By Bob Driehaus
February 4, 2020
What does equity look like in our region? StrivePartnership’s newly formed Community Leadership Table grappled with that important and complex question at its inaugural meeting in December at the American Red Cross building in Evanston.
About 18 leaders from school districts, colleges, non-profits and neighborhoods gathered to define what success looks like in the coming year and beyond and how to achieve it.
Colin Groth, StriveTogether Executive Vice President, who facilitated the meeting, acknowledged that while there is growing discussion about education equity across the country, there is still confusion about it and, too often, reluctance to move to action.
“What does educational equity really mean? I feel like equity and rural are the hot topics to talk about but not do anything about it,” he said, encouraging a vigorous discussion.
The Community Leadership Table brings together 28 top education administrators, civic partners and business leaders, as well as community activists, parents and Cincinnati Public Schools students. They are volunteering their time over the next year to help lead StrivePartnership in establishing a community-wide vision and goals to address systemic challenges that prevent students from achieving their full potential. It is chaired by Leslie Maloney, Senior Vice President, Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation, who previously was chair of StrivePartnership’s Executive Committee.
Their insights will be the foundation of a community engagement strategy over the next year, said Ashlee Young, StrivePartnership’s Manager for Community Strategies. As the Leadership Table meets every other month, StrivePartnership will be generating broader community consensus around problems and solutions related to education equity by convening at least a dozen, two-hour meetings throughout Greater Cincinnati, each drawing 25 to 30 people.
At the December meeting, the Leadership Table simulated the community gatherings to help set expectations.
Tianay Amat, Cincinnati Public Schools Assistant Superintendent, said it’s important not to flinch from the reality of the problems the community faces.
She said she values being in an environment with other leaders whose intention is to do something about the problem rather than place blame.
“Being uncomfortable is part of the process of change and how we’re going to move forward,” Amat said.
Other challenges and opportunities were also plainly identified:
StrivePartnership Executive Director Byron White said the perspectives from the Community Leadership Table are critical to the organization’s future work.