Season 3, Ep 01: Justice Seekers: A Conversation with Lacey Robinson on Educational Equity

“I was blown away. I’d never seen that concentration of students of color being met with high expectations,” says Lacey Robinson, of an encounter early in her teaching career.  This experience would serve as the impetus for her career-long mission: to promote equity in education for underserved and socio economically disadvantaged students, particularly students of color. As president and CEO of UnboundED, she works to enable educators to disrupt system inequities in their school districts and classrooms. In a world where people of color are the global majority, students need to be met— engaged with, supported and affirmed—where they are, and their circumstances—such as coming from a home where a second language is spoken exclusively—should be treated as learning assets rather than learning deficits. In this episode of Women Igniting Change, Lacey discusses the impact of bias in education and the most common challenges most teachers face in promoting equity in teaching and learning. 


Focusing on students in the margins ultimately benefits all students as well as the community at large. Lacey explains the U.S. is in a security crisis with K-12 students graduating en masse without the mathematical skills to keep up in the technology, innovation, and defense sectors. Teachers, in turn, need the kind of steady professional development and career support that is available to most other professions.


Join today’s discussion to learn what needs to be done at the legislative level to support the mission of UnboundED, and what role technology and digital tools will play in contributing to it. Lacey explains the real reason people are afraid of Artificial Intelligence, and why, actually it’s here to help. 



  • “This justice thing went off in me. I cried, then I got mad, then I thought, ‘What is going on? Why can’t all students—everywhere, regardless of who they are, where they live—why aren’t all teachers being prepped to do this?’ That was the beginning of my justice seeking.” (4:30 | Lacey Robinson)
  • “Teachers aren’t magical beings. They don’t walk into the classroom with dust that they sprinkle around, and all of a sudden all the kids are learning how to read, write, do math and have science inquiry. Teachers need, like every profession, a high-quality professional development that supports them in their career trajectory.” (13:42 | Lacey Robinson) 
  • “I think it’s just absurd that we live in a moment where you have a public school educator who’s working in a school community in which there’s a variance of a global majority, there’s a variance of cultures and people and you’re actually asking them to ignore that.” (16:47 | Lacey Robinson) 
  • “Our goal is to reach all students. We focus on the students on the margins because if we focus on the least of them, the ones who’ve received the least amount of belief, we know we’re going to capture all of them.” (20:12 | Lacey Robinson) 
  • “We’re scared [of AI] because we haven’t done a sufficient enough job of evolving our authentic intelligence. Authentic intelligence wouldn’t lend itself for you to say, ‘I’m not a math person,’ or to say you’re shy about reading books, or learning about nonfiction topics that aren’t in your realm.” (31:35 | Lacey Robinson)