-driven action to ensure that demographics do not determine destiny. An excellent guide for teachers, administrators, or anyone who wants to turn good intentions into reality for the children they serve. Shattering Inequities: Real-World Wisdom for School and District Leaders

A must-read for educators committed to ensuring that every student receives the excellent education that currently only some receive (p. 137). Shattering Inequities: Real-World Wisdom for School and District Leaders Worth reading, especially for those just getting started on the “all kids deserve an excellent educational experience, regardless of their skin color or zip code” journey. A little bit too aspirational in lieu practical, but the critical hope abounds. My biggest sticking point, as it is with most educational literature, is the warrant of “student achievement” (typically measured via a neoliberal lens) being the litmus test (as opposed to civic liberation or a purposeful existence or altruism).

I’m in an educational leadership doctoral program. That, in and of itself, matriculating in makes me feel uneasy for the myriad ways institutions of higher education gate-keep and reify white supremacy culture; however, when I saw the focus was social justice and the first books we were assigned were Dr. Love’s “We Want to Do More Than Survive” and this, “Shattering Inequities,” I figured I’m already doing all this studying on the necessary educational revolution of #abolitionistteaching and #antiracisteducation anyway, so might as well put another feather in my cap, one that could possibly provide me some leverage as I fight for (and with) my students against this oppressive system.

But, Dr. Love’s brilliant work aside, almost ALL of the literature (including this text) reads something like this so far:

“Erica was tasked with ensuring ALL students achieve at her high-poverty, mostly BIPOC school, and her willingness, tact, and empathetic personality made all the difference!” (…at getting test-scores up, which got kids into 4 year colleges which improved their “lifestyle”…)

Almost NONE of these texts bat a critical eye at the foundational warrant: we have NO interest in dismantling the system as a whole; we simply want ALL students—especially poor BIPOC ones—to become better capitalists… because the corrupt neoliberal lens we’ve all been indoctrinated to think is “right” and “good” is sort of okay… and, regardless, it’s a whole SYSTEM, amirite?!? And, also, IT IS WHAT IT IS. So, let’s do our damnedest helping the poor little brown kids make more money!!


So, with that in mind, this well-intentioned text compelled me to share with you all a few things I’m steadfastly pushing back against, all day, every day:

- “student achievement” is not scoring well on a test, nor is it “getting good grades,” nor is it jumping through bureaucratic hoops to graduate high school (side note: make me understand how mandating four years of HS English isn’t arbitrary and simply another vehicle for compliance wearing the mask of “valuing a literate citizenry”)

- 4 year colleges (and, further, “competitive” and “elite” schools) are not the zenith of education, and are often downright detrimental for students, especially neurodivergent and poor ones, in realms of true teaching and learning

- the purposeful, fulfilled life has no correlation to the capitalist insistence that “making more money” yields this purpose and fulfillment

- if our institutions that supposedly champion equity and justice simply use “the master’s tools,” as it were, to beautify the mansion’s facade then these institutions are making hollow claims, while further fortifying the social hierarchy… with a wink and a nod that “sure, we care, but only as much as we can ensure the hegemonic structure remains…with a few touch ups here and there…cuz, y’know, oppression can still LOOK cute, right?!”

True change makers are brave and collective and bold and make no excuses for destroying machines that—BY DESIGN—grind living and breathing beings of love and wonder into dust piles of consumerist things that exist.

Criticality is the enemy of obedience… and this is why so many teachers, administrators, parents, and institutions themselves are so afraid when kids are actually encouraged to truly question…

To stifle curiosity and doubt keeps the machine well-oiled and running damn smoothly.

Throw a wrench, comrade.

(And, yeah, this book is worth your time with the above grain of salt taken!) Shattering Inequities: Real-World Wisdom for School and District Leaders Great ideas but written in a style that felt like the author doesn't know their audience. Felt it talked to the reader like a child at times. Wish it was more academic and adult in its style. But, helpful in its presentation of scenarios to help self reflection. Shattering Inequities: Real-World Wisdom for School and District Leaders A very quick read.

Combined data analysis for full picture / wallpaper effect
High standards for all students
Four year college expectations for all students

Shattering Inequities: Real-World Wisdom for School and District Leaders


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