Data is defined as “information in visible form.” But what information remains invisible? How and why does it matter? Education is all about messaging. Ultimately, the “invisible” messages we send and receive determine how we lead students to understand society and their place in it. Quantitative data is a tool of “othering.” It shapes the way we educate without taking into account the racialized systemic barriers students and teachers confront in the classroom. The popular education model used in social justice movements has proven that lived experiences matter just as much as any numerical statistic. Compassionate storytelling can empower the data you’re given, your leadership and your students.
This session will explore how racialized messaging is embedded in student data profiles as stories that frame an educator’s expectation of a student’s capacity to master specific content areas. Methodically collecting anecdotal information from your students can help you gain insight about what those numbers actually mean to your work and to their development. We will unpack the ways data messages reinforce internalized racism and subsequently impact our roles as gatekeepers. Your interpretation of the numbers is an opportunity to honor your students’ experience and show how those account matter more than the “flat” stories numbers often relay.