UW–Madison’s Welton talks to Education Week about building anti-racist schools

Education Week utilized the expertise of UW–Madison’s Anjalé Welton for an article about how to support school principals in building anti-racist schools.

Welton is a professor in the School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.

Anjale Welton

One problem, the article says, is that university-based preparation programs do not prioritize anti-racist school leadership in their curriculum. Whether those courses are even taught, according to Welton, is dependent on whether university faculty see them as worthy of including in the syllabus.

“What’s so frustrating is that racial-equity work is deemed as something that is ad hoc, something I tackle after I have all the other school-improvement-related needs,” Welton said, speaking of how some school leaders approach the job. “This should be the centerpiece of what you do. This should be what it is about. It should be the driver of what you do.”

Prep programs have a lot of work to do, continued Welton. “We need to be upfront about whiteness and white supremacy,” she said. “We need to help educators understand how they function and how whiteness and white supremacy are tethered to anti-Blackness and other ways in which we pathologize racially minoritized groups and communities.”

Welton warned that doing this work requires more than “just reading a few books.”

“It’s about everyone being committed and b(r)ought into doing the headwork, really doing the important reflective work about their own identity, their attitudes that they bring to the table,” said Welton. “But also not just doing that work but constantly reflecting on how systems, structures, norms continue to reproduce racism within schools — who are they serving, who are they not serving — and continuously doing that work and not letting it just be a single moment.”

Learn more about how to better support and prepare school leaders in building anti-racist schools by reading the full article on the Education Week website, here.