Imagine being at a school where 80% of the students look like you…but you’re the only one like you who is in the honors and advanced classes. That’s where this week’s guest, Carlon Howard, found himself as he readied to graduate from high school. And that experience put him on the pathway that landed him as a leader and impact-maker in educational equity.
Carlon has a passion for supporting individuals who feel stuck in cultural narratives due to a lack of equity, inclusivity, and diversity in leadership. And his organization, Equity Institute, is taking what they’ve created and teaching organizations how to develop these initiatives in their own communities.
In this episode, Carlon and I talk about doing the work in the messy gray space, why teacher pathway programs are so valuable, why schools need support outside the traditional education space, and how he built Equity Institute organically from a place of connection and decompressing.
I love Carlon’s philosophy of teaching others to do the work, rather than assuming his organization knows the answers for every situation. We need more of this in leadership roles.
About Carlon Howard:
Carlon is the Chief Impact Officer and Co-Founder of Equity Institute. In his role, he leads organization-wide strategic and operational planning, ensuring EI’s vision is realized through clear prioritization and high-impact operational execution. In addition to helping launch the Equity Institute, he also co-founded re*generation (formerly EduLeaders of Color R.I.). Now an initiative of the Equity Institute, re*generation hosts monthly meetups designed to support education leaders from underrepresented backgrounds.
Before entering his current role with Equity Institute, Carlon was executive director of Breakthrough Providence, served as a City Year AmeriCorps member and Impact Manager, was a classroom teacher, and was a policy fellow for a former Colorado Senator. He graduated from the University of Georgia with undergraduate degrees in criminal justice and political science and completed his graduate degree in education from Rhode Island College. He also earned a graduate certificate in nonprofit management and leadership from the Institute of Nonprofit Practice, in affiliation with Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. Additionally, he completed formal training as a leadership and performance coach. Outside of his full-time work, Carlon is an adjunct instructor at College Unbound.
Jump in the Conversation:
[1:39] – How education transformation began for Carlon
[3:39] – In an 80% black school, Carlon was the only black male in the honors classes
[5:09] – A quarter life crisis
[7:03] – All the world’s problems exist in schools but schools don’t have the means to solve them
[7:59] – The origins of the Equity Institute in 2019
[10:10] – Students weren’t being served in a way that made sense
[10:50] – Helping design and implement innovative solutions to build more diverse, equitable, inclusive, professional learning environments
[12:35] – What other profession goes home and does more work for free
[13:22] – TA to BA educator pathway program
[17:51] – Well-meaning initiatives are challenged by getting into new communities
[19:40] – Has insights to help others; can be inspiration and accountability
[20:30] – Things aren’t black or white; the real work happens in the gray area
[21:46] – First steps to take to create to support others in educator pathway
[25:39] – Turbo Time
[28:05] – Carlon’s passion in equity work
[31:42] – Carlon’s Magic Wand
[33:40] – Maureen’s Takeaways
Links & Resources
- Equity Institute
- Connect with Carlon on LinkedIn
- College Unbound
- Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
- Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich
- Email Maureen
- Maureen’s TEDx: Changing My Mind to Change Our Schools
- The Education Evolution
- Facebook: Follow Education Evolution
- Twitter: Follow Education Evolution
- LinkedIn: Follow Education Evolution
- EdActive Collective
- Maureen’s book: Creating Micro-Schools for Colorful Mismatched Kids
- Micro-school feature on Good Morning America
- The Micro-School Coalition
- Facebook: The Micro-School Coalition
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 0:03
Hello fellow parents and educators. Thank you for joining me at education evolution, where we are disrupting the status quo in today’s learning models. We talk about present day education, what’s broken, who’s fixing it, and how. I’m Dr. Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your host and founder of education evolution, micro school coalition, and co founder of active, I consult and train with schools and leaders who are fiercely committed to changing the narrative, reimagining the education landscape, and creating learning that serves all children and prepares them to thrive. If you are new, welcome to the podcast. Please subscribe on our website to get it delivered to your inbox weekly. If you’ve been around a while, have you left a review?
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 1:08
Hi, Carlon, it is so good to have you on education evolution today.
Carlon Howard 1:13
Thank you for having me. I appreciate the opportunity to share.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 1:17
And listeners today I’m chatting with Carlon Howard, Chief impact officer and co founder at equity Institute and also co founder of regeneration, which was formerly edgy leaders of color Rhode Island. Carlon. Let’s dive in with where this story of education, transformation and evolution began for you.
Carlon Howard 1:40
Yeah, so thank you for that question. It really goes back to my my upbringing growing up, down south. So I was born and raised in Middle Georgia, in a little town where everybody says y’all and eight Yes, ma’am, no, sir. And we drink sweet tea and all that good stuff. My parents attended schools that were segregated and eventually transitioned into integrated schools. They also witnessed the brutal beatings of black Americans across the South as well as on a more positive note, they saw the movements to make change happen in their communities. So with this as a backdrop, when I when I came into being, my parents were very adamant about having a great education. My father did not complete high school, he dropped out of high school and went into the military. My mother has an associate’s degree of secretarial science, which at the time was a area of work that particularly for black females pushed a lot of folks in as been like, that’s the best we got for y’all. So when I came into into this world, and in my experience in the school system, I was young, I was actually identified as quote, unquote, intellectually talented and gifted. which put me in this track with my school, my district, that afforded me classes that were considered to be the highest level classes. And because of that, I experienced significant success, at least in the traditional sense, got good grades, right? I was a studious, reader, and always did my homework. I was not a fan of doing homework at home. But I always did my homework. I was, you know, by all measures of good student at the same time, though, something very fascinating, occurred to me, which is, my school, by the time I graduated was about 80%, and black yet, and all of my gifted program classes, all of my advanced placement classes, honors classes, I was the only black male. And all of these classes by just made me really think about, right, what does that mean, in the context of my community, and in the society that I live in. And when I got older, and I went to got the college, you know, I actually went to college, thinking that I would go one way and ended up a different way. But the reason why I ended up ended up there’s different ways, because in college, I started to learn a lot about the social factors that played into why I didn’t see many folks who look like myself represented and then spaces where folks were seen as successful, quote, unquote, and I see many folks who look like myself were considered to be well off or doing well should I say in schools and their marriage occasional experience. That led me to really, at least the topic that I thought made the most sense to really dive into was the criminal justice system. I had a lot of family members who had adverse experiences with the criminal justice system and I sued I wanted to be a lawyer The time Johnny Cochran was my hero. I was like, you know, given this, maybe I need to be an attorney. And maybe that’s where I can enact change. So I went through the criminal justice program at my college, I went and got a double major in political science. And then when I got to the final year, my senior year of college, I had a quarter life crisis where I say, I don’t know what I want to do in life. And that’s when a friend said, Hey, do you ever think about sitting here, that’s a nut, I don’t know anything about it. And they sent me the link. So apply applied, the organization provides near peer mentors, for schools for before school doors go after school for Dudley and quote, unquote, urban school districts, I applied to go to New York, they asked me if I will come to Providence, I said, I’ve never heard really much about providence.
Carlon Howard 5:50
I remember in third grade, having to memorize the capitals, and I vaguely remember Providence, Rhode Island, from that, but other than that, I knew nothing. And I got a chance to come into education and to the education space, I spent my first year working in a middle school in Providence and love the experience. And that launched my career and education. And in particular, I started to think about what could I do with you? How could I leverage my experience, my lived experience? How could I leverage the skills and abilities that I had to actually enact change on a larger level, because a lot of the students who had different backgrounds in myself, but in a lot of ways reminded me of who I was at that age, I felt like I could do something, and at least land, whatever I could lead to, to make the lives of these young people and young people, my communities better. And that’s what really led me on this journey of, of thinking about and grappling with educational equity. And what does it mean the fair justice, which is also sometimes a tricky subject, being to really, truly serve our community, particularly through education, and especially when all the world’s problems exist in schools, yet, schools don’t have the resources or means to solve all the world’s problems, right? So that’s where I’m at today.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 7:15
Boy, you bring, as you said, so much to education between your lived experience, your skills, your work with City Year, and with youth. I’m really glad that you’re following your heart. That’s something I work with my students on is make sure what you’re going toward is something that lights you up that feels important. So you’re modeling that for youth listening and following your own direction and not Oh, I should be a lawyer because that has status, you know, or because Johnnie Cochran was amazing, but what are you here to be doing? And I’d love to hear more about what you created with equity Institute.
Unknown Speaker 7:56
Yeah, no, thank you for asking. So fast forward, after you worked as CDR became a teacher at work, ran a after school summer school program. Before I left the classroom as a teacher, the summer of 2016. I remember getting a message. And it was basically saying, another black male has been shot. And I opened the message I see the video and is the video for landok is still in this was the people know Facebook Live video that was shot by his girlfriend. But he died right there. The whole world witnessed it at the hands of a law enforcement official. And what was very sad or tragic about that particular thing is, I felt in this moment here, somebody who had done everything right. Right, if you know the story, he had told the officer he had a registered firearm in the vehicle yet. He was still murdered. And it put me in a deep, dark place. And I really started to grapple with what do I do about this? What can I do about this? And that eventually led me to starting these meetups spaces with my partner. And as you mentioned, recall, he leaders of color in the beginning. And basically what we did every month were hosts these meetup events to bring people together to decompress the event to share their stories of triumphs and tribulations to connect with each other to build relationships. And it just continued to grow and grow and grow. And then eventually, we found ourselves getting more calls from schools and districts organizations to say, Hey, can you come and help us figure out how to engage more people how to make sure that our schools district organizations are more inclusive? How do we really embrace diversity? How do we do? How do we do this thing that people call equity? Right? And that’s when we co founded and launched equity Institute. This was in 2019. Now, it was really at the foundation of this was our experience as educators in the school system, what we what we saw was, in a lot of ways, a lot of students reflected our identities, yet they weren’t served in the ways that made sense. And often what ran counter to what we believe, bait agree education, right, it wasn’t about a personalized experience. You know, it wasn’t about creating these deeper connections that transcend it, you know, test scores, and, and, and assessments, right, it was more about, it was about all of those things that, you know, oftentimes people struggle with, which is trying to see themselves as more than just a number or grade.
Carlon Howard 10:47
So now, you know, when we founded the organization, we really founded on the belief that we wanted to help design and implement innovative solutions to build more diverse, equitable, inclusive, professional and, and learning environments. And the way we’ve done that is through educator pathway programs that we’ve developed, we still have these meetups, we now call them regeneration. We also do what we call root cause equity analysis, which is focused on delivering a needs assessment for schools and districts. And then we do learning and development projects, which are mostly trainings and workshops that we’ve done both on a community level and also with individual schools and districts, you know, when we started was just my partner and I, and we have a staff of 10 full time folks, one of our programs TA to BA program, we started off with about 15, folks, this year, we have over 70, and next year, we’re looking to grow that so 150, and that’s an educator Pathway Program, health care professionals, become certified as educators. And then if you look across all of our programs, we’ve been able to have a significant impact, particularly here in the New England region, as folks are looking to better serve their communities.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 12:01
Wow. I love how organic it is. And I love that you are looking at needs and resources, para pros in any school I’ve been in are some of the most talented connectors with youth. And so to help them get from that ta status to getting their BA and being a certified teacher is brilliant. And I’m curious with your educator Pathway Program, right now, of course, the whole US is suffering a teacher shortage, our system is broken, our teachers are wiped out. It’s endless. They’re asked to work for free after hours, you know, go home and do your what other person goes home and does more work for free, then there’s so much that needs to change. It’s impacting us in Seattle. And I know that in rural low income areas, there’s just like a dramatic shortage, no math certified teachers in this whole poor, rural district. I mean, I see the headlines. So how are you using edge the educator Pathway Program? Is there a way that this can help address this national crisis?
Carlon Howard 13:20
Yeah, yeah. So yeah, our educator Pathway Program, which we call TA to BA, we’ve partnered with local Institute here in Rhode Island called College Unbound to develop and implement a pathway to get bachelor’s degree and certification and then ultimately, transition into the classroom as a lead teacher. The folks that we’re focusing on are teacher assistants and paraprofessionals. Those are the folks who typically are closest to the community, right. And also, the folks are oftentimes the are the lowest in terms of authority within schools, even though they oftentimes have the most powerful relationships with both students and their families. You know, for us, paraprofessionals is all average making around $28,000, right, if they become a teacher, on average, are making about $46,000, which is a significant jump in growth in terms of salaries, not ideal in terms of $46,000 has been like a significant amount of money, but it’s a huge shift from the amount of money they currently get, in a lot of ways that we’ll be doing some of the things that they’re already doing right now, only thing that’s been a barrier for them is having a degree and certification. So we’re working with College Unbound to really grow that right, mostly in our region over here. You know, the other side of that is that as equity Institute, we’re really thinking about how do we not just say, Hey, we’re gonna go everywhere, and just say, hey, you need a TA to be here. You need to be a DBA here. How do we also just help organizations get support or how they design something similar within their own contexts? So one of our newer initiatives that we’ll be launching in the New Year or will be supported schools, districts, organizations, states, with designing, implementing ideating, all that good stuff, their own versions of our educator pathway program. With us being able to provide more of a player in the world is facilitator and being able to provide resources, tools, things that we’ve picked up along the way that we’ve been doing this, you know, one of the things that makes us different than a lot of organizations is that we really operate from the belief that you have to have leadership from the communities that are most impacted by the issues of social injustice, economic isolation, political disenfranchisement, right? Like, we really believe in that right. And so the way we approached this is like, how do we help people within communities designed these types of programs to really support their communities, to really create a space where folks from their areas can become educators and do some of their best work and live into some of what is for many of them their life purpose, right, and they just haven’t really been able to tap into that. So yeah, we’re going to be the hitting the road, in the near future to really support in spread what we’ve done, because we don’t want to, we also don’t want to be like, oh, yeah, this is ours. And we’re going to, you know, hog it all on our end, but rather say, hey, this could be a viable model. For many places, it doesn’t have to look like ours, it doesn’t have to be called what we call it. But we’re here to help guide people and support people in the process, you simply be the folks who are holding the map, while the folks who are on the ground in their respective communities are the ones who are doing the driving.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 16:47
That is so powerful, because and I love the integrity of that when people come to me with a formula, do x, y, z, I feel like a widget on an assembly line. And I know starting my micro school, I had very different resources, and somebody down the road might have and I had a different population that I was trying to reach, I wanted to be the sanctuary for kids that were falling through the cracks in different ways. Somebody down the road might want to be a German immersion school. So you’re saying, hey, we want to work with who you are, we want to work with who is in your community, your resources, and help you create something that can head more people into education. So I just really appreciate that. It’s almost humility that like you don’t have an answer that’s going to serve everybody makes you much more credible than those people that do have an answer that would apply to every situation, because we know that’s not possible.
Carlon Howard 17:48
Exactly, exactly. And that’s the thing is, like, I think, a lot of initiatives across the country that have been well meaning, right and have had a lot of momentum, made some big promises. And a lot of ways, the biggest challenges that they face is going into other communities and being able to do what they did and wherever they’re coming from. Because you know, folks just feel like, Hey, you’re outsiders coming into our space, and telling us what to do. As opposed to say, alright, you know, we don’t have all the answers, but you all have the answers for what’s right for you. And let’s partner with the law to make some things happen. As really what we’re trying to say is like, we don’t we don’t want to come in as outsiders in any community and try to impose what we’re doing from the outside, but rather work with folks to make things happen to build things to create things that simply be able to be a conduit of knowledge and lessons learned. And things that we picked up along the way that to me that’s aswhat by like, the old saying goes right, you can feed your person, or you can give a person a fish, but it’s much more valuable, right to teach them how to fish, right? Because then they can eat more lifetime. And that’s really what we’re trying to do.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 19:05
Absolutely. And it’s not that you don’t have important information. I think the statistic is eight out of 10 new businesses fail so that you’re up and running and growing and 10 employees, full time employees, you know a lot about business, you know, a lot of probably, you know, some landmines that you avoided or stepped on? I know I sure do. So you have a lot of insights that might help them. And you also can be that inspiration. You can be that accountability, buddy. So you have a very important role. But we all have more buy in when we get to co create instead of having something handed to us. So you’re perpetuating something that’s going to have that level of buy in and I’m excited to see this spread because we have so many untapped resources for our schools and I’m hoping at the same time I’m we’re looking at how we can do school differently, which is the whole point of this podcast. Because I don’t want to bring more people to a to b a, to a system that kills you off. That’s road that’s test driven, where kids are not seen as individual humans. So hopefully we’re working on a 21st century system that’s effective, while we’re bringing more educators into it. So it needs to be both and and in my opinion,
Carlon Howard 20:26
absolutely, absolutely. That’s the thing is like, I think we fall into this trap of always looking at things as black or white, right. But a lot of times, the real work happens within that gray area, right, where it’s messy, and it’s challenging, and it’s confusing, and all that, right. Like, we’ve spent the past three years just navigating kind of these murky waters, because it’s hard to say it has to be this or it has to be that when we as humans are much more nuanced than that, right? Like, we like to think that way. But oftentimes, we may say one thing, but AI actions do a whole different thing, right. And that’s something that we always have to navigate is something that hopefully, as, as time continues to progress will, will become more aware that that’s how we often gravitate as humans, these biases that we have, which are to see things as, you know, this dichotomous approach to thinking where it’s like, you know, we could say multitudes and that is that is that is the truth of the matter for us as human beings. And how do we leverage that, for the benefit? Not just of us as individuals, but for our collective sake?
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 21:37
Yes, yes. So if I’m in a community thinking, yeah, I really want to create something where we’re inspiring more and supporting more people in, you know, in this educator pathway, what might be a couple of first steps that you would encourage our listeners to take?
Carlon Howard 21:56
Yeah, so the first thing I did in the process was look for inspiration, right? With another old saying, right, there’s nothing new under the sun. There’s so much inspiration out there. And one of the beautiful things of like technology, you know, on the more positive end is that it gives us instant access to so many resources and lessons and models, all these things that we can learn from. So first is like about finding this operation that exists out there. In addition to that, and another thing that I spent a lot of time doing was just talking to people, right? So meeting with, in this case, teacher assistants, and my mother was a teacher assistant, too. So I could even talk to her about these things, or read this as a paraprofessional and our kids down south. We didn’t call her teacher sister, right? Like I just I set up meetings, and for me, at least, this was the adoring COVID. So a lot of zoom meetings, a lot of phone calls. And I was just asking people talking to people and getting their perspectives on, like what they felt like could work for them, or they felt like was the biggest challenge of why, you know, they felt like there were barriers. I was talking to quote unquote, folks who were experts, right professors and researchers who had done research on these things around educated pathway retention, recruitment, all that stuff. I was I was talking to districts of with superintendents, principals, I just went out and it was almost like a research project, where I was just really trying to remember the beginning, I call it a community feedback group. And that would I would use, send people say, Hey, I’m starting this initiative, or mitrice. And starting initiative, would you be interested to get more information about is going to be focused on teacher pathways for this particular group of folks? And you know, I just reached out to a bunch of people. And if they say, yeah, we’d love for more information, I’ll say, alright, would you like to join my community feedback group, it would just be one to two conversations about how these issues impact you and what you think should be done about it. And I just saw, I just did that for a long period of time. And after that, I started to put together a proposal based on what I had learned from the inspiration I got from looking at other places and what they were doing. And from the conversations that I was engaging with people put together I think original was like a one page proposal. And then I just started finding partners to work with. And that’s where I connected with College Unbound, also connected with Rhode Island School for progressive education. We are connected with the Rhode Island Department of Education here, connected with Providence Public Schools. Central Falls School District, right, like we just started identifying who could potentially be partners in this work. And then from there, things just started to take off and grow then deploying that got to the implementation phase. Because like, I know, we had to put these ideas into action. Right. So basically, what I did I approached it just like I would, you know, back when I was a teacher, which is creating, you know, like a lesson plan and the curriculum and all those things, right. Like I basically did that for how I wanted to roll out the initiative. And then what I would also do, I had a team of folks who had debrief. In that first year we will debrief after every single engagement we had, when we had our kind of what we called our cohort nights. When we had our first initial cohort, we will just like debrief and learn, constantly learn, and then use those lessons, just reiterate on that, and then repeat that process and make it better for the next year, you know, and then it just kept growing.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 25:23
Love it. And I love the debrief part, because we need to reflect themselves are so action oriented, or not taking a breath and learning and being able to apply that these are wonderful steps. Carlin, I want to pivot and get to know you a little bit better with a few turbo time questions. Yeah. So what’s the last book you read?
Carlon Howard 25:47
Yeah. So talking to strangers, which is by Malcolm Gladwell, very interesting book, I’ve read the book. And also, the audio book is pretty cool. Because this is presented as a podcast as opposed to like someone just reading. So definitely encourage folks to check that out.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 26:05
Cool. And he’s, he’s so ingenious. I love his work. So this one, I’ll have to add to my audio list. Definitely, definitely, definitely. How about two inspirational folks you’d love to meet?
Carlon Howard 26:19
Yeah, this may be a little played out. But I’m interested in meeting Barack and Michelle Obama, I feel like, besides the sum symbol of their, their, what they accomplished over the past, you know, couple of decades, I felt like more recently, what’s been fascinating is, is their journey into this kind of narrative storytelling world. And I’m very fascinated by that, in particular, I’m just generally fascinated to buy, you know, if you look at a lot of presidents, they, you know, or at least a lot of leaders I should read this should say, in general, after they finish their, you know, big gig as he or whatever, they kind of enter the space into storytelling and, and narratives and all that. And I’m very fascinated by that. So I would love to learn more about that transition for them.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 27:06
Yes, I read Michelle’s becoming her autobiography is like, I was impressed before that, and after that, I was like, a fan. Girling. So yeah, I’m with you on that. What’s a pet peeve of yours?
Carlon Howard 27:22
You know, when folks are driving, way traffic, and all I hear is just honking honking honk. I’m from the south. So like, that’s just the that’s somewhat of a foreign concept. They’re from a small town in the south. And I moved up north, like, it was like the norm, you know, it was like, I’m not use it as this is a big pet peeve for me when like you’re stuck in traffic, and people just honking the horn, over and over and over again. It just it’s like, it grinds my gears as people say,
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 27:57
traffic situations seem to be a pet peeve for a lot of us. What’s the passion that you bring to equity work? Yeah,
Carlon Howard 28:05
you know, something. More recently that’s happened. Earlier this year, I completed formal training as a leadership performance coach. And what it did was give me kind of language and a framework to frame a lot of what I had already done in terms of being able to have conversations with people in this way that is very transformational, that creates openness, and spaciousness, and that helps people really, you know, build awareness of themselves and reflect on who they are as people. It’s something I you know, I’ve always been passionate about having conversations with people. And then when I went through this formal training program, I realized, like, wow, I’m really passionate about now with this language is coaching, leadership, performance coaching, and now I can bring that into the equity work we do, because, as you mentioned a little bit earlier about the debrief process, you know, a large part of this is just reflecting on who we are and where we want to go and understanding how the world within us and outside of us has impacted our journey today and how it will continue to impact our journey and being able to have these, you know, discussions with people and as with this particular framework around coaching, and this process is really, you know, been a delight. And I think attributes in general to my ability to engage folks are in regards to equity
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 29:27
at Rhode Island, but it’s not, on a lot of our radars. I have been to Providence. But what a favorite thing or a fun fact about Rhode Island.
Carlon Howard 29:35
You know, a lot of Rhode Islanders know this. I didn’t know this until I moved here, but it’s the smallest state in the US. So it is very tiny. You can get across the state in a relatively short amount of time. And because it’s so small to it’s like there’s a half a degree of separation between everybody you know. So is it’s easy to meet somebody Whew, you know, somebody you know. So it’s, I love it, because it’s relatively easy to get connected with folks. You know, it also makes it challenging because in the same way, you know, you have like family and close family members, you know, you get too close for comfort and things of that nature where I live, so sometimes you just like, I need some separation.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 30:24
And what is something that most folks don’t know about you?
Carlon Howard 30:28
Ah, that’s a good question. So, you know, I talked a little bit about my college journey. But I actually started out college and the reason why I was going into college, yet the University of Georgia, the time besides I just love the University of Georgia. But at the time, they also had a music business program. And I wanted to go into the music business, I actually wanted to be an entertainment lawyer or a producer. I play the piano, I’m also a percussionist. Percussion is roll as die, dive and touch the drums and yours. Piano I haven’t touched probably at about a good year or two, I actually got to get back on the piano. That’s my one of my big goals in the near future. But I always wanted to work in music, I thought that was going to be a place where I could go, you know, I had a little rap group and not college and play piano for pageant winners in some of them, like Georgia pageants, and have also played for churches and events and all these other things. I thought music was going to be my livelihood. But you know, that was just kind of something I love to do.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 31:33
Wow, fun. And Carlon, I like to end the interview with a magic wand moment. So I’m handing you a magic wand for education, equity to have maximum impact. What are you turning into a reality?
Carlon Howard 31:54
So that’s a good question. You know, if I had a magic wand, one of my favorite ideas or theories around education is comes from a guy named Ivan illage, who wrote a book called the schooling system, the schooling society. And the big ideals behind the book is making learning more accessible to people. And so for me, that will look like having museums and libraries, a place where people can actually interact with objects and learn and be able to take objects home and use those as learning tools for themselves. It also looks like, you know, being able to at any point in time, really, you know, if you want to learn about how to play music, right, you don’t have to come up and try to figure out how I’m gonna come up with all this money to pay for music lessons, there’s, there’s a mechanism that allows you to do that without having to identify a high financial burden. So to me is about how do we create kind of this, this society or this space where learning is ever present? And it’s accessible at any point in time people want to engage with learning a new skill or, or knowledge or whatever it may be. They can do that. But there’s not these huge barriers that restrict them as such as money, your finances.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 33:14
Love it. Yes. Everybody having access and learning being ever present. Beautiful magic wand Carlon. Thank you for being our guest today on education evolution.
Carlon Howard 33:28
Yeah, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 33:40
Carlon has done a powerful job of listening to the lessons of his life and pivoting to leverage his lived experiences and skills. We can all take an idea and find like minded folks to connect with on meetups in group settings, and then we can let our ideas and synergy grow into a movement. Yep, it’s hard work. But the results can be programs like TA to BA in their educator pathways work, or partnerships with organizations such as College Unbound, our efforts can become an inspiration and then we can walk alongside others who are also striving to create more equity and education systems that serve all learners. The equity Institute is walking its talk, making an impact where they are. I’m excited to see Carlon’s work extend beyond the Northeast. We can all make the magic wand wish a reality of more equity and access to learning in our society. Thank you for being a part of the education evolution.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 35:03
I know how challenging it is to make changes inside your own school or community. I’ve spent years working with schools around the world on creating learner centered programs. And it always struck me how much schools were able to get done with the right tools and guidance. If you’re ready to make changes like this in your own school, let’s talk and put together an action plan. Visit educationevolution.org/consult for a free 15 minute call. And let’s see if we’re a good fit for more work together. Thanks again for listening. To support the education evolution. Subscribe so it lands in your podcast app and gets out to more decision makers. Then rate and review it. For more information in shownotes go to educationevolution.org. education evolution listeners, you are the ones to ensure we create classrooms where each student is seen, heard, valued and thriving. We are in this together and we need you. Let’s go out and reach every student today. Thank you for listening, signing off. I am Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your partner in boldly reimagining education.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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