Analogous Situations: S1E5 with Dr. David Hardy

Dr. David Hardy is a partner at Ed Elements, an organization that collaborates with districts across the nation to develop people-based systems for staff and learners. Prior to Ed. Elements, David served his community as a superintendent. His vantage point gives us a broader scope, as we dissect the systems that have fallen short and move toward a more equitable future.

In episode 5, David connects the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina to the pandemic triggered by COVID-19. Katrina’s presence in 2005 caused undeniable destruction and chaos but it also forced change in the education system that shook up one of the country’s lowest performing school districts, becoming a catalyst for positive growth.

As a nation, we have a choice. We can “get back to normal”, returning to the same brick and mortar buildings and continue on with the same principles and systems or we can take this opportunity and “get back to better”.

David, as a true Bored Member, inspires change… and it starts with funding. “Money makes the world go ‘round… if you put the right amount of incentive or push people to use money in a way to change the way they operate, people will follow.” David goes on to correct a truly damaging misconception: equity focuses only on black and brown kids. 

Stop villainizing it… that’s not what we’re saying.

Equity at the root is saying, ‘give people what they need to be successful’.

Equity in education is not an issue that stands alone. The same learners that have little to no access to resources like computers, internet connection, or tutoring have limited access to fresh produce, natural remedies for sicknesses, and in some places – fresh, clean air.

When we view education as a piece of the greater puzzle, we’re able to see the many aspects that contribute to a learner’s success or failure. This is why equity is a greater goal to achieve than equality; it’s time to start prioritizing the individual’s needs rather than pushing a cookie-cutter support plan.

Ed Elements does this necessary work by building relationships with educators and taking the time to learn their strengths, struggles, and concerns. Only then can a community’s unique and valuable assets be seen and understood.

Together, we can draw lessons from this pandemic and come out stronger on the other end but to do so, we must acknowledge each other’s strengths, collaborate with innovative thinkers, and build systems that promote equity for all.

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