Middle eastern female professional viewed at profile thinking while reviewing documents on a whiteboard.

The Self-Made Myth: Identify and Address Systemic Inequities

The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.

– Aristotle



View the brief 3-minute video in the resource box and then engage in this reflection activity.

General Reflection Questions:

  • How have our students been historically over- and under- served by society?
  • How might differences in societal inequities influence student success at school?
  • Do our policies reinforce or disrupt historical/societal inequity? (The goal is disruption.)
  • What can we do to provide a more equitable path to success for our students who face inequity outside of school?

Reflect on your school’s policies regarding:

  • timed assignments, due dates, and “extensions”
  • homework (the need for students to complete work outside of school)
  • assessment and reassessment (including options for students to express their learning in different ways, timing, etc.)
  • grading
  • skills focus (what skills are emphasized in classes)
  • SEL
  • student behavior
  • family/community engagement and outreach

Reflect on your school’s use of language and/or reinforcement of these ideas (How you may be perpetuating the self-made myth):

  • “self-made”
  • “pull yourself up by the bootstraps”
  • “tough love”
  • “if you just work hard enough”
  • “lazy(iness)”
  • “fair(ness)”
  • “equal(ity)” [vs. equity]


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