State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen Ayala presented on the topic of equity to doctoral students in the Education Administration and Foundations (EAF) department on Wednesday, September 30. Ayala served as guest speaker for EAF 512, a doctoral level policy methods class taught by Drs. Lisa Hood and Erika Hunt.

“We approached Dr. Ayala to be a guest speaker for our class after many of the students expressed interest with the topic of equity and how they could lead in their schools or districts with an equity mindset,” said Hunt. “We couldn’t think of anyone more qualified to speak on this topic than Dr. Ayala, whose equity-focused strategies in two districts led to dramatic shifts in closing the achievement gap.”

Prior to her appointment as state superintendent, Ayala led with an equity-mindset and laser focus on curriculum development and accountability of equity in two school districts. Now as state superintendent, she is focused on incorporating equity goals into the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) strategic plan. ISBE’s strategic plan now includes a prominent equity statement and equity goals and metrics for monitoring the work. An Equity Impact Analysis Tool will be used across the agency to ensure alignment of programming, strategies, and decisions with the strategic plan and to operationalize equity across the agency.

Also aligned with this work, ISBE recently released for public comment administrative rules that contain new Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading (CRTL) standards for incorporation into educator preparation programs developed by a statewide task force. Public comment is due October 26.

“Just a year and a half into her tenure as state superintendent, Dr. Ayala is already making a significant mark on ensuring that our public education system is designed and supported to serve the learning strengthens and needs of all of its students,” said Hunt. “Hearing from someone that has been in the administrator’s shoes doing the very difficult work, with outcomes to demonstrate its impact, was especially meaningful and inspiring for the students in EAF 512.”