Atlanta Public Schools (APS) has opened the Center for Equity and Social Justice, the district’s first office with the sole goal of making education more equitable.

In 2019 the Atlanta Board of Education passed its first equity policy and then made equity a key factor in the district’s 2020-2025 strategic plan.

“Our mission in the center is so that every single student not thrives by accident but thrives by design,” said Dr. Tauheedah Baker-Jones, APS’ Chief Equity and Social Justice Officer.

Baker-Jones said she is excited to be doing this work in Atlanta Public Schools because of the district’s firm commitment to furthering equity in education.

Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring said that APS would be putting equity at the forefront with the new center.

Herring said the new center is a testament to what districts are supposed to do for their students to close the educational achievement gap. Which she said would be a step towards closing Atlanta’s wealth and income disparity, one of the largest in the country.

Allison Hunter, a senior at South Atlanta High School spoke about how important exposure to new opportunities can impact students.

“Inequity can stand in the way of us reaching our full potential,” said Hunter.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Baker-Jones told the audience that the center’s main goals are to be a support system, thought partner and accountability buddy for other departments in APS. The new center will not be responsible for writing district policy or a curriculum but the staff will work throughout APS.

This article is one of a series of articles produced by The Atlanta Voice through support provided by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to Word In Black, a collaborative of 10 Black-owned media outlets across the country.

Madeline Thigpen is an education reporter and Report for America Corps Member. She joined the Atlanta Voice in 2021. At the Voice she covers K-12 education for the Atlanta metro region and higher education....