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Unleashing Social Change

45 EpisodesProduced by Becky MargiottaWebsite

Each episode we interview a badass social change leader and learn the ins and outs of what they're doing to make the world a better place. This podcast will help you feel optimistic that we can make a difference and give you practical tips about how to go about doing so in a big way.


Episode 19: Sasha Rabkin, Equal Opportunity Schools, “Working the Muscle to Change: Bringing Equity to AP/IB Classes”

Episode 19: Sasha Rabkin, Equal Opportunity Schools, “Working the Muscle to Change: Bringing Equity to AP/IB Classes”

All across the country, there has been a long history of students being overlooked due to race or economic factors for the classes that will get them into college, the AP and IB courses. Equal Opportunity Schools is working with schools to personally identify students and de-segregate access to these academic pathways. The way they do this is partnering with districts to look at new ways of identifying “readiness” because if this is the rung in the ladder to get to college, shouldn’t we be increasing the opportunities to access this rung?

In this episode, Sasha breaks down how Equal Opportunity Schools and their partner school districts are leveraging new data analytics and creating social change in schools to increase the number of kids of color being accepted into these classes. Among these, key ideas are that social change is a relational play and not based in the assumption that change happens merely by being invited. The second is that person specific by name data about the students and teachers in real time creates both accountability and new insights.

Change is hard and we need not only the will to change, but to exercise the muscle to change these deeply ingrained systems and mental models to not revert back to old ways. You won’t want to miss this important conversation.

Show highlights:

  • A history of segregation in school opportunities in this country and the “tragedy of 20ft”
  • How organizations find space to be creative and experiment
  • The role of student insight cards and using person specific by name data to see the whole picture
  • Finding new ways to identify student strengths and readiness for advanced courses
  • Through trust and strong relationships, also being a provocative voice
  • Identifying the headwinds and gatekeeping structures that have been in place
  • The importance of seeing the leverage point as the schools, not seeing them as “poor” students
  • The sins of commission and omission that started in the 1950s under the guise of competing against the Russians
  • The power of holding up a mirror to the system
  • Changing the behavior and habits of the system first to bring about the consciousness and systems change
  • Exercising these muscles of change so they become strong and the system doesn’t revert back to the old ways
  • The funding model of EOS that allows for sustainability along with flexibility and experimentation
  • Tableau as a means of changing the way we think about data
  • Social change as a relational play
  • The need for the appropriate technology to bring new levels of scale
  • Technology shifting from answering the why vs. the how questions
  • How to not merely tinker with change but tear down systems and re-build
  • Tolerance for risk and failure is what will make the biggest difference in social change



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