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Smiling Students of All Races

Educational Equity

Centre Beam Balance Scale Graphic

Equity, excellence, opportunity to learn, and social justice are at the heart of everything we do at MAEC. Over the past 25 years, we have operated many projects directed towards these goals. We are the long-time home of a regional technical assistance center funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The federal equity assistance centers were created to serve state departments of education, districts, and schools and help them address issues relating to race, gender, religion, and national origin (English Learners). As of 2016, MAEC’s region now encompasses 15 states and territories. Designated as Region I, the Center for Education Equity (CEE) at MAEC reaches Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virgin Islands, and West Virginia. MAEC also supports the Region II equity assistance center which stretches across the South.

We strongly believe that every student matters and should be afforded the opportunities, resources, and supports necessary to succeed. To achieve educational equity, efforts must be intentional, accountable, and contextual. This goal requires an examination of systemic policies and practices, school climate, student access to support for rigorous curriculum, and teaching and learning. MAEC facilitates this process by reviewing the cultural, structural, and material dimensions necessary for making transformational change. We provide technical assistance, professional learning, and tools necessary to operationalize equity into practice.


Community Resource Mapping – Educational Equity

MAEC uses a strengths-based approach for asset mapping, since often the best solutions come from within the communities in which our districts/schools reside. These key stakeholders include districts, schools, communities, and families all who are seeking to increase student achievement. To this end, MAEC conducts community walks and community resource mapping to identify potential partners and allies for effective and efficient delivery of services. This process includes attention to alignment between district and school needs and priorities so together partners can build the social and human capital that will help students and staff thrive.

Comprehensive Needs Assessment – Educational Equity

Beginning with a disaggregated data analysis of student achievement, student discipline, and school climate, MAEC is able to effectively determine client strengths and areas of need. This collaborative inquiry approach enables MAEC to examine multiple sources of data. Using a culturally responsive and equity framework, further creates opportunities to develop operational action plans to tackle complex challenges that pose barriers to gains in student achievement.

Culturally Responsive Family, School, and Community Engagement – Educational Equity

A family is a child’s first teacher. When families’ partner with schools and community organizations, children thrive. To produce the best results for students, MAEC builds the capacity of families, educators, schools, and community organizations to collaborate, exchange ideas, and develop and implement policies and action plans. We build on the collaborative strengths of families, educators, and community members so they can each contribute to the development and success of diverse students.

Culturally Responsive Leadership – Educational Equity

Leaders set the tone and expectations of any organization. They do this by responding effectively to the diverse communities that they serve, being asset-focused, and proactive problem solvers. Culturally responsive leadership technical assistance provides a multi-dimensional framework that builds capacity of educators who are culturally informed and highly skilled in culturally responsive practice.

Advancing Capacity as Culturally Proficient Leaders

This training series is designed to advance the capacity of district leadership to embed cultural proficiency into their roles as they support staff. MAEC collaborates with  clients to examine the systemic and structural roles of cultural proficiency in school district transformation. The trainings include  the following components: Cultural Proficiency Continuum, School Leader Identity Reflection, Multicultural Education – Cultural Influence on Perspective, Multiple Worlds Theory, Historical, Societal, and Political Contextualization, Cultural Responsive Leadership Norms, Essential Elements of Cultural Proficiency, Building Positive School Culture and Climate, and Culture and Climate Self Study.

Culturally Responsive Discipline Models and Practice

Creating a positive school and classroom culture is essential to reducing disruptive behaviors that lead to referrals and suspensions.  Culturally Responsive Discipline Models and Practice guides educators through the exploration and analysis of discipline models, continuum of interventions and supports, and the creation of equity centered student codes of conduct. The trainings include the following components: School Climate and Culture, PBIS vs. CRPBIS, School Climate Survey Samples, Student Codes of Conduct Models, Root Cause Analysis, and Reducing Disproportionality.

Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning

This series of training is intended for school-based educators to explore the impact that identity and context have on teaching and learning; build an understanding of educational access, participation, and outcomes as they relate to issues of power and privilege; and apply new knowledge to begin planning for culturally responsive practice implementation. The trainings include the following components: Opportunity Gaps, Disproportionality, Exploring Personal Identity, Perceptions about Students and Learning, Structural Racism vs. Poverty, Cultural Context, Data Analysis and Decision-Making, and Asset-based Approach to Teaching and Learning.

Ensuring Educational Equity for English Learners

Under Title VI and Title III of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, school districts are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, and national origin. This training highlights the requirements surrounding the provision of services for ELs with an emphasis on the identification, placement, provision of alternative program for ELs, access to challenging content, and assessment. In addition, the training addresses the legal rights of parents/guardians.

Evolving as Culturally Responsive Educators

This training series is intended to advance participants’ growth as culturally competent educators and leaders. The trainings include the following components: Cultural Proficiency Continuum, School Educator Identity Reflection, Cultural Influence on Perspective, Habits of Mind, Elements of Cultural Identity, Essential Elements of Cultural Proficiency, and Multicultural Education – Cultural Influence on Perspective.

Title IX , Anti-Bullying and Sexual Harassment Compliance for School Districts and Schools

This training provides an overview of Title IX requirements and will prepare participants to respond to incidents of harassment and bullying with proactive, timely, and culturally responsive practices, ensuring employee and students’ rights.

Helping English Learners Achieve the Common Core in Delaware, District of Columbia, and West Virginia

The Mid-Atlantic Equity Center has partnered with the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center at WestEd to co-host a Title III State Coordinators Community of Practice to increase English Learner achievement in the Common Core State Standards. The purpose of the convening is to provide Title III State Coordinators with:

  • A professional network of job-alikes across the region to share best practices, research, and tools to improve the delivery of services to local education agencies to serve English Learners and their families;
  • Increased  capacity to provide technical assistance to local education agencies in establishing cooperative and collaborative coaching opportunities between general content teachers and ESOL teachers; and
  • Professional learning opportunities provided by leading national and regional experts on English Language Acquisition, Academic Language Development, and Co-Teaching Models for General Education/ESOL Teachers.

¡Adelante! Moving Forward!

A Guide to Empower Parents of English Learners to Advocate for their Children Book Cover of ¡Adelante! Moving Forward! In 2010, approximately five million students in the United States were identified as English Learners (ELs). These students have different levels of English proficiency and number of years of formal education. While this growing number of ELs represents a considerable challenge, it is the responsibility of schools to ensure that ELs have equal access to quality education that enables them to progress academically while learning English. Currently there is a substantial body of legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which protects the rights of these students. Unfortunately, many parents of ELs are not aware of these laws and therefore cannot advocate for their children. ¡Adelante! Moving Forward! A Guide to Empower Parents of English Learners to Advocate for their Children is designed as an informational training tool to provide trainers of immigrant parents and parent leaders with user friendly and accessible information regarding the legal responsibilities of educational agencies serving ELs and the rights of parents of ELs. The publication was developed through a partnership between the MAEC and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law’s Parental Readiness and Empowerment Program (PREP). It is available in English and Spanish. View the Table of Contents for ¡Adelante! Request a free copy of this publication. [gravityform id="16" title="false" description="false"]

Post Image Achievement Gap

This piece, part of our Addressing Critical Equity Issues series, discusses the Achievement Gap and what will it take to successfully engage our Black and Latino students and eliminate the disparities in achievement.

Achievement Gap

The achievement gap between Black and Latino students and their White counterparts continues to persist. For example, between 1975 and 2008, lack and Latino students at ages nine and thirteen made gains in reading: in 1975, a little less than 50% of nine year old Black and Latino students scored at the lowest performance levels, while only 2% of nine year old Black students and 3% of nine year old Latino students scored at the highest levels of performance. By 2008, less than 33% of nine year old Black and Latino students scored at the lowest performance level, while approximately 10% of Black and Latino students scored at the highest performance levels. A similar trend of improvement in reading achievement was evident among Black and Latino thirteen year old students. The NAEP long‐term trend assessment in mathematics between 1978 and 2008 revealed even larger gains for both nice year old and thirteen year old Black and Latino students. Notwithstanding such gains in achievement, however, NAEP data on the achievement gap reveal a disconcerting pattern of what Boykin and Noguera refer to as relative stagnation (2011). For example, based on data cited in the NAEP, 2007, the 4th grade and 8th grade reading achievement gaps between Black and White students as well as Latino and White students were statistically the same as they were in 1998. Similarly, despite slight improvements in mathematics performance among Black students between 1996 and 2007, the Black‐ White and Latino‐White achievement gaps remained statistically the same. Data collected by NAEP over the last three decades reveals widening test score disparities in reading, mathematics and science among Black and Latino nine, thirteen and seventeen year olds. Such long term trend assessments speak to the multidimensional nature and complexities that are inherent to disparities in academic outcomes that tend to correspond to the race and class of the learners. What will it take to successfully engage our Black and Latino students and eliminate the disparities in achievement? According to James Banks, the culture of the school and the classroom is often incongruent with the culture of the home and community. When fundamental relationships between the school and home are lacking, the student’s efficacy for high levels of achievement is compromised. According to Chinwe Uwah, academic efficacy ……is influenced by students’ sense of belonging; i.e. the degree to which they perceive themselves to be welcomed, valued, and respected members of the school community. In Creating the Opportunity to Learn: Moving from Research to Practice to Close the Achievement Gap, Boykin and Noguera (2011) refer to a combination of inter‐related guiding functions that are needed to maximize opportunities for successful engagement. They include self‐efficacy, self‐regulated learning and incremental ability beliefs. In order to effectively cultivate these mindsets for optimal engagement, culturally responsive relationship‐building is needed; this in turn requires an understanding of the impact of culture on teaching and learning (Howard, 2011). Promising Practices Evidence‐Based Practices
  •  The Achievement Gap Initiative (AGI) is a university‐wide effort initiated by the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) that focuses on academic research, public education, and innovative  outreach activities toward eliminating achievement gaps: http://www.
  •  PD 360, the leading on‐demand professional learning resource, is a web‐based library of research‐ based professional development programs. The programs are designed to empower teachers to access instant answers and individualized support. The program includes Using Data to Close the Achievement Gap and allows teachers and leaders to move through data training at their own pace:
  • All Means All – "What Is It About Me You Can’t Teach?" This program is designed for teachers of diverse learners. Eleanor Renee Rodriguez shows teachers how to reach every student by implementing 5 essential elements for student success. Each strategy discussed in the program is demonstrated by real teachers in real classrooms. This program is available in elementary and secondary editions:
  • Banks, James A. (2011). Multicultural Education: Issues and Perspectives. New York Teachers College Press
  •  Gay, Geneva (2010). Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory Research and Practice. New York: Teachers College Press
  •  Horsford, Sonya D. (2011). Learning in a Burning House. New York: Teachers College Press
  •  Howard, Gary (2006) We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know: White Teachers, Multiracial Schools. New York: Teachers College Press
  •  Howard, Tyrone C. (2010). Why Race and Culture Matter in Schools: Closing the Achievement Gap in America’s Classrooms. Teachers College Press
  •  Jackson, Yvette, (2011). The Pedagogy of Confidence. New York: Teachers College Press.
  •  Nieto, Sonia (2010). The Light In Their Eyes: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities. New York: Teachers College Press.
  •  Miller, David (2011). Man‐Up: Recruiting and Retaining African American Male Mentors
  •  Moore, Wes O. (2010). The Other Wes Moore. New York: Random House
  •  Uwah, Chinwe J. , (2008). School belonging, educational aspirations, and academic efficacy among African American male high school students: implications for counselors. Professional School Counseling.
  • Weinstein, C., Curran, M. & Tomilson‐Clarke, S. (2003). Culturally responsive classroom management: Awareness into action. Theory into Practice, 42,269‐276

Download: Download Achievement Gap

Post Image Addressing Religious Liberties Within Schools

Students must be free from religious bias. The issue of the appropriate role of religion in the public schools continues to be the subject of great controversy. School officials, parents, and students -- as well as lawyers and judges -- wrestle with these questions every day. Decision makers must address many competing demands. They need to balance the constitutional mandates of separation of church and state and the right to freely exercise religion, as well as freedom of speech. Religion, while complex, does not have to be divisive. School districts should set forth clear policies and practices regarding religion in the public schools that satisfy both the letter and the spirit of the First Amendment. This presentation provided an overview of the legal challenges of addressing religion in public schools and unlearning religious bias. It also provided recommendations for culturally sustaining practices to meet the needs of students from diverse religious backgrounds. Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand the implications of the First Amendment as it pertains to education and religion in public schools.
  • Balance constitutional concerns regarding religious liberty with school policies, including free exercise and religious accommodations.
  • Identify challenges faced by students from diverse religious backgrounds.
  • Identify best practices and policies for creating inclusive and safe environments for students from diverse religious backgrounds.
  • Melissa Garlick, Northeast Civil Rights Area Counsel, Anti-Defamation League
  • Seth Gordon-Lipkin, Education Director, Washington, DC Region, Anti-Defamation League
  • Dr. Muhammad Khalifa, Associate Professor, Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development; Co-Director, UCEA Program Center for the Study of Leadership in Urban Education, University of Minnesota
Download Addressing Religious Liberties within Schools (PDF) View the online recorded presentation

Post Image Addressing the Needs of the Whole Child: Inter-Agency and Community Collaborations for Student Success

Part of MAEC’s Boosting Success for 21st Century Learners Webinar Series, this webinar introduces participants to two innovative programs that link schools and communities together to meet the growing needs of families, children, and youth so all can thrive. This session was originally held on November 19, 2013 Presenters:

  • Carolyn Camacho, Site Coordinator, Identity at Watkins Mill High School Wellness Center (MD)
  • Luis Cardona, Youth Violence Prevention Coordinator, Positive Youth Initiative, Montgomery County (MD)  Department of Health and Human Services
  • Christian Rhodes, Education Policy Advisor, Office of the County Executive (MD)
  • Corey Smedley, Assistant Chief S/A to DCAO for Public Safety, Prince George's County Government (MD)
Description: As families and schools face challenging economic times, finding innovative ways to form inter-agency and community collaborations is key to supporting student success. This webinar highlights two innovative programs that link schools and communities together to meet the growing needs of families, children, and youth so all can thrive. The first program is the Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative (TNI). Christian Rhodes and Corey Smedley will describe how TNI focuses on providing coordinated economic, health, public safety, and educational services to six neighborhoods in Prince George's County, MD. The second program is the Wellness Centers in Montgomery County Public Schools, MD. Luis Cardona and Carolyn Camacho explain how the Wellness Centers work with children and their families in the school community to reach their full potential by offering coordinated medical care, preventive and psychosocial services, quality counseling, positive youth development, and health education, in a culturally sensitive and confidential manner. Learning Outcomes:
  • Gain an understanding of how inter-agency and community-based collaborations with districts/schools can increase students' achievement and well-being;
  • Learn about two innovative Maryland programs: the Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative from Prince George's County and the Wellness Center Program in Montgomery County; and
  • Develop an understanding of common barriers to this work and conditions/resources needed for success.

Post Image Assessing and Enhancing School Climate and Culture

Part of MAEC’s Boosting Success for 21st Century Learners Webinar Series, this webinar provides participants with an overview of research concerning school climate and connectedness, tools to assess current school climate, and resources to create and maintain a positive school climate. This session was originally held on September 25, 2012. Presenter:  Michelle Nutter, Safe and Supportive Schools Manager, Pennsylvania Center for Safe Schools; Pennsylvania State Equity Coordinator, The Mid-Atlantic Equity Center Description: As schools face increasing pressure to ensure the academic success of all students, these efforts must be guided by a greater emphasis on student connectedness.  In order to perform academically, students must feel safe, respected and connected to the adults and other students in their school.  By focusing on creating a positive, welcoming school climate, schools stress the importance of belonging.  By enhancing students’ connectedness to schools, students are more likely to stay in school and be engaged in their education. Learning Outcomes

  • Participants will recognize the important connection between school climate and academic achievement.
  • Participants will understand the difference between school climate and school culture.
  • Participants will identify ways to increase student connectedness.

Post Image Bio-Social-Emotional Needs of Immigrant Students, with a Focus on Central Americans

Part of CEE’s Exploring Equity Issues series, this paper discusses social and emotional learning (SEL) and the special challenges faced by immigrant students in this area. For immigrant students, the challenge of SEL is compounded by their simultaneous navigation of social and academic displacement, trauma, and family reunification. The paper concludes with both school-wide and teacher strategies that respond to immigrant student needs.  

Bio-Social-Emotional Needs of Immigrant Students, with a Focus on Central Americans

PART I: BACKGROUND Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process by which individuals learn to understand and manage their emotions, maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. For immigrant students, this process holds additional challenges, as they learn these skills while also navigating complex emotional reactions to social and academic displacement, trauma, and family reunification. “I am from El Salvador. My uncle, brother and I decided to come to the U.S. because the gangs were threatening us. One of my friends was killed. On the way here we were kidnapped in Mexico and held for three months until a ransom was sent. There was another man with us who had all five of his fingers on one hand cut off by the kidnappers, and then they stabbed him to death right in front of my brother and I. Once we got to the border, we were caught by ICE and my uncle was sent back home. I saw a counselor when I first got here, and now I don’t have nightmares anymore.”


Immigration to the United States from Central America has long been driven by economic difficulties and violence. In the last four decades, these countries have experienced civil wars, crippling poverty, increased gang violence and narco-trafficking, and disintegration of civil structures. According to World Atlas statistics, since 2014 El Salvador and Honduras have been named as countries with the highest murder rates that are not at war. Children are either targeted for recruitment into an expansive network of gang activity or are living under their threat. Consequently, the flow of children entering the United States has increased as they seek safety. These children do not have refugee status, but rather must independently find and fund legal counsel. Without such assistance, they risk being deported to the countries they fled. From the years 2013-2015, the Migration Policy Institute reported a spike in Central American unaccompanied minors crossing the Mexican border into the United States, totaling 77,000 during this period. High Point High School in Prince George’s County, Maryland, currently has the largest numbers of ESOL students in the state. The total 2017-2018 ESOL enrollment thus far has topped 1,200 students. With increased anxiety over changing immigration policies, ESOL students are withdrawing or transferring to other schools at unseen rates; over 400 ESOL students have withdrawn from High Point this academic year. Students report that they are receiving deportation and voluntary departure notices, are re-locating to more affordable housing, or are choosing to work in order to prepare for a return to their home country, in spite of the safety risks.


Newcomer immigrant students place particular demands on school staff, not only for specialized instructional interventions, but for social and mental health supports as well. Improving instruction requires awareness of intercultural communication and appropriate responses to students exposed to trauma, family loss, uncertain legal future, and cultural adjustment. Immigrant children are more likely to face numerous risks to healthy development (Close & Solberg, 2008). Biological needs to consider include access to health care and immunizations, interruption of eating/sleeping patterns, pre-existing health conditions, and the impact of chronic stress and trauma on the body. Limited exposure to sun and physical exercise also take their toll on newcomer immigrants from countries where most of their daily life took place outdoors. Social needs for belonging within their academic community cannot be overstated. A study of Latino students in the United States confirmed that students who felt more connected with their teachers and their school were also more motivated to attend school, which was in turn associated with better achievement (Close and Solberg, 2008). Newcomer students need opportunities to build relationships with their new peers, experience success in their new language and school, and begin the long task of attachment at home with biological parents or caretakers who may be virtual strangers. Newcomer students also need assistance with acculturation and orientation regarding school procedures, U.S. education norms, legal requirements such as attendance and immunization, and community resource information on low-cost health care and legal services. The students need an opportunity to understand that their culture shock, adjustment, and challenging relationships with unfamiliar family members in the context of time – that their current emotional state, be it stress, depression or anger, is temporary. In 2016, High Point conducted an anonymous survey of 294 newcomer students from Central America to help understand the scope of their social-emotional needs. Responses revealed that 52% had experienced gang/community violence in their home countries or on their journey to the United States, 35% had interrupted education, 45% had a loved one die in the previous year, 37% reported experiencing insomnia or nightmares regularly, and 79% reported a need for legal counseling. As trauma research has documented, children who have experienced trauma, fear, separation from family, and isolation are subject to a variety of psychological stressors and mental health challenges. Studies have shown some develop anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or other conditions. Once in the United States, these students continue to worry about family members and friends who remain in their country; family members become ill, friends are murdered, relatives disappear. Trauma can cause interrupted sleep, poor concentration, anger/aggression, physical pain and/or social withdrawal. Trauma also can interfere with attention, memory, and cognition – all skills that are fundamental in learning. PART II: WHAT CAN WE DO?


Provide staff training on behaviors to watch for. School-wide interventions begin with training staff so educators are familiar with the geo-political causes of immigration, and the impacts of trauma. Staff training is necessary in order to understand and interpret behaviors a student may exhibit during their adjustment period – be it silence, disorganization, or disengagement. Provide immigrant students with specialized orientation. School staff can also provide a sense of safety to students and facilitate mastery of their new surroundings through teaching expectations and routines with visual reminders, supporting a culture of respect, and correcting with warm firmness. Bilingual orientation guides help with the task of mastery. These guides may include: a map of the school; information on community resources; important staff to know; websites and apps that can support English language learning; school procedures regarding code of conduct, absences, library use, and inclement weather policies; tips for managing culture shock; and strategies for building trust with new family members. Bilingual social work and family support staff are vital. School staff must also help newcomer students be aware of gang activity. Unaccompanied minors in particular are at an increased risk for recruitment either at school or in their communities. Students need to know the methods for recruitment (intimidation, skipping parties, drug trafficking), refusal techniques, and school staff who can support them.


As teachers, we can draw on the research and interventions for trauma-informed and trauma-sensitive learning environments to respond to immigrant student needs. Marlene Wong of the Support for Students Exposed to Trauma program has designed school-based curriculum to support school-wide understanding and interventions to mitigate the impact of past trauma. All the best instructional techniques we have will depend on the student’s availability to engage with and learn from us. This need to belong has long been recognized as one of the most important psychological needs in humans (Maslow, 1943). Hence, our most essential tool in engaging with all youth, especially youth with traumatic histories, is ourselves – our warm, caring, dependable, steady, relational, limit-setting selves. As educators and support staff, we provide this necessary positive mirroring and a belief that students’ resilience is stronger than their challenges. Use mindfulness techniques in the classroom. Resiliency and post-trauma growth research emphasizes the need for students to learn emotional regulation, how to relate positively to others, and how to reason through challenges. Mindfulness techniques and grounding exercises can help students by teaching an awareness of their body and their mind in the present moment. Using five minutes of class on a routine bases for check-ins related to self-awareness (emotional state, physical and cognitive energy), deep breathing techniques, guided meditation, and simple movements to stimulate or calm the brain are all skills that students can learn in order to regulate their mind and body. These exercises can change the energy of the student and the energy in the classroom. Engage in classroom community building. The circle process is another method for strengthening classroom community and enhancing self-efficacy. Using one or two prompts and inviting students to respond provides an opportunity to build connections and normalize their experiences of adjustment. In addition, invite older student leaders who have lived through similar experiences, to share their challenges and successes with newcomer students. Given the changes in immigration policies specifically towards Central American students and families, we are likely to see an increase in anxiety-related and depressive behaviors. This could be manifested by poor attendance, self-harm and suicidal ideation, increased drug use, and dropping out of school. As caring educators, we need to know the daily realities of our students and how we can best address their needs, to support what they most desire – a safe and better life for themselves and their families. RESOURCES Written by Beth Hood, LCSW-C ESOL Intervention Specialist, High Point High School, Beltsville, MD REFERENCES Blaustein, M., & Kinniburgh, K. M. (2010). Treating traumatic stress in children and adolescents: How to foster resilience through attachment, self-regulation, and competency. New York: Guilford Press. Boyes-Watson, C., & Pranis, K. (2015). Circle forward: Building a restorative school community. St. Paul, MN: Living Justice Press. Close, W., & Solberg, S. (2008). Predicting achievement, distress, and retention among lower-income Latino youth. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 72(1), 31-42. doi:10.1016/j.jvb.2007.08.007 Eccles, J. S., & Roeser, R. W. (2011). Schools as Developmental Contexts During Adolescence. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 21(1), 225-241. doi:10.1111/j.1532-7795.2010.00725.x Maslow A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychol. Rev., 50 370–396. \10.1037/h0054346 National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE) home: Part of the U.S. Department of Education (ED). (n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2018, from Pariona, A. (2016, September 28). Murder Rate By Country. Retrieved March 21, 2018, from What is SEL? (n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2018, from  

Download: Exploring Equity - Bio-Social-Emotional Needs of Immigrant Students

Post Image Building Relationships for Student Success

Part of CEE’s Exploring Equity Issues series, this paper discusses the importance of building relationships with students in schools, classrooms, and out-of-time school programs. It also provides principles and practices that educators have used to build positive relationships and school cultures.  

Building Relationships for Student Success

PART I: RELATIONSHIPS WITH STUDENTS MATTER As the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child concluded in a 2004 report, “relationships engage children in the human  community in ways that help them define who they are, what they become, and how and why they are important to other people.” Or as researchers Junlei Li and Megan Julian have argued, interventions that don’t focus on relationships are as effective as toothpaste without fluoride (Li & Julian, in press). How do you build positive relationships with students in schools, classrooms, and out-of-time school programs? How do these relationships contribute to the overall culture of the learning environment in schools? Why is this particularly important for students who have to overcome challenging childhood experiences? Data show the more positive relationships that students have, the more likely they are to be successful in school and in their lives (Roehlkepartian & Pekel et. al, Science Research, 2017). Again, this is particularly true for our more vulnerable students who may face challenging situations outside of school and need adults at school who can engage and motivate them. Schools are small societies. These small societies are usually under considerable stress because they must perform in the context of many internal and external demands. All too often a sense of siege results and a garrison mentality can arise. One of the pioneers in the sociology of education, Willard Waller, characterized school culture as “a despotism in a state of perilous equilibrium.” But Waller’s vision is too bleak. Schools can be joyful and exciting places to learn if attention is paid to ensuring and promoting healthy relationships among students, teachers, administrators, staff,  families, and the community. The sum total of these relationships is a school’s culture and building them must be a priority. Harvard educator Roland Barth (2002, p.6) once observed, “A school’s culture has far more influence on life and learning in the school house than the president of the country, state department of education, the superintendent, the school board, and even the principal, teachers and parents can ever have.” According to the Great Schools Partnership, the term “school culture”generally refers to the beliefs,perceptions, relationships, attitudes, and written and unwritten rules that shape and influence every aspect of how a school functions. The term also encompasses more concrete issues such as the physical and emotional safety of students, the orderliness of classrooms and public spaces, or the degree to which a school embraces and celebrates racial, ethnic, linguistic, or cultural diversity. The importance of a positive school culture based on health and productive relationships for student success is supported by research. James Coleman and his associates, in particular, brought to public attention the power of positive relationships and school cultures in shaping student achievement. Since their 1981 publication, High School Achievement: Public, Catholic, and Private Schools Compared, the study of school cultures has grown to include the work of other scholars such as Anthony Bryk and Barbara Schneider (2004), whose study of trust makes it clear that healthy relationships build trust which in turn leads to inclusive and productive learning environments. A school’s culture reveals its underlying ethos and its unspoken assumptions about the value of relationships. These characteristics matter to young people seeking to find themselves and envision a positive future. Capturing this organizational magic in a bottle is not an easy task, but to ignore the cultural DNA of schools is to overlook their potential power to transform lives. Positive relationships which help to build positive school cultures, however, are not ends in themselves. The goal is to create great schools and school systems that unleash human talent by becoming genuine learning communities. As Adams, Ford, and Forsyth (2015) write: Teachers learn and grow from personal and shared reflections of teaching practice. Principals leverage trust and commitment to bring transformative visions to life. Students are motivated and engaged when they relate to instructional materials and find meaning in academic tasks. Learning opportunities expand when schools, families and communities establish relational cohesion. Today the issue of building relationships for student success is critically important. Roughly half the country’s public school students are eligible for free or reduced priced meals. Less than half the students enrolling in public schools today are white. We are a multicultural, multiracial, and multilingual society. We must learn to celebrate differences and work together for the common good. These positive relationships begin at the school house door. What can we do on a practical basis to ensure that we build positive relationships and school cultures so all students succeed? PART II: WHAT CAN WE DO? The elements that contribute to positive relationships and school culture include: building trust, conveying care, stimulating growth, sharing decision making, increasing possibilities (Search Institute, 2017), a safe and supportive environment, effective school leadership, culturally responsive pedagogy and practice, high quality teachers, rigorous instruction, numerous extracurricular activities, staff collaboration, and college and career readiness. The bedrock quality of a positive school culture is the inclusion of family and community. Community is a big concept; inclusion means everyone. Below are some principles and practices that educators have used to build positive relationships and school cultures: ADHERE TO AND INTERNALIZE BASIC PRINCIPLES The first step is a commitment to basic principles including: Relationships with students matter. First and foremost, time, effort, and caring can result in increased student engagement and higher academic achievement. Professional learning opportunities to develop relational skills are vital to creating a positive learning environment. A school’s vision and mission should be based on a co-constructed approach between schools, diverse families, and communities where all cultures are elevated and respected. Differences in culture and language should be seen as assets and funds of knowledge. Policies and practices should be aligned with specific needs of students. It is imperative that program offerings are aligned to teach and assess diverse students, including English Learners, African American, Latino children, and other populations whose academic achievement needs to be addressed to reduce and eliminate the achievement gap. School leaders must set the tone and demonstrate consistent commitment to inclusion and mutual respect. Leadership is essential to the success of building a positive school culture. Successful school leadership requires both modeling and implementing practices that include the whole community in decision making. Teachers need embedded professional learning opportunities to empower them to act as agents of change. On-going culturally competent professional development enables teachers to learn skills and receive support as needed. POSITIVE SCHOOL CULTURES INCLUDE FAMILY AND COMMUNITY We know there are certain policies and practices which increase learning for all students and promote inclusive and supportive school cultures. Here are some suggestions: Communicate regularly with families, community, and the public. All positive relationships are based on open and honest communication. No one in a school should feel silenced.  Communicate positive information about students to their families. Build on identified family resources and their funds of knowledge. This will help create authentic engagement to increase and sustain academic achievement (e.g. home visiting programs). Revise or refine the school’s discipline code with student and family input Emphasize understanding and reconciliation rather than punishment. Reflection is critically important for creating positive relationships. By embracing diversity and, by recognizing the worth of all people, schools can change from the inside-out in a genuine organic way and become nurturing environments where positive relationships develop and thrive. And students develop and thrive. Written by Peter W. Cookson, Jr. - Principal Researcher, American Institutes for Research. Edited by Susan Shaffer - President, MAEC REFERENCES Adams, C., Ford T. & Forsyth P. (2015). Next generation school accountability: A report commissioned by the Oklahoma State Department of Education. Tulsa, OK: The Oklahoma Center for Education Policy & the Center for Educational Research and Evaluation. Bryk, A. S. & Schneider, B. (2004). Trust in schools: A core resource for improvement. New York: The Russell Sage Foundation. Barth, R. S. (2002). The culture builder. Educational Leadership, 59 (8), 6–11. Coleman, J. S., Hoffer, T., & Kilgore, S. (1981). High school achievement: Public, Catholic and private schools compared. Chicago: National Opinion Research Center. Li, J., & Julian, M. M. (2012). Developmental relationships as the active ingredient: A unifying working hypothesis of “what works” across intervention settings. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 82(2), 157–166. doi10.1111/J.1939-0025.2012.01151.X National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. (2004). Young children develop in an environment of relationships. Working Paper No. 1. Cambridge, MA: National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. Retrieved from Roehlkepartain, E. C., Pekel, K., Syvertsen, A. K., Sethi, J., Sullivan, T. K., & Scales, P. C. (2017). Relationships First: Creating Connections that Help Young People Thrive. Minneapolis, MN: Search Institute. Search Institute. (2017, May). The developmental relationships framework. Retrieved from  

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Post Image Civil Rights in the Classroom

Part of MAEC's Boosting Success for 21st Century Learners Webinar Series, this webinar for school administrators and teachers will provide an overview of civil rights laws and issues as they pertain to the classroom, discuss their impact on student achievement and school reform, and provide participants with practical tips to apply in the classroom. Download Civil Rights in the Classroom.

Post Image Collaborative Inquiry Model: Addressing Gender Equity in Education

This piece, part of our Addressing Critical Issues series, discusses how current models of school reform and program evaluations do not sufficiently capture the practices that perpetuate gender bias.  

Collaborative Inquiry Model: Addressing Gender Equity in Education

Since the passage of Title IX, enormous progress has been made to ensure equal educational opportunities on the basis of gender. Yet, gender bias in schools is still a largely invisible issue (ED, 2012, Ginsburg, 2005). Current models of school reform and program evaluations do not sufficiently capture the practices that perpetuate gender bias. For example, standardized test scores are unlikely to reveal whether teachers are giving boys and girls equal amounts of attention in the classrooms or the effects of gender based socialization on instruction (Ginsberg, 2005). Collection and analysis of gender data will provide a more comprehensive understanding of the relationship between instruction and evidence of student learning and its impact on classroom inequities. Accomplishing this goal also will require a higher level of collaboration among teachers,administrators, and districts (Robinson,2010). The Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) report for the Department of Education analyzed opportunities and success by gender in a variety of categories. In terms of Advanced Placement classes, girls outnumber boys in enrollment in AP science, AP foreign languages, and several other AP subjects. Boys consistently outnumber girls in AP Mathematics enrollment. Across the board, boys take and pass AP tests at a higher rate than girls. In terms of discipline rates, girls of all races are suspended out of-school at lower rates than boys of the same race. However, African American girls are suspended at higher rates than Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander, and White boys. In terms of school climate, girls represent 55% of the nearly 62,000 students in the sample that reported having been bullied or harassed on the basis of sex. Boys represented 79.6% of the 92,000 students in the sample disciplined for bullying or harassment on the basis of sex (ED, 2012). Examining data (especially demographic,achievement, and disaggregated data) frequently reveals negative assumptions about what children of color, special needs students, students living in poverty, and students across gender lines are capable of learning and achieving (Love, Stiles, Mundry, & DiRanna, 2008). For example, according to a recent study, young male rambunctiousness leads teachers to underestimate their intellectual and academic abilities (Sommers, 2013). Lessons learned from the New York City Department of Education by The Consortium of Policy Research in Education (CPRE), show that Collaborative Inquiry strengthens teacher understanding and use of student assessment and performance to improve their instructional decision-making. Most importantly, the Collaborative Inquiry Model provides teachers with a framework for responding to a range of issues related to race, gender, and national origin (Love, et al., 2008). Often times, teachers are constrained by time and expertise to fully manage, utilize, or even be aware of the complex web of contextual factors found in schools, districts, states, and other external initiatives and structures that affect learning (Nelson & Slavit, 2008). As a result, without a supportive and facilitated process that support teachers and data teams to engage in a reflective and constructive dialogue, analysis of data can be misinterpreted and lead to conflict (Love, et al., 2008). The process of facilitated dialogue enables teachers to enhance their inquiry stance and increase their ability to function as part of a collaborative. At the same time, this intentional facilitation process better positions teachers to negotiate outside influences that may support or hinder the inquiry process (Nelson & Slavit, 2008). Studies done by CPRE with the New York City Department of Education shows that the Collaborative Inquiry Model enables teachers to build evidence-based professional learning communities within their schools, and improve their professional work and relationships (Robinson, 2010). The Collaborative Inquiry Model is usually situated within the school context and utilizes the power of teacher-to-teacher collaboration, often with a facilitator, to analyze student data in relation to teaching practices (Nelson & Slavit, 2008). This model roots the professional development experience within the school environment and improves student achievement through targeted and informed instructional decision-making, with a culturally responsive process that is necessary to address gender equity in the education. REFERENCES
  •  Ginsberg, A. (2005). Gender equity programs in urban education: Redefining relationships between funding and evaluation. The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education Journal Perspectives on Urban Education, 3(2), 1-26.
  • Love, N.B., Stiles, K.E., Mundry, S., & DiRanna, K. (2008). The data coach’s guide to improving learning for all students. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
  •  Nelson, T. & Slavit, D.(2008). Supported teacher collaborative inquiry. Teacher Education Quarterly, 35(1) 99-116. Retrieved from: (October 30, 2013).
  • Robinson, M.A. (2010). School perspectives on collaborative Inquiry: Lessons learned from New York City, 2009-2010. Prepared by Consortium for Policy Research in Education, New York, NY: Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved from: (October 30, 2013)
  • Sommers, C.H. (2013, October 28) What schools can do to help boys succeed. Time. Retrieved from: (October 30, 2013).
  • U.S. Department of Education (ED). (2012). Gender equity in education: A data snapshot. Retrieved from (October 30, 2013)

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Post Image Collaborative Inquiry, Cultural Proficiency, and Racially Diverse Learners

This piece, part of our Addressing Critical Issues series, introduces collaborative inquiry and provides examples of how diverse groups of educators have shown the impact of using it to improve the performance of racially diverse learners.

Collaborative Inquiry, Cultural Proficiency, and Racially Diverse Learners

Disaggregated data illustrate persistent patterns of disproportionality in academic and behavioral achievement among racially and culturally diverse learners (Huffman & Kalnin, 2003. Malarkey, 2007; Fashola, 2005).Overcoming conditions contributing to such gaps in achievement is a shared priority for 21st century educators. In order to respond to this pattern, practitioners and scholars are beginning to identify and connect with often unrecognized assets that are inherent to their students’ natures and integral to their capabilities. Gradually, through use of collaborative inquiry, more attention is being given to discover what it takes to use data as a bridge to educational practice that is better aligned with capacities that today’s students bring into the classroom. As a result of using this framework, educator responses to disaggregated data are focusing more frequently on internal exploration and critical analysis that builds capacity for cultural competence and culturally responsive pproaches. Productive collaborative inquiry (Love et al., 2008) is accomplished through constructive use of non‐judgmental (Comer, 1999), yet accountability‐focused (Fullan, 1993, 2005; Lindsey, Roberts & Campbelljones, 2005), equity‐centered (Singleton & Linton, 2006) models of practice. This paradigm presents a unique course of action that leads to overcoming the gaps in educators’ capacities in providing equitable learning opportunities that successfully engage racially and culturally diverse learners, contributing to gains in academic performance. A significant, yet partial response to this challenge can be found in the well established research base that illustrates the link between collaboration, teacher reflective practice and student learning (Little, 1990; Louis, Kruse, & Marks, 1996; McLaughlin & Talbert, 2001). According to this body of work, when teachers engage in ongoing collaborative inquiry focused on teaching, learning and effective use of data, they improve results for students. Beyond this approach, recent work builds on such established practice by using data more strategically to transform teaching and learning practices for racially diverse learners (Love et al., 2008). Guided by this paradigm,  collaborative, reflective practice to close racial achievement gaps isimplemented by keeping the focus on equity, strengthening the powerful effectiveness of professional learning communities and using data as a catalyst for powerful conversations about race/ethnicity, class, educational status, and teacher‐student performance. Collaborative inquiry holds promise to closing the achievement gap among racially diverse learners. In considering collaborative inquiry and race, Nancy Love, Franklin Campbelljones and others provide a framework of implementation that establishes a bridge to instructional practice to reduce the achievement gap among racially diverse learners using and linking collaborative inquiry through systematic use of an equity lens. The work forged by Nancy Love, et al. presents a foundation for collaborative inquiry that lies in four core competencies for high capacity data use. They include (1) data literacy and collaborative inquiry (2) content knowledge and pedagogical skill (3) cultural proficiency, and (4) facilitative leadership skills. This embedded application of cultural proficiency explicitly takes into consideration issues of race and other diversity factors. Cultural proficiency (the ability to interact knowledgeably and respectfully with people of diverse cultural backgrounds) views achievement gaps as solvable challenges, not as inevitable, insurmountable conflict‐bearing consequences rooted from student backgrounds. The cultural proficiency mindset generates solutions that reflect an understanding of diverse student strengths, values, and perspectives, and tap efficacy in culturally competent educators. In turn, a more effective vehicle emerges for mediating cultural conflict while promoting productive teacher‐student engagement. Essentially, the collaborative inquiry process entails synthesized use of five critical elements including (1) distributed leadership and capacity (2) collaborative teams (3) frequent, in‐depth data use (4) instructional improvement focus, and (5) collaborative culture committed to equity and trust. In this paradigm, there is ongoing dialogue about race, class, and privilege in relation to education, teaching and learning. Collaborative inquiry offers a medium for responding to the needs of racially diverse learners by shifting away from culturally destructive, inadequate or colorblind tendencies (i.e.counterproductive, fixed barriers). Instead, more emphasis is placed on the belief that all children (and educators), notwithstanding socio‐cultural background, are capable of high achievement (and performance). Such educator responses to racially diverse learners are made from transformed mindsets, shifting toward those that are culturally pre‐competent, competent or culturally proficient (i.e. on‐going,capacity‐building bridges). The examples that follow delineate how diverse groups of educators have shown the impact of using collaborative inquiry and equity‐entered practice to improve the performance of racially diverse learners. CANTON CITY, OH In Canton City, Ohio, four middle schools, serving 66 to 82 percent poor students and 30 to 45 percent African American students, increased the percentage of students scoring proficient or above on the Sixth‐Grade Ohio Proficiency Test in mathematics between 2002–03 and 2004–05. On the Ohio Seventh‐ and Eighth‐Grade Achievement Tests, all student groups, including all racial groups, students with special needs, and those receiving free‐and‐reduced lunch made gains (Ohio Department of Education, 2005, 2006). In addition, the percentage of Canton City high school students earning proficient or above on the Tenth‐Grade Ohio Graduation Test in mathematics increased by 25 percentage points from 2004 to 2006. As in grades 7 and 8, all student groups made progress (Ohio Department of Education, 2006). For example, the percentage of African American students passing the Ohio Graduation Test in mathematics increased by 74 percent from 2004 to 2006 (Ohio Department of, 2006). Teachers created a culture committed to analyzing data to improve instruction, honoring students through culturally responsive teaching, collaborating with each other to create excellence in instruction, and empowering each other to implement a collective vision and mission centered on a commitment to equity, collaborative team‐building and trust. LOS ANGELES, CA An urban elementary school with a primarily African American population with over 80% on free and reduced lunch, went from needs improvement to receiving a state achievement award by building leadership capacity, engaging in structured collaboration, and developing an equity lens for analyzing data. Within a four‐year period, 54th Street Elementary School in Los Angeles, went from a school in Needs Improvement to becoming the recipient of the California Achievement Award. Grade level teams engaged in collaborative inquiry as a part of the regular day. The teachers were able to sustain this culture and their vision through three principals. In both of these school districts, educators in a variety of roles, discovered and used tools to analyze data and transform an unhealthy culture into a high‐functioning one by increasing awareness of the assumptions and cultural lenses brought to data interpretation. Within the context of their respective processes, they tapped into the power of collaborative inquiry and cultural proficiency to broaden their cultural lens and strengthen their educational practice to become more effective in educating racially diverse learners. REFERENCES 
  • Campbelljones, B., & Campbelljones F. (2002). Educating African American children: Credibility at a cross roads. Educational Horizons, 80(3), 133‐139.
  •  Comer, James P. "Educating Poor Minority Children." Scientific American 259 (5) (November, 1988): 42‐48.
  •  Fashola, O.S. Ed.(2005). Educating African American Males: Voices from the field. Thousand Oakes, CA Corwin Press.
  •  Fullan, M. (2005). Leadership and Sustainability. System thinkers in action. Thousand Oakes, CA; Corwin Press
  •  Harris, S. (2013) Collaborative Inquiry A Success Story: 54th Street Elementary School, Los Angeles. Paper presented at Learning Forward Conference, Dallas Texas
  •  Huffman, D., & Kalnin, J. (2003). Collaborative Inquiry to Make Data‐based Decisions in Schools. Teaching & Education 19, 569‐580
  •  Lindsey R.B., Roberts, L.M., & Campbelljones, F. (2005). The culturally proficient school: an Implementation guide for school leaders. Thousand Oakes, CA;Corwin Press
  •  Little, J. W. (1990). Teachers as colleagues. In A. Lieberman (Ed.), Schools as collaborative cultures: Creating the future now (pp. 165–193). New York: Palmer.
  •  Love, N. (Ed.) (2004) Taking data to new depths. Journal of Staff Development, 25(4), 22‐26.
  •  Love, N., Stiles, K., Mundry, S., & DiRanna, K. (2008) Unleashing the Power of Collaborative Inquiry: The Data Coach’s Guide to Improving Learning for all Students.
  •  Louis, K. S., Kruse, S., &Marks, H. (1996). Schoolwide professional community.
  •  F. Newmann & Associates (Eds.), Authentic achievement: Restructuring schools for intellectual quality (pp. 179–203). San Francisco: Jossey‐Bass.
  •  Malarkey, T. (2007).“We’ve Carried a Lot”: Addressing Equity and Advocating for School Change as a Collaborative Inquiry Team. University of California, Berkeley. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, April 2007) as part of a Division K Symposium,”Inside Teacher Professional Community: Challenges and Accomplishment
  •  McLaughlin, M.W., & Talbert, J. (2001). Professional communities and the work of high school teaching. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  •  Ohio Department of Education. (2003). Canton City School District 2002–2003 school year report card. Retrieved August 6, 2007, from–2003/DIST/043711.pdf
  •  Ohio Department of Education. (2005a). Canton 2004–2005 school year report card. Retrieved August 6, 2007, from–2005/DIST/043711.pdf
  •  Ohio Department of Education. (2006). Canton City School District: 2005–2006 school year report card. Retrieved August 6, 2007, from–2006/DIST/043711.pdf
  •  Senge, P. et al.(2000). Schools that learn: A fifth discipline fieldbook for educators, parents and everyone that cares about education. New York: Doubleday/Currency.
  •  Singleton, G. E., & Linton, C. (2006). Courageous conversations about race: A field guide for achieving equity in schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
  •  Wellman, B., & Lipton, L. (2004). Data‐driven dialogue: A facilitator’s guide to collaborative inquiry. Sheman, CT: Mira Via

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COVID-19, Racism and Xenophobia: A Discussion on How and Why the Pandemic is Affecting Asian Americans

The COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately harming all people of color in the United States. For Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, one way this harm has manifested is in a rise in hate incidents. These incidents are fueled by both a long history of anti-Asian xenophobia and racism, and stigmatizing references to COVID-19 as a "Chinese virus." MAEC and the National Education Association  engaged in a webinar and live conversation where, through interactive dialogue and audience participation, participants  examined the historical and current context of Anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) racism and xenophobia, distinguished between hate incidents and hate crimes, and identified actions we can all take to address bigotry and discrimination.
National Education Association Planning Partners 
  • Hilario Benzon
  • Merwyn Scott
  • Gabriel Tanglao
  • Nyla Bell
  • Gabriel Tanglao
  • Jason Oliver Chang
  • Michelle Nutter
  • Fred Pinguel
  • Noreen Rodriguez
  • Yan Yii
  1. Resources 7-7-2020
  2. Transcript
Nyla: [00:00:00] We recommend that you click on the chat icon at the bottom or top toolbar on your screen and keep the chat box open at all times. We will be doing a poll of the audience, so you will see a poll here on your screen. Please click the appropriate response and I will read out the results when they're generated. At a specified time during the seminar, we will be moving into breakout rooms. You'll be given a prompt and please follow them when they come up. And then lastly, but also the very importantly, with the exception of when you're in a breakout room, please keep your microphones muted and your video cameras off at all times. The only people on camera are the speakers and the moderators and our tech team will mute audio and video as needed. Next slide. This webinar's being hosted by MAEC, but we are doing so in partnership with the National Education Association. So it's my pleasure to acknowledge their partnership and participation in planning this webinar. And that includes partners, members, including Merwyn Scott, Hilario Benzon and Gabriel Tanglao. Joining us today as part of our webinar support, you'll see their names in the chat box are Kate Farbry and Tanner Petry, they are our tech support. If you have an issue, a tech issue, you can message them directly. Joining us as our chat box moderator is Jessica Lim. she will be posting webinar links, responding to questions, resources, our evaluation survey into the chat box when as needed, when the time comes. Handling our Facebook live is Kathleen Pulupa and joining us as a speaker support and will do the webinar PowerPoints, and to keeping time is Nikevia Thomas. Our moderators for today are me, I'm Nyla Bell, I'm senior education equity specialist at MAEC and my moderator Gabriel Tanglao, who's the associate director of PDII and Gabriel, I don't know what that stands for so if we can clarify that when you get the mic,for the New Jersey Education Association. So who are we? We, as MAEC, which stands for Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium, our organization was founded in 1991. As an education nonprofits dedicated to increasing access to high quality education for culturally, linguistically and economically diverse learners. Our vision is that one day all students will have equal opportunities to learn and achieve at high level. And our mission is to promote excellence and equity and education to achieve social justice. Next slide. We run, we at MAEC run several large centers. The largest and oldest of which is our center for education equity. Our center, CEE, is a project of MAEC and is one of four regional equity assistance centers funded by the US Department of Education under title four, the civil rights act of 1964. We work in partnership with WestEd and AIR to improve and sustain a systemic capacity of public education to increase outcomes for students, regardless of their race, gender, religion, and national origin. And our region is the Northeast. And you can see the state's posted in the map and the image. So a bit about our, the purpose of today's webinar and our goals. This webinar was conceived in response to, the rise in hate incidents against Asian and Asian Americans, as we go the COVID pandemic. We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately harming all people of color in the United States. For Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, one way this harm has manifested is in a rise in hate incidents. These incidents are fueled by both a long history of anti-Asian, xenophobia and racism, and by stigmatizing references to COVID-19 as a quote, China virus or Chinese virus. So today we will examine historical and cultural and current context of Asian American or anti Asian American and Pacific Islander racism and xenophobia. Distinguish between hate incidents and hate crimes and identify actions we can all take, particularly as educators to address bigotry and discrimination. In doing so we hope to identify and understand hate incidents against Asian-Americans, raise educator awareness and deepen educators' understanding of anti-Asian xenophobia and racism and help build the capacity of educators to address anti-Asian xenophobia and racism in school. Next slide. So a couple of important notes, as we move through this webinar, we recognize that our audience is diverse in it's understanding, experiences, beliefs, and opinions on race and racism. We want to acknowledge that discussing this topic might be difficult for some, with varying levels and diverse comforts engaging in this issue. And we hope that you embrace the discomfort you experienced and grow and learn from the dialogue. Lastly, this is one of a series of MAEC online events on the topic of race, racism, and other forms of social inequality. Particularly as they pertain to the current moment of uprising, protest, and COVID-19 It's my honor to welcome today's speakers, who would include. Dr. Jason Oliver, I'm sorry. Dr. Jason Oliver Chang. He is an associate professor of history and Asian American studies and director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut. Also with us is Michelle Nutter. She is among many things, an education and outreach program manager and civil rights outreach specialist with the Pennsylvania office of the Attorney General. Also with us is Fred Pinguel. Fred is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Student Union and former organizer with Filipino Advocates for Justice. Also with us is Dr. Noreen Rodriguez. She is an assistant professor at the School of Education at Iowa State University. And last, but definitely not least is Yan Yii. Yan Yii is a fifth grade teacher in Canton, Massachusetts, and the president of the Canton teachers association. Okay. So next up is a poll question, I mentioned earlier that we will be asking you a poll. We want to know who you are and what kind of role you play in schooling. In a moment, a poll will come up on screen. Please take a second to fill it out. And we'll wait about a minute to give folks a chance to respond. And I can't see from my end, whether or not the poll question comes up on screen, so Kate I'm going to need you to let me know. Kate: [00:07:25] Sure. I'm just gonna, there's still a lot of people responding, so I'll wait until it slows down. [silence] Okay. I just shared it. Can you see it? Nyla: [00:08:00] I cannot, I cannot see it. Do you mind reading out the responses? Kate: [00:08:04] Nope, so we've got, an equal number or percentage of pre-K elementary teachers, district leaders and staff and parents and guardians. It's about 14%. It's multiple choice. So you could be more than one. We've got a few, counselors and psychologists, we've got some SEA staff, a few students, so there's at least, you know, one to two people in each category. But the district leader, staff, parent, guardians and teachers are the ones from the top there. Nyla: [00:08:40] Okay. Okay. And if you are in other categories, we encourage you to post, put your role into the chat box. I see that some folks have started doing that already. And so at this point I was going to turn, this past the proverbial mic over to my wonderful moderator, co-moderator Gabriel. Gabriel Tanglao: [00:09:03] Thank you. Nyla and greetings everybody. Good afternoon, depending on where you are in the country. My name is Gabriel Tanglao, I'm a Filipino brother, so bringing that energy in to this space. And I'm really appreciating the diversity of job categories that are present in this community that we have here. So the next thing that we wanted to ask you to start to chat storm, meaning, just share some of this information in the chat. We wanted to get a sense of where you are geographically located. So whether it's the city, county or state that you wanted to share in the chat, please do that now. So we get a sense of where everybody is in terms of geography. One of the things that we wanted to also do is that we wanted to do a land acknowledgement that regardless of where you are across this country, that these are indigenous lands, prior to colonization. And were cultivated by indigenous people for thousands of years. And we wanted to make sure to name that before we begin our conversation today and just as an additional resource, as I see people that are chiming into the chat, I'm going to drop in a link to a website that will allow you to identify what particular tribes exist in your area. And that's just something we wanted to do. So we're seeing a range of different locations. So very grateful to those of you who are participating in our chat. We're also going to invite you to add one more thing into the chat, but this one is going to be a different type of check-in. So the question that we'd like you to respond to in the chat is to briefly describe your level of comfort in discussing the topic of race. So I'll reframe that. How comfortable, are you with this talking about issues of race, and we invite you to consider dropping in some of your feedback in the chat. And we welcome any type of feedback that you have to offer. So, with that, we are going to begin to lead into our presentation and I'll be handing it off in about 30 seconds, but I wanted to make sure that you all have clarity that in the chat, even as the presentations are going on, please continue to offer any thoughts on how comfortable you are with talking about race. And with that, I'm going to kick it over to our first presenter. Michelle, I'm super excited to hear you set the stage for the framing of our conversation today. And, Michelle we'll get you prepared to begin your presentation. For now we'll ask for the next slide. Meanwhile, the participants, you are absolutely welcome to continue the dialogue in the chat. Michelle Nutter: [00:12:00] Awesome. Thank you, Gabriel. It's my honor to be with you all here today. I was asked to kind of set the context as Gabriel said, and to talk about what we have seen since COVID-19 has hit our country and hit the world. And set the stage to discuss what those bias incidents and hate crimes have looked like. And then we'll go a little bit deeper and examine what allowed those things to happen. What in our past history has made it possible for these continued expressions of hate and bias to continue. Next slide, please. We're gonna start with a video, it's about six minutes in length from the Today's show. Just in case any of you are not familiar with the rise in anti Asian-American, Pacific Islander incidents, since Covid, we wanted to give you this as a way to show context. So if we could go ahead and show that video, please. [silence] Nikevia are we able to show the video? Or should I just continue on? Nikevia: [00:13:47] Oh, sorry. I'm showing it, but let me make some adjustments. Hold on. [silence] External Video: [00:13:58] With an unexpected side effect of this coronavirus crisis, Asian Americans becoming targets of discrimination. The FBI recently issued a warning about a potential spike in hate crimes. And just this week, the NYPD launched a social media campaign to raise awareness. Tweeting Hate is an ugly word, and it has no place in our vocabulary. A growing number of celebrities are also speaking out, including actor, John Cho, who penned an Op-Ed for the LA times. NBC news investigative and consumer correspondent, Vicky Nyugen is here with more. And Vicky this is a really, really troubling trend. It is. And I will say it is personal for me too, Hoda. And the numbers really back it up one Asian advocacy group says it has received more than 1500 reports of COVID related hate incidents, since mid January. People are saying they'd been harassed online, spit on, yelled at, even physically attacked. But as more people speak up to fight back against the hate there is hope we can stop it from spreading. Dr. Chen Fu is on the front lines, in the battle against COVID-19 as a Chinese American doctor, he feels both celebrated and vilified. I feel an animosity that I've never felt before. On his commute to the hospital, Dr. Fu says he was approached by a stranger. You dirty Chinese. And he just kept saying that over and over again. I've never felt anything like it. This, just one of many incidents across the country. Now being reported. Asian Americans targeted for their race in Texas. This person yelling at a Vietnamese restaurant owner. And this man and his two children stabbed at a Sam's club. The suspect, according to the FBI thought the family was Chinese and infecting people with the Coronavirus. In Minnesota, this note, the tenants claim was posted on their door reading, we're watching you take the Chinese virus back to China .In New York City in just a month police say they've investigated 11 hate crimes against Asian-Americans compared to three in all of last year. OCA Asian Pacific American advocates, a nonprofit group that tracks discrimination against Asian Americans says it is received more than 1500 COVID-19 related reports of hate incidents since January. We have seen everything from cashiers who will tell somebody I'm not going to serve you because I don't want to catch coronavirus. We've also seen patients who have gone into health clinics who say, I don't want you as a nurse. I want somebody else to help me. Because the nurse was Asian American? Exactly. From mid to late March, President Trump repeatedly referred to the Coronavirus as the Chinese virus. The Chinese virus, the fight against the Chinese virus. It comes from China. It's not racist at al, no. This photo of his speech with the word Chinese replacing Corona went viral on social media. I have never seen the Asian American community this scared. They're in fear for their life. Jene Wu is a state representative in Texas. Why not call it the Chinese virus? Because it could create harm and has created harm. Now, many are calling for people to rise above the hate. New York mayor, Bill Be Blasio. We will not tolerate any discrimination. We will not tolerate any hate crimes. Black, Hispanic, and Asian congressional leaders uniting to condemn racism. It's important for us to negate the hate come, together as Americans. And celebrities, urging fans to stand up for each other. Actor Daniel Dae, Kim, please, please stop the prejudice and senseless violence against Asian people. Social media campaigns #washthehate #racismisavirus, and #IamnotCOVID19 are spreading. Namaste, Let's wash the hate. Also spotlighting the growing discrimination, multiple Op-Eds, including mine. While there's more work ahead, some things have changed. After repeatedly calling it the Chinese virus, president Trump appears to have stopped. And tweeted in part, it is very important that we totally protect our Asian American community in the United States and all around the world. They are amazing people and the spreading of the virus is not their fault. And in some of the racist attacks, people stepped in to help. Zach Owens risked his life to save the family attacked in Texas. And for Dr. Fu. A stranger jumped in. He defended me and said, no, you can't do this. That guy was my hero. And this is not just happening with adults. Just this week an Asian mom posted this to her Instagram, a student in her daughter's second grade class said he didn't like China or Chinese people because they started this quarantine. She encouraged her daughter to put her feelings on paper. And the result was this letter, it reads in part, this made me feel sad because he was my friend and I'm Chinese. It's wrong, because he doesn't know what he's saying. But it ends on a compassionate note, thank you for being my friend. And it really is so important Hoda for kids to speak with, for parents to speak with our kids about this kind of discrimination. I mean, it's so jarring, but to think of a second grader who's being mocked by another classmate is just so disturbing. And I was just, I mean, this whole thing makes me so sick, but if you are put in a position, like some of these folks have been, what's the best thing for you to do? Well safety far. So you really do want to try to remove yourself from the situation of course, report the incident if can. Both law enforcement and these advocacy groups say they take it very seriously. They will investigate, and talk about it. Lean into your family and your friends for support. Sometimes you feel embarrassed or ashamed. Like it's something you did to bring it on, but that's not the case. And you've got to put these messages out there and it reminds us all. We're all in this together. Wow. What a really eyeopening report. All right. Thank you so much, Vicky. Michelle Nutter: [00:19:58] We're gonna switch back to the power point... Okay, we'll be putting the PowerPoint back up on the screen. It's really difficult to watch that story, to hear the types of incidents that have been happening. On this slide, we've put some additional incidents that have taken place since that particular clip was filmed back in April. And I would be remiss if I didn't point out that while, there was a, a particular moment where folks at the white house we're not using the term, just this weekend over the, 4th of July weekend, we have again been seeing, the president referring to coronavirus as the Chinese virus and other officials in his cabinet. And, speaking out using that term as well. Next slide, please. So I just want to take a second and, give some information about the difference between a bias incident and a hate crime. A bias incident is an act of prejudice that is not a crime. It doesn't involve violence, threat or property damage. While a hate crime is a criminal act or crime motivated in whole or part by a hatred against a person's protected class. I think it's important for us to understand the difference between the two. Because knowing what type of incident it is, helps to streamline the reporting process. And in my last slide with you today in just a minute, I'll go over what that reporting process looks like. But more importantly, knowing the type of incident it is helps a victim to understand what legal remedies are available to them. But I definitely want to just take a moment to caution all of us that we don't undervalue the importance of intervention and response, regardless of what type of incident it is. We all have an obligation to stand up and speak up whenever we hear biased remarks. This is our goal, especially for those of us who are educators and judging by the poll and the chatbox comments, a lot of us are in education. So we have a duty to provide a safe and supportive school climate for all of our students. You know, the first amendment does give people freedom of speech and it allows people to say things that are offensive. That are untrue or based on stereotypes are based on bias. And while that's not illegal, we still have an obligation to speak up when we hear it. And as I said, especially in the school setting, going back to the 1969 Tinker Supreme court decision, schools were given some guidance by the Supreme court that students don't abandon their right to free speech at the school house door. However schools can limit or quash speech if it interferes with a student's education, creates a threatening environment or substantially disrupts the orderly operation of this school. And further federal and state civil rights laws and statutes also create an obligation for educators to eliminate harassment and end hostile environments. Next slide please. As I said, a hate crime is a crime that is based in whole or in part on the perpetrators bias, hatred, animus against the individual and then that makes it a hate crime. The term hate might be a little misleading, because you might think that hate means that then it's rage or anger, or, you know, that kind of thing. But in this context, hate really does refer to bias against a person or a group of people with specific characteristics that are defined by law. Next slide, please. As you can see by this graphic, which shows, the United States and its territories, this is where, you can look to see, does your state have a hate crime statute? Does it require data collection on hate crimes or not? And so the States and territories that are in blue have both a hate crime statute and require data collection on hate crimes. States in gray have a hate crime law, but don't require collection of data. And the red States, the four red States there do not have either a hate crime statute nor do they require police departments to collect information on hate crimes. Next slide please. I just really want to take a second to think about whether we're talking about a hate crime or bias incident. Hate sends a message. It sends a message across the entire community. And as we're seeing across the country, across the world. Hate crimes, bias incidents they target the initial individual, the person that they target with that activity. But it also significantly, negatively impacts people who are similarly situated that they may think well, if that happened to him, if that happened to her, it could happen to me next. And it then impacts the greater community. Sometimes I hear people say, well, aren't all crimes, hate crimes? Hate crimes are different from other crimes in the way that it affects the victims and the community hate crimes are especially brutal, they leave the victims traumatized and terrified. It creates a community situation where people may be tempted to repeat the actions or escalate the actions or retaliate to the actions. And so it really is this very broad response that happens anytime we see a hate incident, whether it's a bias incident or a hate crime occur. And next slide, please. And finally I'd mentioned this earlier. What do we do if we witness or experience an act of bias or hate? Well, we need to report it. It is really, really important. And you can see I have hate crimes, bias incidents and acts of discrimination to give you an understanding of who to report it to. If it's a hate crime, if you are in danger or you witnessed someone else in danger, call 9-1-1 to get a response immediately. And collect and retain evidence and report to civil rights organizations as well. Both the MAEC website, as well as our co-sponsor the National Education Associations EdJustice Project have put together lists of resources that identify federal, state, and in some cases, local agencies that you can report to. As well as civil rights organizations that you can report to as well. I hope that that has provided some context for you. And we're going to go ahead and pass the mic to Dr. Noreen Rodriguez. Excuse me. Noreen. Noreen Rodriguez: [00:28:12] Thank you everyone. I'm Noreen Naseem Rodriguez, and I'll be talking briefly about anti-Asian xenophobia and racism in classroom pedagogy in schools. I could spend an entire academic semester discussing these topics, but I'm going to do my best to give you a quick overview today in about 10 minutes. I was a bilingual elementary educator in Texas for nine years before I became a teacher educator so I'm thrilled to see so many early childhood and elementary folks present. Next slide please. In 2020, we've seen an uptick in anti-Asian racism across American society that's predominantly been affecting Chinese and East Asian Americans and some Southeast Asian Americans as well. While hundreds of incidents against adults have been reported through organizations and websites like Stop AAPI Hate, incidents against school age youth are harder to track. Particularly given that many schools began to shut down after COVID-19 began to spread in March. In one example, a friend told me that in February, her Korean American friends elementary age son was accused of having COVID and was punched by another peer in their Seattle school. Many personal attack accounts of similar attacks can be found on social media. However, anti-Asian racism is not a new phenomenon. In fact, the racism that occurs in schools often reflects the racism found in broader society, which you've seen modeled in the adults who surround them and in the media they consume. So let's just consider a few common examples that I recall from my own childhood in the 1980s. There are several ways in which Asians and Asian Americans are a centralized in US society. So first this idea that we speak Ching Chong, this reduces all Asian languages to nonsensical jibberish and is a pervasive stereotype. Second, there's the notion that all Asians are exotic foreigners rather than US born and that they don't speak English fluently or without an accent. We often see this manifested in the question, where are you from? This is a question that my own high school history teacher asked me and not anyone else in the class. After she asked me this, she asked my Vietnamese American friend if her family ate dogs. This is the third way in which Asians and Asian Americans are a centralized. We're viewed as uncivilized barbarians who eat stinky and disgusting foods. Many Asian Americans recall what is known as a lunchbox moment in which they brought to school, a favorite ethnic dish from home when that was made with love and care only to have their peers make fun of it. I have a link to a short video about these experiences and our resource document I'll share with you after I'm finished talking. And that will also go out with the slideshow after the talk today. And then lastly, we often see Asians and Asian Americans identified in particular ways. They're quiet, obedient nerds. Women can often be viewed as exotic and hypersexual while men are viewed as impotent and asexual. So all of these stereotypes have historic roots and continue to be perpetuated in popular media today. After the September 11th attacks, we saw a surge in racist harassment, and violence against Southeast Asian Americans. Particularly those who are Muslim or perceived to be Muslim. This happened with adults and also occurred to a significant degree in schools. Elementary children, as well as secondary children have been called racist or have been called terrorists, excuse me, and attacked on school buses and in classrooms. And that again was a direct reflection of the racial discrimination and violence in broader society. Much of this is a result of the general lack of knowledge of Asian countries, geography and Asian American history, which we'll talk more about in a moment. What's important to remember is that these acts of anti-Asian racism are often under reported. And when they are reported, maybe classified as bullying or harmless jokes, rather than recognized as harmful and violent acts. Next slide, please. So while today we're focusing on anti-Asian racism in schools, in response to COVID-19. We need to consider that there are multiple ways that Asian American students, communities, experiences and historys are rendered invisible across preschool through 12th grade. First, there's an intense lack of representation in the curriculum. Asian-Americans are the least represented group in history curriculum. While people usually recall learning about a handful of black and indigenous historical figures in school, they can rarely name any famous Asian Americans who weren't entertainers or athletes. As a social studies educator, I can say with certainty that we need far more representation of black indigenous and people of color across the curriculum and the resource document I'll share has a few starting points for you to diversify your classroom libraries. And parents there's also lots of resources for you as well. But we don't need to just focus on different ethnic racial groups in isolation. It's also important that we teach and learn about cross-racial solidarity in examples that fully demonstrate the pursuit of liberty and justice for all. As Martin Luther King famously said, no one is free until we are all free. But it's hard to teach what we don't know. Asian Americans make up less than 3% of the national teaching force. The lack of information about AsianAmericans also results in stereotypes and cultural assumptions that guide the ways educators interact with and assess students. For example, Asian Americans are underrepresented in special education programs and often receive services much later than their peers. At the same time Asian Americans are overrepresented in gifted and talented programs. These are consequences of the model minority myth, which several folks had mentioned in the chatbox, which negatively affects Asian Americans by masking the struggles they may face while at the same time pitting them against black and brown communities in ways that sustain meritocracy and the poor white supremacy. Moreover, as Asian families may be viewed as not needing the same level of support. They may not have school communication provided to them in their home languages. I've only got a few minutes left, but let's consider what teaching against anti-Asian racism might look like. Let's see, next slide please. For the elementary educators and school leaders in the audience, it can look simply like expanding existing lessons about school segregation and immigration. Often school segregation is taught solely through the story of Ruby Bridges, this relegates school segregation along the black, white binary. Instead in addition to consider other groups who are not allowed in so-called white schools by including stories of Mexican American and Asian American segregation. And I've listed a few major court cases on the right there. Similarly expand content about immigration beyond immigrants from Europe. Unfortunately, many elementary teachers begin and end at Ellis Island. Considering Filipinos came to what would become the United States in 1587 and Asian immigration began at a large scale in 1965. There's so much history that could and should be included, but isn't. Let's change that. For secondary educators, please take up this history in your courses rather than teaching about the Chinese in the 18 hundreds in a single day, or as an add on lesson to lessons about the gold rush of the railroad. Spend time examining the wealth of primary sources from that time period to discuss stereotypes, xenophobia and labor. Similarly, Japanese American incarceration during World War II, merit significant conversation. And can we come to compelling discussion around what it means to be an American and how the government perpetrates racism and xenophobia in ways we continue to see today. And again, focus on the 1965 immigration and nationality act. It's responsible for much of the ethno-racial diversity we see in the US today, but is rarely given enough context and instructional time. Lastly, when you teach the civil rights movement, explore how the black communities work inspired asian-Americans. This term isn't just a category, but a name created to show a shared sociopolitical identity and make sure that you share examples of cross racial solidarity over time, not just during one particular moment. Next slide please. To summarize, you can't teach with a critical lens if you don't have one yourself. So making these changes to your pedagogy requires work. Here's some starting points. First explore the history of Asian immigration. Early Asian immigrants were viewed as an exploitable labor force. They're routinely subjected to discrimination and racism and were not allowed to become citizens. This meant that they could not own land or vote. Second disrupt the model minority myth, the stereotype about Asian intelligence and being able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps without relying on social services was created to pit Asian-Americans against black Americans and Latinex. Don't let the stereotype influence how you perceive your Asian American students and their families. And if you notice it among your students, discuss it. And if you don't know much about it, there's a great video in your resource list that helps explain it. Third teach about racialization and racial solidarity in the past and present because obviously we do not live in a post racial society. Race isn't static, and fixed it changes over time .While it is a social construct, it has real world implications that result in disenfranchisement and dehumanization. If we truly believe in the US as a pluralist democracy, we need to show solidarity against depression and act in ways that demonstrate collective interests for just futures. Fourth create regular opportunities to discuss racism and white supremacy. Particularly in our current moment. Racism is a fundamental part of US society and history, just think about who was first eligible to be a citizen and the ongoing fight to ensure that all members of our democracy can exert their full rights as citizens. We need to be unafraid of discussing racism and white supremacy with all students, not just students of color, as it affects all of our lives. Next slide please. Finally, it's important to remember that blackness is heterogeneous. There are people who are both black and Asian, people can be mixed race, and we can't disregard that reality, and the complexity that comes with that. While Asian Americans are facing a great deal of racism today in our own communities, anti-blackness is often present and it needs to be discussed and disrupted. There are several great webinars this summer that aim to support Asian American educators in this work. Next slide please. Thank you. I know that was really quick. Please contact me if you have any questions and I'll hand it over to Dr. Jason Oliver Chang, and I'll put the resource link in the chat box. Dr. Jason Oliver Chang: [00:38:09] Hello everyone. Can you hear me? Someone just make a note in the chat if they can hear me. Oh, good. Okay, cool. Alright, wow. Thank you professor Rodriguez it was amazing, and everyone Michelle's presentation as well. I'm so grateful to be here with y'all. My name is Jason Oliver Chang. I'm a professor at UConn and a Director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute. And I lived on a Mohegan, Mashantucket, Pequot, Eastern Pequot, Paugussetts Golden Hill, Narraganset, Nipmuck and Quiripi land. And what I wanted to do today was to share a little bit of the background for what I've been calling anti Asian pathogen racism. And, I entitled this part of the presentation Anti-Asian Racism in the Forever Time of Anti-Blackness, as a way of lifting up the, our current context around the national and global social movement for black lives. And, that these are two strains of racism that have always existed together. And so it's important to realize that anti-Asian politics have been a part of, and based on anti-blackness, because the founding of the colonial settler state of the United States was based on enslaved Africans and indigenous genocide. And so in my academic field, we think of stereotypes as a common term for what we call racial formations, which is a specific way to specify the language, images and rationale embedded in those stereotypes. And so to recognize that US-Asian racial formations are rooted in the history of us imperialism, imperial warfare in the Pacific and mass labor migration to the US in the second half of the 19th century following the emancipation of enslaved Africans. So we can see these parallels throughout history, in the sense that the first anti-Asian immigration laws coincided with the writing of new rules of Jim Crow segregation and the second half of the 19th century. And, also we have to recognize that black political power that was developed in the civil rights era was mobilized to advocate for the entry of Southeast Asians, Asian refugees after the Vietnam war. So the rise of the largest social mobilization for racial justice and the Black Lives Matter movement during a time of a global pandemic and anti-Asian racism may seem incredibly unlikely. But our racial worlds have always been interlinked and it's up to us to maintain that awareness and to make those connections. So the fear of foreigners is a perennial concern within a white supremacist society. Because this type of xenophobia has a number of political uses. Anti-Asian xenophobia has always been used to reorder the racial hierarchy, to certify the claims of a white ruling class. And this, it becomes more and more important, as the, or more useful as the US becomes more and more diverse. And so when we see this, our current pattern we to think of it in a context of of increased diversity and challenges to white hegemony or white power. And, and so we can look at this from a number of different angles, including, historically. Can I get the next slide please? So, I've assembled a couple images of anti Asian pathogen racism from history just to show a certain continuity. And these come from popular, the first two, the 1982, the Wasp cover and the 19, or the 1886, cartoon image of the yellow peril octopus. Both represent disease as the defining characteristic of Chinese immigration. And then I also included an image from a work in Mexico to show that, pathogen racism is not only a part of a white settler societies, but that is quite common elsewhere. In fact, anti-Asian immigration laws were the gold standard of immigration laws across the world, from the 1880s to the 1930s. And so, just to show that there's, that all societies, you know, can and do use these forms of difference and racialization. And it's important to recognize the political value that they create for dominant societies. Right? So, if we could go to the next slide? Right, so here we see, you know, we often, you know pay attention to the, you know, as professor Rodriguez was pointing out, that we often look at the 1880s as an important milestone in Asian American racialization. And indeed that's true. And it's significant to see that these continue through the 20th century and while it's less known, there were two other Corona viruses that came out of Eastern Asia, in the fifties and sixties. In 1957 there was the Asian flu. And in 1968, there was what was called the Hong Kong flu. And, it's striking to look at the historical record and to see that these, the same discourse, the same, basically the same language being used today around coronavirus is taken almost exactly out of pages from 60 years ago. So, and then another image here from 2003, surrounding the SARS epidemic. And so I wanted to ask folks, did any of these images strike you as particularly powerful? We can invite you to respond in the chat. And how did, what do you make of these images? Yeah, I think it's interesting to see, to share these with students because there is a way that the visual language kind of encapsulates a lot of the ideas of racism and communicates them quite effectively. Yeah. So I wanted to also point out that the anti Asian racism has, or it really, any racism that is connected with disease has four really important impacts. One is that, if it's related to doctors and officials, they really miss the epidemiological dynamics of the disease and they can prolong the course of the disease, which I think, you know, we've seen with the mishandling of the disease by the administration. Second we have added violence, and victim blaming. And which leads to targeted people not seeking, help if they need it. And three, whites often believe themselves to be immune and ignore preventative protocols. Or don't Institute protocols when needed. And this can, again, prolong the disease and make it even more impactful, more deadly. And forth scapegoating a population leaves underlying vulnerabilities completely unchanged. Right. So, and it diverts attention and resources away from actually solving real epidemiological problems. And so at this point, you know, I wanted to draw an intersection with the BLM movement, to underscore that the historic inequality is created from black racialization have increased their vulnerability.To the exposure of the chrona virus. And so at this time where we see both anti-Asian racism and increased black death, by the hands of police, as well as from the virus, these are conditions that we have to consider them at the same time. So I wanted to offer a couple takeaways, and I know that my time is running low. So I'll go quickly. One that racism is more than prejudice. This is not just about mean people and nice people. That racism is historically produced as professor Rodriguez was pointing out. And that, you know, this is, while we do want to maintain attention to language, we also need to be attentive to material conditions and opportunities, such as the recent, ICE rules, immigration, customs enforcement rules around, college students and online classes. So, in that vein, you know what we need to realize about racialization is that stereotypes are formed and take hold of people's imaginations when they're reinforced by state action. Okay. And this history serves as an important reference point. And in order to address this, it's not just about addressing the language. But we do, if we don't recognize the history of the formation of these stereotypes and we naturalize them and make them seem permanent or natural. Another point just to echo a professor Rodriguez, that really when we think about racial formations, we have to consider them as relational, not solitary development. Racial formations never happened in a vacuum. I often try to, when I teach this, I often teach it as a racist, racial formations are constellation in which we have multiple points, in a hierarchy. And this is, this leads me to the last point here about the fact that Asian racial formations really revolve around these kind of polemic binary between a yellow peril and the model minority. And so in, which is really stark for this generation because they experience a transformation from crazy rich to crazy sick, and they're, in the public's eyes. And, this is something to be attentive of for the mental health of Asian Americans. As they, or Asian American students, as they really try to make sense of this dramatic landscape. So, I know I'm running out of time, but let's see, I did want to say here, that, you know, when we often talk about anti-Asian racialization, we often focus on just how they're treated. But really Asian Americans have fought back continuously throughout these times. And they've been engaged in other political struggles that link them to their homelands and highlight the ways that Asian American communities have been involved in international political movements for human rights, decolonization and antiwar. And many of these movements signified independence, dignity, and democracy. And so, you know, there's a couple other ways that we can identify, sort of unconventional, Asian-American responses, you know, not just to either be a yellow peril or a model minority, but that Asians have formed numerous interracial coalitions throughout history and today. Including the 1903 Japanese and Mexican labor association, Filipinos and Mexicans have formed numerous political and social organizations together. And these are regular folk that are making sense of their world together. Right? So, these experiences show that Asian Americans can't earn their belonging, because the basis of exclusion is on white supremacy. Not on contributions, right. So whites weren't citizens because they earned it. But because they were assigned themselves the status of natural born Americans. And Asian Americans express a broad range of political expressions on this issue. So in that way, I tend to teach, I tend not to teach assimilation. Assimilation is a poor concept to teach our students about belonging, because many already know about the false promise of acceptance. And this is important to discover student experiences with this false promise. If they do feel it's true, then to explore why others don't. And this background is important to understand that anti-Asian racism occurs in a multiracial and deeply stratified society. And racism, whether it's anti Asian or anti-black is strongest when it's practiced by people of color. It reaffirms the white dominant interpretation of society. And this includes the practice of anti-Asian racism, pathogen racism from people of color, as well as anti-black attitudes from Asian Americans. And racism from people of color is a symptom of struggles for belonging in white supremacist society. And there's a couple of ways to address this. Address anti-blackness and colorism and in Asian American communities is by looking at their countries of origin and the racial politics there. We can also explore what a society would look like without police. And addressing anti-Asian and anti-black violence, as a speculative future. So with that, I'm going to leave a couple of links here to some resources that I've been a part of, to teach on anti-Asian racism. So hopefully that was, know it was a little abrupt there at the end, but, I hope that was useful and look forward to the conversation. Gabriel Tanglao: [00:52:50] Thank you so much to our three presenters, Jason, Noreen and Michelle, just incredibly rich dialogue unfolding before us. And before we transitioned to the panel, this is actually an opportunity for our participants to begin to process and unpack this in small groups, which we will be moving you all to in a moment. But before we do that, we wanted to just first set the stage with some community agreements. Prior to going into these small groups, which we'll manage on our end with the technology. We're going to invite you to honor these community agreements and create a space where you can hold each other accountable to these agreements. To be curious, open and respectful. To honor confidentiality. And what we mean by that is, as you unpack, what's said here stays here, but what's learned here leaves here. We want to make sure that although we may have the best intent with our words and actions, that we are all responsible for the impact of our words and actions. So knowing the difference between intent and impact. Also in these small group dialogues you'll be in groups of about four or five people. So we invite you to make space and take space. So if you're a person that generally dominates conversation, we invite you to be self aware enough to make space for other voices to enter. And if you are a person that's generally reflective, we invite you to take space and offer your best thinking to the group. We also want to invite you to expect and accept non closure. We're going to have about 10 minutes to share and unpack in these small groups, which isn't nearly enough time to start to unpack the richness of this dialogue, but please make sure that you're not going to necessarily get to a closure. This is only a processing moment for our community here in this group. So the discussion prompts when to plant this seed, as we go to our community agreement affirmation, is what resonated with you most in this moment? Obviously, so many points were made by our three speakers who set the stage, but what is one thing that's really resonating with you? That's sticking with you? That you're curious about? You're going to be sharing that in dialogue, in your small groups in a moment. So I'm going to pause there and just invite you all to reflect on the community agreements. Be prepared to share your thoughts on what resonated with you. And I'm going to also invite Nyla to offer some further context before you go into your groups. And Nyla, just, I think you might be on mute cause we can't hear you, your audio. Nyla: [00:55:50] Sorry. Can you hear me now? Gabriel Tanglao: [00:55:52] Yes. Nyla: [00:55:53] Okay. I just wanted to add onto what Gabriel said in terms of [inauble], sorry about that, we will not be facilitating your breakout rooms so that, so we are trusting that you will honor the community agreements and be respectful of each other. This is a bit of a risk on our end to not be there. And we won't know what's being said. We will ask you, give you an opportunity to sort of share out things that stand with you that stood out from you or questions you have as a result of breakout rooms. But we just wanted to reiterate that, when you speak in community, you will have most of those breakout rooms will be private with just audience members. Gabriel Tanglao: [00:56:38] Thank you. Nyla and just, again the community agreements. If you need to feel free to take a screenshot or a picture, just so you have that present with you. Again, these are going to only be about 10 minutes as we transition to the breakout groups. But, please share your thinking and take some time to process a lot of the incredible resources and wisdom that was shared earlier. So what resonated most with you? And we're going to invite our wonderful tech folks to begin to set up the breakout groups. Again, you'll be in groups of four to five. Nyla: [00:57:17] In the chat bot. Gabriel Tanglao: [00:57:21] Got it. Nyla: [00:57:27] Okay. I see folks are coming back in. Gabriel, do you need a signal when a startup, once everyone is back in. Unknown Speaker: [00:57:40] This has been a really great webinar. I just want to thank you guys in advance. I was just sharing with my breakout roommate that I have a niece that's Cambodian and black. And she's been going through a lot of depression because of bullying from a lot of school. Mainly her school is Caucasian. And she's been going through a lot of depression because of teasing bullying. So this is very helpful for me. But she lives in the state of Michigan and I live in Chicago. Nyla: [00:58:08] Thank you for sharing. That's a really powerful, unfortunately we won't have time for everyone to speak out verbally. There are some of the seats, some of the discussions in a small breakout room, but, that was, thank you. And also, please remember to complete the survey at the end of this. Gabriel Tanglao: [00:58:26] Definitely. And I, I see that everybody has joined back in. So I wanted to welcome everybody back from the small group breakout conversations. Hopefully they were also rich dialogues. What we're going to invite you to do. And I know that chat storm really fills the chat with a lot of content, so it's difficult to navigate through it. But what we're going to invite you to do is to just drop in the chat, something that resonated with you from that conversation. So it could be something that you share. It could be something that someone else shared, or if you have a curiosity and a question that is alive for you right now. Please share that in the chat. And I'm going to lift some of those up before we go to our panelists and continue this dialogue. So again, if there's something that resonated with you from the small group conversation, whether it's a question, a thought or something that you heard from someone. Please feel free to share that. And we're going to lift some of those statements up. I see Lily teaching children, the true history of our country early on. Some of this being used as another way to divide us. Thank you, Susan, for sharing that. And Shea, it's great to have these sessions. And they are, there are many layers to this. And a question that's being raised as well, and we're gonna share and collect some of those questions to actually share with the panelists. But just a couple of more things I want to lift up. I see I work in education globally, why aren't these important topics we discussed part of the national curriculum? Right. Thinking globally, but acting locally. So thank you for that. And there was a group that discussed that hate sends a powerful message. Yeah. It's definitely important to ground ourselves in the understanding of our history and at the root of it, of hate can be used to continue power structures. And just something that Cindy is mentioning, this was so informative and everyone brings good info to the table. So with that, those are a couple of comments. But I want to leave enough space for the panelists. Feel free to engage in the chat, continue to add any comments, thoughts, or questions. And we're going to do our best to continue to lift those up. And with that, we're going to transition to our panel. Which includes our incredible presenters at the top of this, but also includes two incredible folks, Yan Yii and Fred. We're actually gonna give you the stage first, before we go into the panel discussion to allow you to share back some of the, either questions or thoughts of what resonated most with you from the presentations. And, I think fred, if you don't mind, we'll invite you to share first and then Yan Yii after Fred shares, we'd love to hear your thoughts on any feedback from the presentations earlier. So Fred, would you like to unmute yourself and share? Fred Pinguel: [01:01:36] Sure. Thanks Gabriel and hi everyone again, my name's Fred I'm with the Philadelphia student union and formerly the Philippino advocates for justice. So I'm actually really happy to be here. I've learned a lot, through my fellow presenters. Because my role is I'm not an educator, not formally. I work in the capacity typically to do leadership development and youth organizing, inside schools and have had an opportunity to work with an organiation, the organization I work with right now is predominantly black. And I worked with them many years ago and also have worked in API server reading organization. So it's been really great to just listen to the presenters and in the chat, just try to tease out some of the nuances of this very complicated situation. I think the only thing that I would want to add, is how important it is to just be very tender and careful in addressing issues of bias incidents, with students and with young people. Because especially in contexts that include a really diverse group of students, racially, ethnically, immigration status there is in the desire to make sure that one group of young people feel protected and taken care of, unfortunately, because of the way that, you know, punitive systems exist in schools, that usually means that another group of young people may be implicated, whether that's through school police, suspension, and other types of punishment that we've seen and understand can really impact the experience of young people and contributes to the school to prison pipeline. So an example that I'll draw from specifically is that when I worked, a few years ago with the Philadelphia student union, there was a bias violence incident, in one of our high schools where some native born and African American students, get into a fight and attacked some, immigrant API students. And that led into, that led to a lot of development for the young people that were involved. But unfortunately, one of the immediate responses of the district was to criminalize the young people who were, criminalized young people who are involvedin this melee. And so, especially in this, in this current moment where we're all in investigating the role of policing and the role of policing and maintaining white supremacy as educators and as practitioners, it's just really important to think about our role in that, when we're trying to address and protect young people, young API people from bias violence. Gabriel Tanglao: [01:04:26] Thank you so much, Fred. Yan did you want to unmute yourself and share some of your thoughts? Reflect on either the presentation or some of the comments that Fred shared? Yan Yii: [01:04:38] Absolutely. Hi, my name's Yan Yii, I'm a fifth grade teacher in Canton, Massachusetts. And I'm also the president of the Canton teacher's association. You know, all of this just makes me think of a student I had last year who had come from China and did not speak English very well. And at the beginning of the school year, he really experienced the students being not so nice to him. And he couldn't even like his English was so limited he couldn't even vocalize what it was that was bothering him. And he spent the rest of the year, pretty much trying to be as not Asian as possible. Until I started bringing books into the classroom, I really made it, important for him to celebrate who he is. And I find that that's really what we see with a lot of our Asian Pacific Islander students is this model minority myth where we tried to be as white as possible. And what we don't understand and what John Cho said in this editorial was that we will only be as accepted until there's some reason to not accept us. We will, we will. The closest we'll get to be at being white as being white adjacent, but there will always be a ceiling that we cannot break through. So I'm looking at one of the comments and it said, you know, why do people say it's fine, it doesn't bother me. And why do we need to not do that? It's because it's part of the model minority myth. That you know, the women are to be demure. The men are asexual, they're not viewed as being people that women would find attractive. That is all part of this model minority myth to keep us down. And we need to help our students celebrate who they are. Or they're going to start being as whitewashed as they possibly can, because they think that it makes them more accepted among their peers. Gabriel Tanglao: [01:06:39] Thank you so much for that. I wanted to make sure that folks know, how this flow of the panel is going to go. And we're going to invite our panelists to respond to some questions that Jessica is going to lift up that came from some of the chat. And as co-moderators, what we're going to do is identify which of our wonderful panelists is going to chime in to which questions based on the raise hand feature. So that's something that we're going to be doing. But Jessica, I'd like to invite your voice into the space to lift up any questions from our participants. And then our panelists who want to share. Jessica: [01:07:17] Thank you, Gabriel. So it's awesome, the chat as pose a lot of very deep, powerful questions. Let's jump right into it. Why does the burden of educating with this kind of integrity fall on individual teachers instead of being part of our national curriculum? Gabriel Tanglao: [01:07:46] Noreen, we see your hand. If you'd like to chime in. Noreen Rodriguez: [01:07:51] So I'll say the short version that, I could lecture on for much longer than like the minute or two I'm going to give it. But the school systems weren't made for us, they weren't made by people who look like us. And we weren't meant to succeed in them, so they were never structured to attend to these issues. And it's frustrating, but that's why we really have to kind of re-envision. And a lot of folks argued just straight up dismantle of the current systems, because they're not meant to support us anyway. And that's, I'll leave it at that. But if you want to learn more, I highly suggest that you read, We Want to Do More Than Survive, a book by Dr. Bettina Love. It will lay it all out for you. And it's so beautifully done. Dr. Jason Oliver Chang: [01:08:30] I'd like to add something. Yeah so, you know, I think one of the challenges is that there's a national story that needs to be retold. But then, you know, politics are always local and, you know, there's a way that it's, that our own communities need to recover their pasts and their stories. And, you know, one way to do that might be to reimagine the structure in which we develop curriculum. You know where does professional development come from? What are the roles of parents in professional development for teachers? You know, when we think about what needs to change, you know, I think it's more than just the outcome, but the process. And so I think there's really both, you know, attention to a larger kind of shared national story, but then also the complexity and diversity of our local context. Nyla: [01:09:51] Thank you. I'm going to jumping in. Are there any other responses to that question? And I'm jumping in because we're near the end of our time together, so we'll need to wrap up soon and put the closing slides up in a few minutes, but we do have, we can squeeze in at least one more question and thank you, Jason for your response and Noreen. One that, there was a lot of earlier in their conversation and the chat box around the question, I think it was one of the first questions posted. Is it offensive to ask where someone is from, if I have a genuine interest in getting to know them? And there's a lot of back and forth about that, would any of you care to respond to that question and debate? Yan? Yan Yii: [01:10:46] I hope it's okay. I would say it's all about the context and how you ask. Cause I did, I was reading the chat earlier and I saw some people were saying, well, you know, there's the stigma of where are you from, meaning you don't belong here. I think that the hardest part is making that assumption about where someone's from. And, you know, like, I think most especially East Asian people will get, are you Chinese? Let me say something in Chinese. That's way more offensive to just be like Niihau. And you're like, well, I actually don't speak Mandarin. So can you let, can we have a conversation about that? I think you should be using it as an opportunity to educate people. And if they ask where you're from, you could clarify that question, but it's much easier to say something like what's your ethnic, you know, I'm so curious, what's your ethnicity. And, and don't pose it as an accusation and more look at it as a learning opportunity. But I think that's what Brian was trying to say earlier that he wanted it to be like, like he's, he's genuinely curious. I don't think there's anything wrong with asking that question. I think it's how you ask and how you phrase the question. And what you can offer to that conversation as well. But I also think it's important to think about why when you ask it a non person of color, what, where they're from that they'll say, well, I'm from Massachusetts and you know, what you don't want to do is perpetuate that, yes, but where are you from. Right, and you're like. And there's a great video of if you look it up on YouTube about microaggressions and it's an Asian woman and they white male. And he keeps asking her where she's from, where's she from? And she's like, do you mean before I was born? Whereas like, all you really have to do is ask what is, what is your ethnicity, I'm so curious. and I'd like to learn more. Fred Pinguel: [01:12:47] I also just want to add very quickly if people want to just, think about, like, why are you asking where people are from like? are you is it a question that everybody's answering at that time? Or is it like that, or is it particularly being addressed to certain people who look a certain way? I think that that's really important to do that kind of self criticism as well, because there is a tendency for, you know, and it's not, it's not necessarily a bad intention, but if you find that you are more interested in this particular line of questioning when addressing API folks, or maybe Latinex people or just people who look, who aren't white, then I think that, that might be worthwhile to investigate as well. Nyla: [01:13:44] Thank you. Dr. Jason Oliver Chang: [01:13:45] One of the things, in the text box was out of the chat was that you could ask someone their, you know, their relationship to that question. How have they, have they been targeted by that question or hurt by it and identify with those experiences. But I think, you know, just to echo what Fred is saying and really questioning how is that questioning relevant? And what is the context for that? And then you're also, you know, I think it's wise to develop a kind of repertoire of responses, you know. I can't count the number of times I've been caught off guard and really wished I had a one liner ready to go, to respond to things. But also, you know, I believe in using these things tactically to reverse the power structure. And to ask white people where they're from. Nyla: [01:14:50] Yan I see you have your hand. Yan Yii: [01:14:59] Sorry, I forgot to put my hand down. Nyla: [01:15:01] Oh, [ chuckles] and Noreen, did you have your, I saw you had your hand up. Just took it down. Noreen Rodriguez: [01:15:07] I think other folks covered it. Nyla: [01:15:10] Okay. I think it's time for us to close up. It's, there's so much more we can talk about this can go on for a lot longer. There's a lot of rich information shared and, thank you all for joining us. Gabriel, is there anything you wanted to say before I close out? Dr. Jason Oliver Chang: [01:15:28] Just the deep gratitude to all of our speakers today to your organization and all the participants. I'm just glad to be part of the dialogue. So thank you all. Nyla: [01:15:40] Thank you. Can you go to the next slide? So, again, thank you all for joining us today. this was an awesome conversation. We will have, there's been a number of questions about whether or not this will be available for viewing after it's over. And we will post it probably within, Kate, correct me if I'm wrong a week or so. So you can go back in and see the slides and listen to the discussion. Again for reference and it will be posted on our website. Thank you so much again, to our co-sponsors and cohost at NEA. It's been a pleasure working with you. This was our first partnership and I hope there are more to come. Thank you, especially to my co-moderator Gabriel Tanglao. He was, you're awesome. And kind and gentle and awesome, so I especially look forward to future opportunities to work with you. Next slide. And thank you of course to our wonderful speakers who shared such rich and important information, Dr. Jason Oliver Chang, Michelle Nutter, Fred Pinguel, Dr. Noreen Rodriguez and Yan Yii. Thank you so much, again, and, hopefully we'll have schedule a debrief after. Before you leave, please, next slide. Before you go, please take a moment to complete our survey, we depend on your responses to inform future online events. We are especially interested in how you experienced the breakout session. So in the, there's no question in the survey specifically to that, but if you can give us feedback on that experience and the open ended questions, that will be great. You can access to survey to the link posted in the chat box and, or you can use your camera, and take a picture of the QR code posted again. Thank you so much. We will have, more events coming up, please stay tuned, check your inbox, and you should be on our mailing list. And until next time.

Post Image Creating New Futures for Newcomers

Lessons from Five Schools that Serve K-12 Immigrants, Refugees, and Asylees Given the influx of immigrants and refugees over the past several years, newcomer students are found in the classrooms of small towns, suburbs, and big cities across the country and they bring with them a world of culturally diverse experiences and knowledge. Newcomers face myriad challenges to adapt and succeed in their new home and schools. They must learn how to navigate a new culture socially, master a new language, and adjust to a new, and typically different, educational system. Many of these students enter our schools with little or no formal education or fluency in English. Some have fled terrible conditions in their homelands. Others are here without their families. Despite these challenges, all share dreams of being successful students and productive members in our communities, while remaining linked to their cultures and native languages as they become first generation Americans. To help make these dreams come true, we searched for “bright spots,” schools that offer promising and effective strategies for newcomers in K-12 classrooms. In this report, we focus on five very different schools that serve newcomers, each offering promising strategies, proven approaches, and fresh ideas that can benefit all educators, but especially those who work with immigrant and refugee students. We discuss curriculum and instruction, professional learning, school orientation, social-emotional and health support, and ways to partner with newcomer families and communities. We learn how newcomer schools assist students to adjust and thrive. This report was developed through a partnership between MAEC and WestEd. The main author is BethAnn Berliner, Senior Researcher/Project Director at WestEd. Click here for more information and to download the publication.  

Download: Creating New Futures for Newcomers

Post Image Criteria for an Equitable School – Equity Audit

  This tool helps school leaders assess whether or not the school provides the processes and information which create a positive learning environment so students and staff can perform at their highest level. To download this, and the other Equity Audit tools, please go to MAEC's Equity Audit page.

Download: Criteria for an Equitable School-2020-accessible

Post Image Cultural Validity in Assessment

Part of MAEC’s Boosting Success for 21st Century Learners Webinar Series, this webinar shares lessons learned from research and field experiences, illustrated by apt and eye-opening examples of how the failure to consider students' contexts in designing assessments and assessment practices can result in wrong conclusions about student learning. This session was originally held on March 16, 2012. Presenters: 

  • Guillermo Solano Flores, Assoc. Professor, Bilingual Education and ESL, Univ. of Colorado Boulder
  • Elise Trumbull, Independent Consultant, Oakland, California
  • Maria del Rosario Basterra, Deputy Director, The Mid-Atlantic Equity Center
Description: Are assessments fair and valid for all students? How can we determine if assessment results are a true reflection of a student's knowledge? Presenters Basterra, Flores, and Trumbull will discuss findings and illustrate the concept of "culturally valid assessment" from their book, Cultural Validity in Assessment: Addressing Linguistic and Cultural Diversity. This approach takes into consideration students' socio-cultural backgrounds, educational experience, home language, communication style, and how they learn. Learning Outcomes. Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the concept of cultural validity and its relevance to today's assessment
  • Recognize how cognition, language, and culture have an impact on assessment performance
  • Identify potential assessment sources of misinformation about student learning
  • Learn how to use and implement culturally valid assessments in the classroom.

Post Image Culturally Responsive Leaders

Part of CEE’s Exploring Equity Issues series, this paper examines why it is important for educators to be culturally responsive leaders in order to address the needs of their culturally and linguistically diverse learners. Using one of CEE's case studies, it highlights several preconditions necessary for achieving this and outlines the Essential Elements of Cultural Competence.

Culturally Responsive Leaders

PART I: TIMES HAVE CHANGED, AND THEY HAVEN’T The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that in 2014,students of color represented slightly more than half (50.5%) of all public school students, an increase from 38.8% in 2000 (McFarland et al., 2018). Meanwhile, teacher demographics have remained stagnant. NCES data list 81.9% of public school teachers in 2012 as White (the latest year available), a small decrease from 84.3% in 2000 (Musu-Gillette et al., 2016, US ED, 2016). They are not just White; they are predominantly White, female, and middle class. Why is this important? Research shows that students’ race, ethnicity, and cultural background significantly influence their achievement (Aceves & Orosco, 2014). Yet many teachers are inadequately prepared to address the needs of their culturally and linguistically diverse learners (Skiba, et al., 2011; Darling-Hammond, 2010; Miller, 2009). Culturally responsive teachers can close the achievement gap by fostering academic optimism, raising expectations of excellence, connecting with each student’s prior knowledge, and delivering content knowledge in ways students can understand (Ball & Forzani, 2011; Farr, 2010; Brown et al., 2009; Miller, 2009). Culturally responsive leaders nurture and maintain high-quality teaching, and foster an inclusive community that builds on teacher, student, and family assets. The recognition that schools need culturally responsive teachers and leaders is not new. In 2005, the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) published a report on preparing and supporting diverse, culturally responsive leaders (then referred to as culturally competent leaders). It grew out of a series of meetings among practitioners in the field. It was intended to provide field-based insights from people working in/with leadership development programs for school leaders across the country. The report outlined five themes: 1. Educational leaders who are not culturally competent cannot be fully effective. 2. Culturally competent leaders work to understand their own biases as well as patterns of discrimination. They have the skills to mitigate the attendant negative effects on student achievement and the personal courage and commitment to persist. 3. Much of what culturally competent leaders must know and be able to do is learned in relationships with families and communities. 4. Culturally competent leadership develops over time and needs to be supported from preparation through practice. Creating collaborative frameworks and structures can be useful. 5. State and local policies need to build a sense of urgency about preparing culturally competent leaders (IEL, 2005). A Case Study CEE engaged in a technical assistance project with a school district that was designed to assist educators in becoming culturally responsive leaders. This district of 3,600 students had four elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. Its student population was 77% White, 3% African American, 13% Asian, 4% two or more races, and 4% Latino/a. Less than 1% were English learners and 4% were economically disadvantaged. One of the superintendent’s priorities for the school year was for district staff to develop an understanding of the importance of culturally responsive pedagogy and practice. He requested assistance to facilitate conversations on race, class, and gender. The district had received three complaints from families who reported receiving unfair treatment. He recognized the challenges of addressing potentially deeply-rooted biases. CEE began work at the elementary school with the greatest diversity of students. CEE offered a professional development workshop to about 50 school staff along with the superintendent. The workshop was designed to allow persons of different backgrounds to gain an  understanding of culturally responsive teaching in a non-threatening way. It focused on developing an understanding of how cultural background and prior experiences shape mindsets and worldviews. The goal was for teachers to be able to use this information to shape how they engage with and support students from diverse backgrounds. The session provided an opportunity for teachers and the superintendent to discuss reports from some families regarding their discomfort in the district and how the district could implement strategies to address these concerns. Initial teacher response to the session was generally positive, but teachers questioned why the district was offering this session. They also appreciated having an opportunity for discussion and the reminder that people are defined by so many characteristics. But they would have liked to have been given suggestions on how to treat students more equitably and given more time to brainstorm together to come up with a plan and tools for engaging parents in this work. CEE conducted a discussion with a smaller group of school and district staff to see how to move the project more quickly. They agreed to  focus on facilitating sessions among teachers to help them feel less defensive and become more open to addressing issues of culture and equity in the district. To be successful, staff need the rationale behind the professional development so that they are better prepared to engage in difficult conversations. PART II: WHAT CAN WE DO? There are many preconditions to becoming a culturally responsive leader. Our case study highlighted the following lessons learned: FOSTER RELATIONSHIPS Foster relationships between district leadership and staff to discuss issues such as school climate, cultural responsive pedagogy and practice, authentic family and community engagement, and equitable opportunities for students. Culturally responsive leaders have the capacity to break down systems of practice that perpetuate inequities. They need to engage people from different cultures and to act as cultural brokers. This means they must communicate effectively a culturally responsive vision and goals, not always an easy task. They must simultaneously be a catalyst for change while handling dissonance. Above all, they need to create a safe environment for courageous conversations about cultural responsiveness, and where people are held accountable. BUILD TRUST FIRST Build trust and establish relationships prior to providing professional development. This will enable staff to acknowledge, accept, and reflect on their own biases and potential consequences for their school or district. This valuable reflection time will more likely lead to buy-in from staff and enable sustainability. The staff also needs professional supports to engage in this challenging work. BE TRANSPARENT Be transparent about the reasons for professional development and create a thriving, culturally responsive professional learning community. Provide the rationale for the professional development so participants are better prepared to engage in difficult conversations. Culturally responsive leaders are vulnerable with staff as they engage in these discussions. As the case studied showed, teachers questioned why they were attending this particular topic for professional development. A thriving, culturally responsive professional learning community supports adult learning that is reflective of student racial and cultural backgrounds and includes educator of color voices. CULTIVATE STRONG LEADERS Cultivate strong leadership within the school building and district to build and sustain the necessary cultural and instructional changes. Culturally responsive leaders need an understanding of critical theories about how people learn. They also need to know the impact of race, power, legitimacy, cultural capital, poverty, disability, ethnicity, gender, age, language, and other factors on learning. Equally important, they need to understand patterns of discrimination, inequalities, and injustice associated with individual groups. Finally, they need to be able to articulate their own philosophy of education and to examine whether they use it to maintain the status quo or to empower others’ active participation in their own transformation. KNOW YOUR DISTRICT AND YOUR BUILDING Whether using an external consultant or a qualified district staff member, devote sufficient time to learn about your district characteristics, needs, and interests. A culturally responsive leader knows who is in their district and who is in the building and community. Addressing cultural responsiveness requires a tailored approach. Culturally responsive leaders should understand the cultural history of their schools, families, and communities. They should aim to possess a global perspective. Culturally responsive leaders also know and question their own values, commitments, beliefs, prejudices, and uses of power and influence. They must be able to understand a variety of contexts and situations and to accept challenges that arise. Conclusion Culturally responsive leadership improves learning (Darling-Hammond, 2010). The work of educational leaders is to ensure that teachers have the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure that every student receives the highest quality instruction every day. When educational leaders lack cultural understanding, they may react defensively in the face of diversity to maintain the status quo (IEL, 2005). When educational leaders understand the cultural context, they can set a tone for collaboration and facilitate academic excellence. Written by Phoebe Schlanger, MAEC The Essential Elements of Cultural Competence #1 ASSESSING CULTURAL KNOWLEDGE What would a culturally responsive leader do? Assemble his/her collaborative leadership team to reassess the extent to which cultural knowledge of students is clearly present in the school’s vision and mission. #2 VALUING DIVERSITY What would a culturally responsive leader do? Conduct a school climate survey and determine whether school policies and procedures value cultural diversity. #3 MANAGING THE DYNAMICS OF DIFFERENCE What would a culturally responsive leader do? Examine and monitor the extent to which Culturally Responsive Classroom Management and Culturally Responsive Positive Behavior Supports and Management Systems are in place and contribute to reducing the frequency of discipline referrals, suspensions, and expulsions. #4 ADAPTING TO DIVERSITY What would a culturally responsive leader do? Monitor the extent to which s/he strategically and systematically engages teacher leaders in collaborative inquiry as a means for transforming the process of decision making. #5 INSTITUTIONALIZING CULTURAL KNOWLEDGE What would a culturally responsive leader do? Examine the extent to which the protocols for teacher placement, teacher performance observation, and teacher evaluation take into account the experience of schooling of students who are disproportionately underserved. REFERENCES Aceves, T. C., & Orosco, M. (2014). Culturally responsive teaching (Document No. IC-2). Retrieved May 25, 2018 from University of Florida, Collaboration for Effective Educator, Development,Accountability, and Reform Center website: Ball, D. L., & Forzani, F. (2011). Teaching skillful teaching. Educational Leadership, 68(4), 40-45. Basterra, M. d., Trumbull, E., & Solano-Flores, G. (2011). Cultural validity in assessment: Addressing linguistic and cultural diversity. New York: Routledge. Brown, R., Copeland, W., Costello, E., Erkanli, A., & Worthman, C. (2009). Family and community influences on educational outcomes of Appalachian youth. Journal of Community Psychology, 37(7): 795–808. doi: 10.1002/jcop.20331 CampbellJones, B., CampbellJones, F., & Love, N. (2009). Bringing cultural proficiency to collaborative inquiry. In N. Love (Ed.), Using data to improve learning for all: A collaborative inquiry approach (80-95). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Cross, Terry L., Bazron, Barbara J., Dennis, Karl W., and Isaacs, Mareasa R. (March 1989). Towards a culturally competent system of care: A monograph on effective services for minority children who are severally emotional disturbed. Georgetown University Child Development Center. Retrieved May 25, 2018 from Darling-Hammond, L. (2010). The flat world and education: How America's commitment to equity will determine our future. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University. Farr, S. (2010). Teaching as leadership: The highly effective teacher's guide to closing the achievement gap. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Hanover Research (August 2014). Strategies for building cultural competency. Retrieved May 25, 2018 from Institute for Educational Leadership. (2005). Preparing and supporting diverse, culturally competent leaders: practice and policy considerations. Washington, DC. ISBN 1-933493-01-1 McFarland, J., Hussar, B., Wang, X., Zhang, J., Wang, K., Rathbun, A., Barmer, A., Forrest Cataldi, E., and Bullock Mann, F. (2018). The condition of education 2018 (NCES 2018-144). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved May 25, 2018 from asp?pubid=2018144 Miller, M. (2009). Teaching for a new world: Preparing high school educators to deliver college and career-ready instruction [Policy Brief]. Washington, DC: Alliance for Excellent Education. Musu-Gillette, L., Robinson, J., McFarland, J., KewalRamani, A., Zhang, A., and Wilkinson-Flicker, S. (2016). Status and trends in the education of racial and ethnic groups 2016 (NCES 2016-007). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC. Retrieved May 30, 2018 from Reform Support Network. (2015). Promoting more equitable access to effective teachers: Strategic options for states to improve placement and movement. Retrieved May 25, 2018 from: Skiba, R.J., Honer, R.H., Chung, C-G, Rausch, M.K., May, S.L., & Tobin, T. (2011). Race is not neutral: A national investigation of African American and Latino disproportionality in school discipline. School Psychology Review, 40(1), 85-107. Bloomington, IN: National Association of School Psychologists. The Aspen Education & Society Program and the Council of Chief State School Officers. (2017). Leading for equity: Opportunities for state education chiefs. Washington, D.C. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Policy and Program Studies Service (2016). The state of racial diversity in the educator workforce.Washington, DC. Retrieved May 25, 2018 from      

Download: Exploring Equity - Culturally Responsive Leaders

Post Image Disproportionality, Discipline, and Race

This piece, part of our Addressing Critical Equity Issues series, discusses the racial disproportionality in discipline and provides promising practices to address it.

Disproportionality, Discipline and Race

Racial disproportionality in discipline can be defined as the overrepresentation of children of color that are subject to discipline,suspension and/or expulsion as compared to the total population of children in the community or institution (NCCREST, 2009). Current trends, nationwide, show that when it comes to school discipline, African American students are suspended two to three times more frequently than other students. Similarly, they are overrepresented in office referral, expulsion and corporal punishment (Skiba, et al, 2011, Duncan, 2010, Kim 2010). The problem of disproportionality has been particularly controversial surrounding “zero tolerance” and “one-strike you are out”. The longevity and severity of the challenge begs the question of why the persistent disproportionality patterns applied to African American students persists. In the face of broad disparities in disciplinary exclusion, questions are raised about the root causes of behavioral problems, the culture of educational environments, and norms that may be consciously or unconsciously more hostile to some groups than others. System-wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS or SWPBS) is a wellestablished systemic and data-driven approach to improving school learning environments. Its emphasis is on changing underlying attitudes and policies concerning how behavior is addressed. The behavior support systems encourage “school connectedness” and “caring and trusting relationships” between teachers and students. Overall, the programs try to increase students’ positive experience of schooling and to move away from a reliance on punitive reactions to misbehavior (Skiba, Lassenet, et al. 2006, Vincent, 2008). Yet universal approaches to educational practice have frequently been critiqued for not specifically addressing the racial dynamics, economic obstacles or other influences on the racial discipline gap (Goldstein & Noguera, 2006). In fact, one study of an otherwise successfully implemented PBIS system demonstrated that Black and Latino students nevertheless received more severe punishment for the category of minor misbehavior and concluded that one cannot assume that interventions intended to improve behavior will be effective to the same degree for all groups (Losen, 2011). Overall, the importance of considering culture when implementing these schoolwide models cannot be overemphasized (Townsend, 2000). Large racial differences in suspension rates raise questions about whether training to improve classroom management skills might be more effective for more African American students if it included components of multicultural sensitivity to broaden teachers’ awareness that implicit bias may affect how they discipline their students (Losen, 2011). While explanations for disproportionality vary considerably, a growing body of literature is suggesting that lack of cultural competency and classroom management are especially important factors contributing to disproportionality (Skiba et al, 2006, Texas Appleseed, 2008). According to the Disproportionality in Disciplinary Action in Public Education Literature Review submitted by Shore Research, Inc. (February 2012), the preponderance of recommendations found in the literature are for educators and policy makers to: 1. develop culturally responsive instructional and classroom management strategies and train teachers in those strategies. 2. develop clear definitions of disproportionality and analyze individual school data to determine if/where disproportionality exists. 3. incorporate disaggregated data systems that are analyzed with culturally competent data analysis; and balance zero tolerance policies and consideration of students’ intentions for misbehavior. PROMISING PRACTICES PUBLICATIONS
  • Duncan, A. (2010). Crossing the Next Bridge: Remarks Delivered by U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan on the 45th Anniversary of "Bloody Sunday", Edmund Pettus Bridge. Selma, AL: U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from:
  • Kim, Y.K., Losen, D.J., & Hewitt, D.T. (2010). The School-to-Prison Pipeline: Structuring Legal Reform. New York, NY: New York University Press. 1 (citing National Center for Schools and Communities, (2003). Equity or Exclusion: the Dynamics of Resources, Demographics, and Behavior in the New York City Public Schools. Fordham University, available at data/files/EQUITY_OR_EXCLUSION.pdf.).
  • Losen, D.L. & Skiba, R.J. (2010, September). Suspended Education: Urban Middle Schools in Crisis. Los Angeles, CA: The Civil Rights Project at UCLA. Retrieved from:
  • Daniel J. Losen (2011). Discipline, policies, successful schools, and racial justice. Boulder, CO: The Civil Rights Project National Education Policy Center. Retrieved from:
  • United States Department of Education (2010). Important Changes to Civil Rights Data Collection. Washington, DC: United States Department of Education. Retrieved from
  • Vincent, C. (2008). Do Schools Using SWIS Take Advantage of the School Ethnicity Report? OSEP Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. Retrieved from
  • Zehr, M. (2010, December). Obama administration targets ‘disparate impact’ of school discipline. Education Week, 30(7). Retrieved from
  • Bradshaw, C. P., Mitchell, M. M., O’Brennan, L. M., & Leaf, P. J. (2010). Multilevel exploration of factors contributing to the overrepresentation of Black students in office disciplinary referrals. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102(2), 508-520, 514
  • Lassenet, S.R. et al. (2006).The relationship of school-wide positive behavior support to academic achievement in an urban middle school. Psychology in the Schools, 43, 701-712.
  • Minow, M. (2010). In Brown’s Wake: Legacies of America’s Educational Landmark, (pp. 69- 79). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Noguera, P.A. (2001). Finding safety where we least expect it: the role of social capital. In W. Ayers, B. Dohrn, & R. Ayers, (Eds.). Preventing School Violence, in Zero Tolerance: Resisting the Drive for Punishment in Our Schools (pp. 204-205).New York, NY: The New Press.
  • Shore Research, Inc ( 2012). Disproportionality in disciplinary action in public education literature review (pp. 1-15). Austin, TX: Shore Research Inc.
  • Skiba, R.J., Horner, R.H., Chung, C, Rauch, K.M., May, S.L., and Tobin, T. (2011). Race is not neutral: A national investigation of African American and Latino disproportionality in school discipline. School Psychology Review, 40(1), 85-107.
  • Townsend, B. L. (2000). The disproportionatediscipline of African American learners: Reducing school suspension and expulsion. Exceptional Children, 66(3), 381-391

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Post Image English Learners & Disproportionality in Special Education

This piece, part of our Addressing Critical Equity Issues series, discusses the overrepresentation of English Learners (ELs) in special education classes and provides promising practices to address it.

English Learners & Disproportionality in Special Education

The overrepresentation of English Learners (ELs) in special education classes is one of the critical issues affecting this group of students. Research indicates that one of the factors affecting this overrepresentation of ELs is the difficulty educators have distinguishing students who truly have special education needs from students who are learning English as a second language (Artiles & Klingner, 2006). ELs are disadvantaged by the scarcity of appropriate valid and reliable assessment instruments and a lack of personnel trained to conduct culturally valid educational assessments. ELs who need special education services are further negatively impacted by the shortage of special education teachers and/or specialists who are trained to address their language and disability needs simultaneously. The identification of ELs in special education is quite complex because linguistic and immigration factors compound cultural, socioeconomic, and other influences (Klingner, Artiles, & Mendez-Barletta, 2006). For example, determining whether an EL is struggling with reading because of a learning disability or factors associated with language acquisition is particularly challenging (Klingner et al. 2008). Artiles et al. (2005) conducted research regarding special education placement patterns of subpopulations of ELs in urban districts in California and noted significant overrepresentation when they examined data by grade, special education category, and language program (straight English immersion, modified English immersion, bilingual), and level of English proficiency. Findings showed that older ELs were more likely to be overrepresented than younger ELLs. Researchers also found that ELs in straight English immersion programs were more likely to be identified than their peers in modified immersion and bilingual programs. Finally, findings demonstrated that students whose language proficiency tests indicated that they were limited in both Spanish and English were more likely to be placed in special education than ELs with higher scores in their native language (Hoover & Klingner, 2011). Legal provisions provide a framework for providing ELs with disabilities with appropriate services for both their English language acquisition and specific disability. Ortiz & Yates(2001) recommend the following practices aligned with current legislation: • Prevention and early intervention services to avoid unnecessary special education referrals. • Referral processes that distinguish struggling learners from students who are likely to have disabilities. • Assessments conducted by qualified bilingual evaluators who use culturally valid instruments and procedures appropriate for ELs and provide accurate data about native language and English language performance. • Use of interpreters for non-English speaking parents. • Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) that are culturally and linguistically relevant and that describe how services for English language acquisition and academic instruction will be provided simultaneously. In addition, Hoover & Klingner (2011) also recommend keeping in mind the following when assessing ELs for potential learning disabilities: • Use alternative ways of assessing students’ strengths to determine the upper limits of their potential. • Conduct observations of student in different settings as part of any evaluation. • Pay greater attention to cultural and affective considerations when evaluating students (e.g., sources of potential conflict, motivation). • Give greater attention to students’ native language and the role of language acquisition when determining whether a student may have a learning disability. • Consider that weak auditory processing skills could indicate language acquisition issues rather than a cognitive processing disorder or learning disability. • Evaluate students in their first language as well as English to determine predictors of reading achievement. • Evaluate each assessment device prior to its use with ELs to make certain that it is appropriate for the population for which it is used. Interpret assessment scores relative to learners’ experiential backgrounds and English language proficiency levels to put results into a meaningful and relevant context. PROMISING PRACTICES  PUBLICATIONS REFERENCE
  • Artiles, A., Rueda, R., Salazar, J.J., Higareda, I. (2005). Within-group diversity in minority disproportionate representation: English Language Learners in urban school districts. Exceptional Children, 71(3), 283-300.
  • Artiles, A. & Klingner, J. (2006). Forging a knowledge base on English language learners with special needs: Theoretical, population, and technical issues. Teachers College Record, 108(11) 2187-2194.
  • Hoover, J., & Klingner, J. (2011). In Basterra, M., Trumbull, E., & Solano-Flores, G. (Eds). Cultural Validity in Assessment: Addressing Linguistic and Cultural Diversity (143-167). New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
  •  Klingner, J., Artiles, A., & Mendez-Barletta, L. (2006). English language learners who struggle with reading: Language acquisition or learning disabilities? Journal of Learning Disabilities, 39(2), 108-128. doi:10.1177/00222194060390020101
  •  Klingner, J.K., Hoover, J.J., & Baca, L.M. (2008). Why do English language learners struggle with reading? Distinguishing language acquisition form learning disabilities. Thousand Oaks, CA; Corwin Press.
  •  Ortiz, A.A., & Yates, J.R. (2001). A framework for serving English language learners with disabilities. The Journal of Special Education, 14(2), 72-80.

Download: English Learners & Disproportionality in Special Education

Post Image Ensuring a Safe and Inclusive School Environment for LGBTQ Students

How can we affirm and support LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or queer) students and their families in schools? Although a lot of progress has been made in shifting public opinion in the last decade, LGBTQ students still face high incidents of bullying, harassment, and discrimination. What can educators do to support these students and ensure they are given every opportunity to succeed? In this webinar, hear from presenters as they share diverse perspectives and strategies on how to create safe and positive school environments to protect the civil rights and socio-emotional well-being of LGBTQ students. Learning Outcomes

  • Strategies, best practices, and policy recommendations to ensure a safe and supportive school climate regardless of a student’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
  • The law and how it covers LGBTQ students.
  • Resources available to administrators, educators, and families to better support the needs of LGBTQ youth to improve student learning.
  • Neena Chaudhry, Director of Education and Senior Counsel, National Women’s Law Center
  • Deborah Bradley and Stephen Hamilton, Parents of Transgender Daughter and Parent Group Facilitators (MA)
  • Jabari Lyles, Executive Director, GLSEN Maryland
  • Christian McCormick, Transgender Student, Lafayette High School (KY)
Presented by the Center for Education Equity (CEE) at MAEC in partnership with the Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA).   Video of Ensuring a Safe and Inclusive School Environment for LGBTQ Students from MAEC.

Post Image Equitable Access to Higher Education

Part of CEE’s Exploring Equity Issues series, this paper discusses the inequities that exist with culturally and linguistically diverse students in regards to access to college, and to persistence and completion once enrolled. It also discusses policies and practices that can make a difference in helping our most vulnerable youth transition smoothly to college and earn a degree  

Equitable Access to Higher Education

PART I: UNDERSTANDING THE CONTEXT Higher education provides extensive benefits to the individual and to society. The research is clear: individuals with college degrees are more likely to be employed and earn more, and are much less likely to live in poverty, than those with only a high school diploma (Ma, Pender, & Welch, 2016). A college education provides some protection in tough economic times. For example, college-educated workers were least likely to be negatively affected by the most recent recession (Carnevale, Jayasundera, & Gulish, 2016). In addition, having a bachelor’s degree is associated with higher levels of voting and volunteerism, as well as with having a healthier lifestyle (Ma, Pender, & Welch, 2016). Serious inequities still exist with culturally and linguistically diverse students in regards to access to college, and to persistence and completion once enrolled. In the past twenty years, more Americans have achieved higher levels of education, but gaps in attainment by race and ethnicity have remained. For example, in 1995, the percentage of women ages 25 to 29 who had completed at least a bachelor’s degree was 14%, 10%, and 28% for blacks, Hispanics, and whites, respectively. By 2015, these percentages had increased – to 24%, 18%, and 45% – but the disparities remained (Ma, Pender, & Welch, 2016). The first barrier is getting students to apply. Low income and first generation students may not even apply to college because they lack access to social capital: norms for college, college knowledge, and help and advice from their families, schools, and communities (Nagaoka, Roderick, and Coca, 2009). When they do apply, some low income students do not apply to the best colleges. They may lack adequate information about college options and the college admissions process. They may lack adequate counseling from their school guidance counselors, whose caseloads prevent them from offering one-on-one time (Radford, 2013). Overall, about two-thirds of high school graduates transition to college, and there has been some progress in closing college enrollment gaps. The share of students from the lowest-income households matriculating to college has been steadily increasing, and enrollment among Hispanic high school graduates has also risen significantly. In 2015, 69% of White recent high school graduates enrolled directly in college, while 65% of Hispanic graduates did so, along with 61% of Black graduates. Ten years ago, these gaps were larger. (See Holzer and Baum, 2017; Ma, Pender, & Welch, 2016.) Still, when they do enroll, low-income and under-represented students are more likely to attend under-resourced institutions such as community colleges, and less prestigious four-year colleges, where completion rates are low,  particularly for these populations. In addition, up to 40% never show up when classes start. Their reasons include “sticker shock” when they learn that the low-interest government loan is not a grant and must be paid back, the mounds of paperwork they may not understand how to complete, and a feeling they do not belong (Kolodner, 2015). PART II: WHAT CAN WE DO? THE STUDENT MOMENTUM FRAMEWORK Fortunately, experts and advocates have been drawing attention to these inequities more strongly than ever before. New research is focused on identifying the policies and practices that can make a difference in helping our most vulnerable youth transition smoothly to college and earn a degree. Students need a strong preparation – academic and nonacademic – for college, and ample information and guidance in the college application and decision process. One researcher has developed a “student momentum framework” that maps how students should accumulate the academic accomplishments and developmental experiences that make college success more likely (Barnett, 2016). This framework describes specific education attainment markers, along with college-preparatory experiences, in terms of momentum points. As students achieve these, they add up to a “momentum chain” that provides students with the academic and noncognitive skills, as well as the college cultural capital, that college success requires. STRONG ACADEMIC AND NON-COGNITIVE PREPARATION There is considerable evidence that success in college is closely tied to strong academic preparation in high school. Thus, school personnel must work with families to ensure that students enroll in the highest-level high school courses available, and take advantage of any supplemental academic programs or supports. Taking college-level courses while in high school, such as in dual enrollment and Advanced Placement programs, has been shown to positively affect students’ college-going, including  under-represented students (see, for example, Hughes et al. 2012). In dual enrollment, high school students simultaneously take college courses, often from a local community college, in either academic or career-technical subjects. These programs have grown considerably across the country and have varying eligibility rules and fees (the courses are sometimes free). In addition to the benefits of their college-level content, these courses have been shown to help students affectively, in helping them experience the norms of the college classroom and curriculum. One author characterized the student experience as “trying on the role of a college student” which can improve self-efficacy and motivation (Karp, 2007). Early assessment and transition courses have also become increasingly common in high schools (Barnett et al., 2016). Students are assessed for college readiness in English and math in their junior year and then are enrolled in courses specific to their needs in their senior year. In some cases, the courses have been co-designed by both high school and college faculty to ensure consensus on college-ready standards. It is critical that when students leave high school for college, they are prepared to enroll and succeed in college-credit courses. When students are placed into remedial courses upon college entrance, they are much less likely to persist and matriculate. Finally, while an increasing number of colleges do not require standardized test scores (ACT or SAT) for application, some studies have shown that when states require all juniors to take a college entrance examination, college enrollment rates increase (Hurwitz et al., 2015). Such test-taking may increase the number of colleges students can apply to, and may help instill expectancy for college-going. GUIDING THE COLLEGE APPLICATION PROCESS • Provide College Cultural Capital In addition to skills, students need college cultural capital – the knowledge and tools needed to set college goals and achieve them. Students and their families must gather information on the college application process, calculate affordability, apply for aid, and choose among colleges. Data show that low-income and underrepresented students tend to be concentrated in under-resourced public colleges. Some advocates are publicly questioning the commitment of elite colleges to serving the more vulnerable students. For example, a 2013 article in the Atlantic magazine titled Why American Colleges are Becoming a Force for Inequality, argued that many colleges aren’t interested in enrolling low-income students, instead directing their recruitment efforts towards “full-pay” applicants (Freedman, 2013). But, several notable studies point out that students who could qualify for more selective institutions do not apply to them (Hoxby & Avery 2012; Smith, Pender, & Howell, 2013). This phenomenon, dubbed “undermatch,” is most common among low-income students and those with parents without a college degree. Such students are also likely to apply to very few colleges. • Encourage “Four or More” School staff can emphasize with students and their families that they should apply to multiple colleges. Based on research, the College Board recommends that students apply to “Four or More” – one safety, two good-fit, and one reach institution. When students who normally would apply to only one college instead submit two or three applications, their likelihood of attendance increases (Smith, 2013). Families should also understand that graduation rates matter – students, particularly those who might struggle, will have a better chance of completion at a college with a track record of getting most of its students through. • Avoid Sticker Shock: Explain Tuition vs. Other College Costs Poor financial aid awareness is certainly a factor in where many vulnerable students apply. The terminology can be confusing – the “price,” or “sticker price,” of a college refers to the amount advertised on the college’s website. The college may list two amounts, one for tuition and another for room and board; for public institutions, there will also be separate prices for “in-state” versus “out-ofstate” students. Families need to know that the total cost of attendance (COA) will add up to more than tuition, room and board; students will also have to pay for books, transportation, and other necessities. Counselors and other college access staff can help families understand that sticker prices should not be seen as an insurmountable barrier to application; much like passengers on an airplane, enrolled students pay different amounts, depending on scholarships and discounts from the college’s institutional aid budget. Attending a more selective institution with a higher sticker price may actually cost less and result in better outcomes in the long run. Such institutions tend to have more generous financial aid to offer, which, combined with federal aid and possibly loans, could make the difference in enabling students to enroll. Moreover, they tend to have more on-campus supports and higher graduation rates, so that students can graduate in four years • Help Students Complete FAFSA To be awarded federal, state, and institutional financial aid, students must submit the Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Unfortunately, many eligible students do not, including approximately one third of students from families earning less than $30,000 per year (Holzer & Baum, 2017). Districts in higher poverty areas tend to have lower FAFSA completion rates. This is an area where schools can make a huge difference in the lives of these students. Offering college nights and/or other opportunities for families can provide the information they need to successfully submit college applications. • Partner with Families Schools should partner with families to help all students take advantage of their postsecondary possibilities. There are many pieces to applying to and enrolling in college, and students and their families will have varying knowledge of, and comfort with, the different aspects. Defining and uniting all the pieces into a student momentum framework may help educators and college access staff make sense of a complex process, and more efficiently identify and target individual student needs. MAEC has a program called Paving the Way to College and Careers: Families and Schools Together. We developed this toolkit in 2012 in conjunction with College Summit’s Launch program. College Summit’s new program is PeerForward. Written by Katherine L. Hughes, Ph.D FREE ONLINE COLLEGE PREPARATION AND PLANNING RESOURCES The College Board’s comprehensive online resource for families to explore colleges and careers and learn about the college application process, including financial aid. A site with college rankings and student reviews. Washington Monthly’s annual college guide and rankings focus on which colleges recruit and graduate low-income students, as well as a “Best Bang for the Buck” list of schools that have been shown to help low-income students affordably earn marketable credentials. Students can practice for the SAT with free full-length practice tests and a free customized study plan. From the National College Access Network, resources to help educators and others guide students in the FAFSA submission process. Examples of stellar college application essays that address work, money, and class. Morales, N., (2012) Paving the Way to College and Careers: Families and Schools Together. Washington, DC: A joint project of the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium, Inc. and College Summit. REFERENCES Barnett, E. (2016). Building Student Momentum from High School into College. Boston: Jobs for the Future. Barnett, E.A., Fay, M.P., Pheatt, L., & Trimble, M.J. (2016). What We Know About Transition Courses. New York: Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University. Carnevale, A. P., Jayasundera, T., Gulish, A. (2016). America’s Divided Recovery: College Haves and HaveNots. Washington, DC: Center on Education and the Workforce, Georgetown University. Freedman, J. (2013, May 16). Why American Colleges are Becoming a Force for Inequality. The Atlantic. Retrieved from: Holzer, H., & Baum, S. (2017). Making College Work: Pathways to Success for Disadvantaged Students. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. Hoxby, C. M. & Avery, C. 2012, December. The Missing "One-Offs": The Hidden Supply of High-Achieving, Low Income Students. NBER Working Paper No. 18586. Retrieved from: Hughes, K.L., Rodriguez, O., Edwards, L., & Belfield, C. 2012. Broadening the Benefits of Dual Enrollment: Reaching Underachieving and Underrepresented Students with Career-Focused Programs. San Francisco, CA: The James Irvine Foundation Insight Series. Hurwitz, M., Smith, J., Niu, S., & Howell, J. (2015). The Maine Question: How Is 4-Year College Enrollment Affected by Mandatory College Entrance Exams? Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis Vol 37, Issue 1, pp. 138-159. Karp, M.M. (2007). Learning about the Role of College Student Through Dual Enrollment Participation. Working Paper No. 7. New York: Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University. Kolodner, M. (2015, Aug. 14). Why are low income students not showing up to college, even though they have been accepted? The Hechinger Report, Retrieved from: Nagaoka, J., Roderick, M. and Coca, V. (2009). Barriers to College Attainment: Lessons from Chicago. The Consortium on Chicago School Research at The University of Chicago, Center for American Progress. Retrieved from: Ma, J., Pender, M. & Welch, M. (2016). Education Pays 2016: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society. New York: The College Board. Radford, A.W. (2013, Sep 16). ‘No Point in Applying’: Why Poor Students are Missing at Top Colleges. The Atlantic. Retrieved from:, J. (2013). The Effect of College Applications on Enrollment. New York: The College Board. Smith, J., Pender, M., and Howell, J. (2013, February). The Full Extent of Academic Under-Match. Economics of Education Review, Vol. 32.

Download: Exploring Equity - Equitable Access to College

Post Image Equity Audit

MAEC, Inc. developed its Equity Audit to offer districts, schools, and teachers a way to develop a more concrete understanding of what it means to practice equity, and reflect on whether current school policies, procedures and practices are equitable. Unlike a regular organizational audit, MAEC’s Equity Audit critically examines policies, programs, and practices that directly or indirectly impact students or staff relative to their race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, color, disability, age, sexual orientation, sexual identity, religion, or other socio-culturally significant factors. These tools are meant to provide a birds-eye view of various aspects of equity and highlight many systemic barriers to equity that might exist. Read more about the publication and download it here.

Post Image Equity Strategies for K-12 STEM: A focus on gender, race, & computer science

Part of MAEC's Boosting Success for 21st Century Learners Webinar Series, this webinar allows participants to learn about and explore key concepts in creating equitable computer science curricula and classrooms. These research-based approaches enable educators to welcome and support underrepresented populations (e.g. girls, African Americans, Latinos/as) in learning computer science and considering computer science careers.   This session was originally held on March 16, 2015 Presenter: Melissa Koch, Senior Education Developer, SRI International and Director of Build IT, ICT4me, and InnovaTE3 Description: Why all the fuss about computer science, coding and underrepresented populations? Can we just give everyone more time learning to code? This interactive workshop allows participants to learn about and explore key concepts in creating equitable computer science curricula and classrooms. These research-based approaches enable educators to welcome and support underrepresented populations (e.g. girls, African Americans, Latinos/as) in learning computer science and considering computer science careers. Much of the workshop's content is relevant to other STEM subjects as well. Learning Outcomes: - Learn about strategies for recruiting and retaining students in computer science classrooms and encouraging students' computer science learning; and - Gain familiarity with key issues in computer science specifically and STEM in general, such as stereotype threat, role models, effort-focused mindset, collaboration, play, and social and personal connections. Equity Strategies for K12 STEM.pdf (PDF) View the online recorded presentation

Post Image Essential Approaches for Excellence & Sustainable School System Transformation

This journal by the Equity-Centered Capacity Building Network (ECCBN) addresses systems capacity building approaches that drive both equity and excellence. ECCBN’s mission is to increase the visibility and impact of capacity-building approaches that promote deep and sustainable school and system change. ECCBN is a cadre of national experts uniting their efforts to share resources and strategies. The Network:

  • Seeks to promote evidence-based approaches to equity, quality, cultural responsiveness and partnerships with students and communities;
  • Believes that system capacity-building methods that drive equity and excellence can overcome the most daunting challenges education, students and communities face; and
  • Has seen that students of color and those from families with modest means can excel academically, socially and personally when whole systems are transformed to focus on equity and excellence.
Read the journal online or download the PDF.


Post Image Gaining Ground on Equity for Rural Schools and Communities

MAEC’s Dr. Heather Biggar Tomlinson contextualizes the unique challenges and strengths that characterize rural communities and education in the United States. She examines racial diversity, poverty, intersecting discrimination, resource allocation for schools, broadband connectivity, access to high-quality child care, health services, and other topics impacting families in rural areas. Back to Count Us In: Advancing Equity in Rural Schools and Communities  

Gaining Ground on Equity for Rural Schools and Communities

September 2020: Exploring Equity Issues, Rural Edition Heather Biggar Tomlinson, Ph.D.Heather Tomlinson Senior Specialist, Early Childhood and Family Engagement, MAEC Mountainous Appalachia, the Mississippi Delta, the wide-open Great Plains, remote Alaska, lush Hawaii, and pastoral New England all evoke images of rural America, but they are unique regions with distinct differences in people, values, landscapes, and lifestyles. These and the many other pockets of rural America showcase diverse economic engines, natural resources, affluence or poverty levels, demographics, and cultures. Yet there are commonalities that transcend the distinctions to connect rural areas and create an overarching entity that collectively identifies as “rural America.”  One in five Americans, or about 60 million people, lives in a rural area. Because 97% of the nation’s landmass is considered rural, by definition these areas are sparsely populated and far from urban centers (United States Census Bureau, 2017). Although rural school districts are small—median enrollment is fewer than 500 students—the overall numbers are not: 28.5% of schools are rural and 9.3 million students attend them (Showalter, Hartman, Johnson, & Klein, 2019). The well-being and success of rural students is a critical determinant of the well-being and success of the nation as a whole. Unfortunately, one of the commonalities connecting rural areas is a lack of access to services, infrastructure, and equitable policies and practices. This article provides an overview of how equity relates to rural America and its students and schools. While rural America has been overlooked and marginalized as a whole in many ways, there are layers of discrimination and disadvantage within that broader marginalization. Many of the inequities could be ameliorated by improved policies, approaches, and relationships between institutions that tackle inequities systemically. We examine the intersections of diversity and equity in rural communities and explain how these concepts dovetail, concentrating on five examples of inequity: resource allocation, physical and mental health services, support for the educator workforce, access to high-quality child care, and cultivating college readiness. The hope is that by better connecting the dots between equitable policies and stakeholders, and between love of place and the need for excellent educational opportunities, it’s possible to see the potential of schools, communities, and states to give all rural students a chance to flourish.

Diversity and Equity in Rural America

Diversity shows up in multiple dimensions. Students in rural areas may be racially diverse and linguistically diverse, diverse in gender and sexual identity, physical and intellectual ability, religious background, from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds and family composition, and more. Students from non-dominant backgrounds may face layers of discrimination and disadvantage.

Racial Diversity

The narrative addressing rural communities has been oversimplified. The lack of nuance in the narratives can lead to false assumptions and prejudices. Although images in the popular press often present a narrow version of rural America, with a tendency to focus on poor, White communities, the nation’s contemporary rural student body is richly diverse and multifaceted. The Rural School and Community Trust (RSCT) gives the U.S. a racial diversity index of 31.9, meaning that if someone randomly chose two students from a rural district, there would be an approximately one-third chance that those students would be of different races. However, the average belies a big range. According to the RSCT, in Maine, for example, racial diversity is low (10.7%), whereas in Delaware, the percentage is much more significant (56.8%). And within districts, the range is even greater. For example, in Pocantico Hills, New York, there is a diversity index of 67.7 (that is, a two-thirds chance that two students in a school would be of different races), whereas in 172 other districts, there is no racial diversity—meaning a school’s student population might be entirely White, Hispanic, Black or Tribal. Overall, however, there is extraordinary diversity within rural America as a whole, and within some districts, specifically. Indeed, the three most diverse school districts in the nation are rural (Showalter et al., 2019).


There are other kinds of diversity as well, including socioeconomic.  Affluence exists but pervasive and persistent poverty has plagued some rural regions for generations. Overall, 15.4% of rural school-aged children in the United States live in poverty (Showalter et al., 2019). Some states, particularly in New England, have low rates of rural child poverty (e.g., Massachusetts, 3.5%) and some rural areas are amenity rich with abundant natural resources that bring in agricultural, recreational, and tourism benefits. Other states with large rural populations have distressing child poverty rates. For example, in the South, Mississippi’s rate is 23.1% and Louisiana’s is 22.9%. In Appalachia, Kentucky’s rural child poverty rate is 21.6%. In the Southwest, 23.3% of rural children in Arizona and 29.7% in New Mexico live in poverty. In these areas, families have a median income of $30,000 (versus $54,000 nationally); working-age men have disabilities at more than twice the rate than in other areas, reaching almost one-quarter of the population; about four in ten children live in poverty; and one in five adults do not complete high school (Florida, 2018). More than eight out of ten of the nation’s persistently poor counties are rural (Schull, 2019). For these areas, poverty can be a legacy that is difficult to overcome.

“Layers within Layers of Discrimination”

Within the broad layer of inequities that rural residents often face—less access to high-quality child care, schools, healthcare, mental health supports, employment opportunities, professional development supports, transportation infrastructure, cultural amenities, and so forth—are deeper layers of prejudice and discrimination that disproportionately affect non-dominant groups.  These groups might include students living in poverty, people of color, LGBTQIA+ families, individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities, families from underrepresented religious backgrounds, newcomers, migrant families, and English learners. Rural scholars often refer to the “layers within layers of discrimination” in rural communities (Erin McHenry-Sorber, personal communication, 2020).  MAEC’s vision is that all children, regardless of race, gender, religion, national origin, home language, or socioeconomic status, have the right to learn and achieve at high levels. While rural residents are not protected as a class by federal civil rights law, many factors that intersect with rural settings exacerbate discrimination and harassment. Rural communities have children of all races and religions. Their families come from myriad countries and speak as many languages. They have diverse gender identities and sexual orientations. They experience varying levels of affluence, poverty, and educational levels. All of these factors produce the potential for bias and marginalization. These layers within and across rural communities represent the rich diversity of rural America, but they also present platforms for ongoing inequity and the necessity for effective and equitable policies and practices.  Equity is not the same as equality. Unfortunately, many educational goals are driven by equality, where goods or services are distributed without consideration for varied student strengths and needs rooted in widely differing starting places. Equity is driven by student strengths and needs, providing what each person needs in order to thrive. This means that some schools and students would be well served by receiving more than others, depending on unmet needs, with the goal that all rural students have comparable access to excellent educational opportunities. While this idea is easily understood, it is difficult to implement because it requires that administrators distribute resources differentially. Frequently, what rural Americans have failed to receive through equitable policies and practices they have substituted with ingenuity, resourcefulness, and a deep sense of community and commitment. However, in order to sustain these practices, institutional policies must support and enhance individual creativity and grit.

Challenges for Rural Educators and Students

Schools provide more than education in all types of communities, and in rural areas, they are particularly important for the well-being of students and communities. They often represent the heart of community life. They provide avenues for dissemination of critical health, food, housing, counseling, employment, and other resources. They link families to essential services. Schools serve as social, health, and cultural centers as well, hosting family and sporting events, job fairs, health and wellness clinics and, in this era, COVID testing sites. As a result, rural educators and administrators feel pressure to do more and be more than is expected in other school communities (McHenry-Sorber & Sutherland, 2020). At the same time, the equity-based challenges remain, including the distribution of money and other resources, access to health services, support for educators, access to child care, and opportunities to develop college readiness.

Resource Allocation

Resources come in many forms. Resources that are critical to rural schools include funding and digital connectivity.


Adequate funding is a necessary foundation without which schools cannot thrive. Pre-COVID-19, rural school districts received on average 16.9% of state education funds, in spite of the fact that 28.5% of schools are designated as rural; data show that 15.4% of students attend schools in rural districts, but some rural schools are located in districts not designated as rural (U.S. Department of Education, 2014-2015). In spite of these disparities, serving rural students can also include additional costs such as steep transportation expenses that shift money away from instruction and student learning resources. On average, rural school districts spend $1.00 on transportation for every $10.81 spent on instruction, and in some instances the ratio is worse, such as West Virginia ($6.48) and New Mexico ($6.17) (Showalter et al., 2019).      Districts that serve large numbers of low-income students and students of color on average receive $1,800 less per student than districts serving few students of color (Darling-Hammond, Schachner, & Edgerton, 2020). COVID-19 greatly exacerbates the problem. Consequently, administrators in low-income and racially diverse schools can expect significant economic stress in the coming years. Declining enrollment rates were already forcing district leaders to make painful decisions about school consolidation. Facing challenges with data reporting given sample sizes will also add heavier financial burdens to the resource stress. In response, education leaders are calling for the adoption of more equitable state school funding formulas that are weighted for poverty, English proficiency, foster care or homeless status, and special education status. As highlighted by the Learning Policy Institute, “In large states, this might be further adjusted for geographic cost differentials, while also taking into account the transportation and other needs of sparse, rural districts” (Darling-Hammond et al., 2020, p. 103). To save money and reduce the costs of facilities, teachers and administrators, food services, and other resources, many districts rely on consolidating schools in order to preserve capital. However, there are equity issues with consolidation. School districts with large populations of students of color and children living in poverty tend to do better academically in smaller schools, whereas school consolidation tends to widen achievement gaps. Over one-quarter of rural students spend more than one hour each way getting to and from school, and 85% spend at least 30 minutes each way commuting (Lavalley, 2018). Longer bus rides and longer days mean rural students have less time than others to spend on homework, extracurricular activities, participation in academic support programs, sleep, and family and community activities. These greater distances may also prohibit families and community members from attending on-site activities at school, which can affect optimal family and community engagement in education. Ironically, longer commutes increase costs for districts, decreasing the financial benefits of consolidation.

Broadband and Connectivity

COVID-19 shines a spotlight on continuous and new layers of inequities, not least of which is the long-standing concern for rural communities about internet connectivity. Access to devices and broadband is essential as education, health care, and other services pivot to virtual platforms. Although this reliance on digital and online learning is challenging for everyone, rural communities are disproportionately affected. In 2017, there were over 23 million Americans without reliable Internet and 68% of them lived in rural areas (Lavalley, 2018). During the school closures in Spring 2020, rural school districts were much less likely than urban districts to provide students with hotspots or devices, such as tablets, and 31% of rural parents reported needing public Wifi for students to do homework, more than non-rural counterparts (Opalka, Gable, Nicola, & Ash, 2020; Vogels, Perrin, Rainie, & Anderson, 2020). Rural teachers were far less likely than urban teachers, with a 25-point gap, to be required to continue to monitor student progress, and only 25% expected to continue to provide instruction, as compared to over half of urban teachers (Gross & Opalka, 2020). This gap may be due to the challenges for rural teachers to work from home where they too lack connectivity. Even when students and teachers have access to devices, high-speed internet is often not available across large tracts of countryside, making streaming and other educational services difficult or impossible to access.

Physical and Mental Health Services

Inequitable access to, and quality of, health care services is a hardship for many rural communities. Even before COVID-19, rural communities’ access to quality health care was inadequate for dealing with higher than average rates of heart disease, cancer, stroke, opioid overdose, respiratory disease, injuries, and other problems. Rural children with mental health issues or behavioral and developmental disorders face greater community and family challenges than other children (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2017). The pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges to provide health care to patients with COVID-19 in rural communities: fewer hospital beds, less equipment, and fewer health care workers. The virus has been equally pernicious, impairing mental health, as the fallout of job losses, isolation, anxiety, depression, grief from losing loved ones, and missed educational opportunities surges through rural communities. Clinicians report that rising rates of family stress are likely increasing the rates of domestic violence and substance abuse, while services to address these concerns remain difficult to access (Abramson, 2020). Significantly, health care professionals, child care providers, mail delivery personnel, agricultural workers, and other essential workers living in rural communities face the same toxic stressors as others, while simultaneously experiencing the stress of high rates of exposure to the virus. They may face terrible choices between preserving their livelihoods and risking their lives. These are equity issues that could be ameliorated by increased investments in infrastructure and training to provide more hospitals, mental health services, health care professionals, and transportation services needed to access them. 

Supporting the Educator Workforce

Many rural school districts struggle to maintain a highly qualified workforce and excellent and equitable schools, and rural district leaders have trouble recruiting and retaining teachers. The United States has seen teacher shortages in recent years: While the number of teachers has increased in the last few years, the nation still has 40,000 fewer public school teachers than it did prior to the 2008 recession, in large part because of school budget cuts (Darling-Hammond et al., 2020). Rural communities have been hit harder than others with the combination of budget issues and concomitant teacher shortages.  The teacher strikes that swept the nation in 2018 and 2019 reflected decreases in teacher wages, among other deprioritizing of education. This engendered deep frustration, particularly in historically poor and isolated rural school districts.  Erin McHenry-Sorber, professor at the University of West Virginia, highlighted the effects of teacher shortages and general devaluation of the teaching profession in rural communities. She described the intersection this way:
…Rural communities across the state, particularly those once dependent on industries such as coal, have experienced a protracted state of economic depression and increased poverty and opioid addiction -- a consequence of Americans' willingness to accept West Virginia as one of the nation's economic sacrifice zones… In the midst of economic stagnation and diminished workers' rights, these rural West Virginians find themselves marginalized economically and socially, pushing back against normalized epithets of "hillbillies" and "rednecks," at the same time they're fighting for their economic survival (McHenry-Sorber, 2018).
The economics of devaluing the education profession hits all household budgets hard—women teachers earn 15.6% less than similarly educated women in other professions and, for men, the wage gap jumps to 26.8% (Wolf, 2019)—but in rural communities, the problem is worse. Rural school districts are at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to compensating teachers. According to the Rural School and Community Trust, rural educators earn $69,797 compared to $74,153 for suburban educators (Showalter et al., 2019). Teachers may also be unwilling to move to areas with limited social and cultural opportunities and the low salaries that many rural school districts offer are not much of an enticement. Although salary and benefits are critical, researchers also cite administrative support as important determinants of rural teachers’ employment decisions. The role of principals matters in how they provide mentorship, create trusting relationships, are positive and collaborative, establish an open work culture with strong communication, and support teaching preparation and professional development opportunities (Tran & Dou, 2019). Rural principals, however, are paid less than other principals and experience the same challenges as their teachers, while holding greater responsibilities. Rural educators lack access to professional development and may struggle to find ways to collaborate with peers. Specialized teachers, such as those focusing on special education, art, and music, often serve multiple schools and must make long drives, isolating them professionally. There are frequently fewer resources to support culturally and linguistically responsive approaches, including interpreters and language and literacy programs for adults.  At times, there are few community partners to support housing and food services, health care, substance abuse programs, parenting education, adult cultural activities, and other necessary and enriching activities. These challenges for the workforce, and inability to address community-wide issues, affect classroom quality and student experiences and outcomes.

Access to High-Quality Child Care

More than 1.1 million families with young children live in rural areas (Paschall, Halle, & Maxwell, 2020). America’s mixed-delivery approach to early care and education takes a toll on rural families because of the gaps in service provision, the range of quality of programs, and the resulting differences in school readiness outcomes. Child care deserts are areas in which there are three infants or children for each spot available within a reasonable distance. There are simply more programs available in metropolitan areas: compared to rural areas, high-density urban areas offer 2.85 times the number of centers, 3.20 times the number of listed home-based providers, and 6.87 times the number of unlisted paid home-based providers (Paschall et al., 2020).  The younger the child, the more difficult it is for parents to find out-of-home care, an issue that is again more challenging in rural areas.  Over half (55%) of rural Americans live in a child care desert, a percentage that is certain to increase in the wake of COVID-19 child care closures. Child care programs run on thin financial margins, and home-based providers typically have the least room for financial disruption.  Widespread closures of home-based programs will make stability and recovery in the wake of the pandemic especially hard for rural communities. Rural working mothers rely disproportionately on home-based care—serving 22% of rural preschoolers versus 10% of metropolitan preschoolers (Schochet, 2019).  Family child care programs—with the great majority unlisted—play an outsized role in rural child care options; unlisted programs may not meet licensing or accreditation standards that assure health and safety, curricular and other benchmarks (Paschall et al., 2020; Shochet, 2019). In short, family child care programs are often well suited for rural communities—they may be offered by a known community member, closer to the home, and more affordable—but they may also be of lower quality.  For many rural families, accessing employment and child care simultaneously is a “chicken and egg” problem that is difficult to solve. As compared to women living in other localities, women in rural areas tend to have low-paying jobs, work part-time, and work long and non-standard hours (Paschall et al., 2020), making it difficult to find child care that fits both a family’s working hours and budget. In addition, rural families typically pay a higher percentage of their income toward child care (12.2%) than do urban families (10.8%)—for comparison, the federal government recommends that child care should not account for more than 7% of a household budget (Schochet, 2019). Not having access to high-quality early childhood education, whether because of availability, quality or affordability, interferes with children’s readiness for kindergarten. This lack of access can determine the trajectory of rural children’s educational journey. For rural students experiencing poverty, this puts them at an even greater disadvantage. A nationally representative study of over 6,000 students found that disadvantaged home environments, coupled with lack of access to high-quality child care, left rural children behind in terms of academic achievement (Miller & Votruba-Drzal, 2013). Recent analyses echo this finding. On average, on standardized test scores, rural students living in poverty score below their rural classmates who do not live in poverty. However, this gap is large in some states, such as Maryland, and narrow in others, such as Pennsylvania. These inequities highlight the need for policies and practices to ensure that the highest need students receive the most support in order to thrive (Showalter et al., 2019). 

Cultivating College Readiness

School structures, processes, and cultures affect student dispositions and their opportunities to learn. Students from rural communities have challenges obtaining support to effectively prepare for success after high school. They may have less access to highly competent PK-12 teachers, high-speed broadband, college guidance counselors, college interest and recruitment of rural students, or career and vocational education opportunities. Rural students graduate from high school at relatively high rates, 88.7% nationally (although some areas have considerably lower rates of high school graduation, particularly in rural Alaska, which has a 72.3% graduation rate). They also participate in dual high school/college courses, Advanced Placement exams, or commonly used college admissions tests such as the ACT and SAT (see Showalter et al., 2019, for details).  However, in spite of graduation rates and high-level coursework, compared to their non-rural peers, rural graduates have lower rates of college enrollment and college graduation.  Part of the discrepancy may stem from lower expectations from teachers or high teacher turnover that diminishes instructional quality. As one writer noted, “Students know they're falling behind. ‘When I get to college, I've got to take college math,’ Cierra said. ‘But how am I supposed to do that if I don't know basics?’” (Hanford, 2018). A study of African American rural students in the southeastern U.S. found that students lacked access to rigorous courses, had little time with guidance counselors advising them on good-fit colleges, and were concerned about being out of place on campuses lacking diversity (Morales, 2016).  A systemic equity-based response to this issue would be to ensure rural high schools have the resources they need to dismantle barriers to successful college enrollment and college graduation. For example, college counselors in high schools are associated with a 10% increase in college enrollment (Quintero & Gu, 2019). High-speed broadband access is critical to college readiness as test preparation courses, dual credit courses, and other learning opportunities have become available online. Rural students, with their lack of broadband access, miss the opportunity to engage with them. In the face of almost universal school closures, broadband access has leapt to the top of the policy priority list to support educational opportunities, including opportunities for college readiness. If this issue is not addressed quickly, not only will children in the earliest years of their educational journey get off to a less than optimal start, but also high schoolers will fall behind as schooling moves almost completely to virtual learning in the COVID-19 era. 

Connecting the Dots

To achieve meaningful, sustainable equity-based policies and practices, stakeholders need to connect the dots so that all voices are heard, place-based strengths are emphasized, and positive relationships take root or grow stronger. A mantra of some educators is that no meaningful learning takes place outside of meaningful relationships. The degree of progress and success rural children are likely to experience is grounded in their experiences with healthy families, schools, and communities that come together through relationships (and policies) that support their well-being in ways that both undergird and transcend academics. Relationships among committed adults and institutions enable communities to care for students as whole people. Relationships lead to support for students’ basic needs—secure housing, fresh and affordable food, health care, supportive parenting, income stability, addiction- and abuse-free homes, mental health, freedom from fears of family separation or deportation, language access—factors that are inextricably linked to students’ ability to learn and achieve.  Areas where rural students are achieving well, it’s likely there are equitable policies, structures, and priorities. Students are able to make and maintain positive relationships. Appropriate and fair funding and resources, positive working conditions and fair wages for educators, high-speed broadband access, and investments in kindergarten and college readiness for all rural students are examples of equity operationalized through policies and practices. These equitable approaches are built on three salient dimensions: 1) Removing the predictability of academic success or failure based on social, economic, regional, or cultural factors; 2) interrupting inequitable practices, eliminating biases and oppression and creating inclusive school environments for adults and children; and 3) discovering and cultivating the unique gifts, talents, and interests that each human being possesses. This equitable and asset-based approach will expand opportunities for rural children to grow and succeed, and will harvest benefits for rural communities, the nation, the economy, and future generations. Residents in rural communities support each other, and they often have a deep affection for their home towns and neighbors. We see this through advocacy and the collective organizing of creative, generous, and spirited activities that lift up rural community members—witness teacher strikes to improve working conditions for educators, annual local festivals, effective school and athletic fundraisers, and the recent anti-racism rallies. Rural communities thrive when their unique voices, contexts, and circumstances are viewed as a source of expertise, and connection to place can be at the center of any transformation of schools. To connect the dots creatively and beneficially does not mean “improving” aspects of rural living that arguably enhance family, student, and educational experiences. Rather it means creatively leveraging communities’ strengths and advantages to deepen connections to both place and educational success—and providing resources equitably to make that possible.  Appalachian author Robert Gipe started the “Higher Ground Project” in Kentucky that enables community and technical college students to braid scholarly studies of the region with personal art and writings that express their experiences in rural America, “on topics ranging from drug abuse to the challenges of remaining and working in a job-challenged area, to local history of Black coal miners and their families. In other words, town and gown are connected” (Branscombe, 2020). Indeed, connecting students to the assets within reach in their communities and expanding the reach so that dynamic, meaningful educational opportunities exist for every rural student—connecting town and gown, connecting place and educational success—is our path to higher ground.


Abramson, A. (2020, April 8). How COVID-19 may increase domestic violence and child abuse. American Psychological Association. Retrieved August 2020 from Branscombe, J. (2020, August 28). Review: An Anthology of Appalachian Literature Walks on New Ground. The Daily Yonder: Keep It Rural. Retrieved August 2020 from Darling-Hammond, L., Schachner, A., & Edgerton, A. (2020, August). Restarting and Reinventing School: Learning in the Time of COVID and Beyond. Learning Policy Institute. Retrieved from Florida, R. (2018, June 1). The Three Rural Americas. Bloomberg City Lab. Retrieved August 2020 from Gross, B., & Opalka, A. (2020). Too Many Schools Leave Learning to Chance. Center for Reinventing Public Education. Retrieved from Hanford, E. (2018, August 28). Schools in poor, rural districts are the hardest hit by nation's growing teacher shortage. American Public Media Reports. Retrieved August 2020 from Lavalley, M. (2018). Out of the Loop: Rural schools are largely left out of research and policy discussions, exacerbating poverty, inequity, and isolation. National School Boards Association Center for Public Education. Retrieved from McHenry-Sorber, E. (2018, March 6). The West Virginia Teachers Have Launched a Movement. CNN. Retrieved August 2020 from McHenry-Sorber, E & Sutherland, D. (2020) Equity and Expectations: Leading Rural Communities through Unprecedented Pressures. MAEC, Inc. Retrieved September 2020 from Miller, P., & Votruba-Drzal, E. (2013). Early academic skills and childhood experiences across the urban–rural continuum. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 28(2), 234-248. Morales, K. (2016, August 31). Study: Rural location, race influence students’ access to college. University of Georgia Today. Retrieved August 2020 from Opalka, A., Gable, A., Nicola, T., & Ash, J. (2020). Rural School Districts Can be Creative in Solving the Internet Connectivity Gap--But They Need Support. Brookings. Retrieved from Paschall, K., Halle, T., & Maxwell, K. (2020). Early Care and Education in Rural Communities. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from Quintero, D., & Gu, Y. (2019, July 3). Rural Schools Need Career Counselors Too. Brookings. Retrieved August 2020 from Schochet, L. (2019, June 4). 5 Facts to Know About Child Care in Rural America. Center for American Progress. Retrieved August 2020 from Schull, M. (2019, August 8). Expanding Early Childhood Education in Rural America. New America. Retrieved August 2020 from Showalter, D., Hartman, S. L., Johnson, J., & Klein, B. (2019). Why Rural Matters 2018-2019: The Time is Now. The Rural School and Community Trust & The School Superintendents Association. Retrieved from Tran, H., & Dou, J. (2019). An Exploratory Examination of What Types of Administrative Support Matter for Rural Teacher Talent Management: The Rural Educator Perspective. Educational Leadership Review, 20(1), 133-149. U.S. Department of Education. (2014-2015). Common Core of Data, Public School Universe. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2017). About Rural Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from United States Census Bureau. (2017, August 9). What Is Rural America? Retrieved August 2020 from Vogels, E., Perrin, A., Rainie, L., & Anderson, M. (2020, April 30). 53% of Americans Say the Internet Has Been Essential During the COVID-19 Outbreak. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from Wolf, A. B. (2019, February 23). Why Teacher Strikes Are Touching Every Part of America. CNN. Retrieved August 2020 from      

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Post Image Growing Up Rural: Inequity for Young Children and Child Care Providers

In their research- and narrative-filled article, Dr. Beverly Boals Gilbert and Dr. Cathy Grace call for action in providing resources to people living in the rural Mississippi Delta. Dr. Grace draws from personal stories growing up and teaching in rural Arkansas, describing the moment she recognized her own learning gaps, the impact of the district’s decision not to integrate schools, and what it was like teaching students without the necessary tools. The authors also draw from other personal stories, including responses from child care professionals who are struggling during COVID-19 closures. Back to Count Us In: Advancing Equity in Rural Schools and Communities  

Growing Up Rural: Inequity for Young Children and Child Care Providers 

September 2020: Exploring Equity Issues, Rural Edition Beverly Boals Gilbert, Ed.D. Professor, Early Childhood Education, Arkansas State University and Cathy Grace, Ed.D. Co-Director, Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning, University of Mississippi, North Mississippi Education Consortium Growing up in rural Arkansas and Mississippi, we did not know what we did not know. We knew about dirt roads, walking the railroad tracks, church socials, Dick and Jane basal readers, and how to shell peas. We didn’t know how isolated we were, what a public transportation system looked like, and what a rigorous curriculum required. One of the things about being a young child who lives in a rural community where everyone has the same life as you, or worse, is that you don’t know you’re being left behind or left out.

Cathy’s Story

[caption id="attachment_4481" align="alignright" width="299"]Old newspaper clipping showing one of the author's sitting in her old "school". This was taken 45 years ago at my Daddy’s store. I am on the left, a parent is in the middle, and the county librarian is on the right. This was my first ”kindergarten.” The children would walk to Daddy’s store and we would read and learn basic skills like ABC’s. They would all receive a complimentary ice cream at the end of the weekly “class.” The librarian would leave a shelf of books for the children to check out and return during the week.[/caption] My family was fortunate. Even if I did bathe in a tin tub until I was 3, my family had a television with three channels from Memphis, and we had a truck. My mother, as I got older, was determined I was to participate in activities held 12 miles away in a town of about 5,000 people. I was not totally isolated.  Not everyone was so fortunate. You could see this in simple ways, like when someone needed to visit the doctor in town. When my brother or I needed our tetanus booster or polio vaccine, my daddy would take us. Other children without transportation also depended on my daddy and his truck to take them to town for doctor visits and other “serious” errands. If we needed health care, we would all come to depend on anyone with transportation since there was no such thing as a transit system. It is the same way today in many areas, even with telemedicine. I attended the school for the “country kids” from the first through sixth grades. Most of us rode a school bus, and on my 45-minute daily ride to school, I discovered how unfair the world was, and how mean children could be to those who were different. The “back of the bus” kids knew their place because they were shamed by comments made by others regarding hygiene and outward appearance. In the 1950s, schools in Arkansas were not racially integrated, so my first encounter with inequity was a close-up view of race-driven poverty and the crippling effect it had on the self-esteem and social development of many of my peers.   I made good grades in elementary school, and my third grade teacher rewarded me by giving me extra jobs like starting a school library and serving as a substitute teacher for my peers for two weeks. My good grades came to a screeching halt when I entered junior high school, when children from all over the district converged at one “city” school. The rigor of the curriculum and expectations of my previous small-town teachers were less than those in the city school, and it showed in the learning gaps I had to overcome. These learning gaps are still plaguing rural school children today as a result of myriad funding issues and federal, state, and local policies within public school systems.  During my third grade experience as a two-week substitute teacher, I realized I was destined to become a teacher. After a detour, I graduated college and returned home in the early 1970s as a first grade teacher in a rural school about 5 miles from my childhood home. In the middle of a cotton field, with no air conditioning in the classroom or trees for shade, where 100% of the children lived in poverty, I quickly realized that conditions had to change. After two years of teaching and working on my graduate degree, I received a grant to fund a summer kindergarten program for the community children. It was extremely successful, and the data we collected persuaded the school district to begin full-day kindergarten two years later.   The first grade children I taught in the Mississippi Delta in the mid 1970s lacked the benefit of an early childhood kindergarten experience, just like many children in Arkansas. Schools were under a court order to integrate, but it was clear the district was not interested nor was integration enforced. Of the 1,000 children in grades 1-6 in the school, 99.9% were African American and receiving free lunch. Given that we were a high-poverty, high-minority enrollment school, we got the “leftovers” and broken instructional equipment, as well as incomplete curriculum materials. We had the same materials as other elementary schools in the district, but the condition of the materials was not the same. With a cigar box and rubber bands as my speaker for the “reading machine,” I was expected to teach phonics. 

The Importance of Defining Rurality and Counting Rural Kids

In 2020, thousands of children living in rural America experience the same challenges of isolationism, poverty, and family dysfunction that we did decades earlier. The differences are even greater because of the digital divide and resource gaps.  Some students have limited or no access to technology, failing to expose them to a life outside the 10-mile radius of their home. Others may have broadband, if their families can afford it, but do they have the support needed to master their online lessons? In spite of technology, have they learned more? Has the introduction of technology actually broadened the learning gap? Some of the answers depend on resources, and resources depend on numbers, which can be a problem for rural communities. The U.S. Census Bureau has defined rural as “all population, housing, and territory not included within an urbanized area or urban cluster” (Ratcliffe et. al, 2016). There are many classifications for rural, typically based on population density, urbanization, and daily commuting patterns. Defining rural is important because population counts, determined by the Census, are tied to the amount of funding allocated by various federal programs serving children and families, the flexibility of how funds may be spent, and representative voice in Congress. Formulas for funding of local education agencies and basic needs are determined by the Census count, including funding of programs such as Head Start, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), free- or reduced-priced school lunches for low-income children, teacher training programs, as well as infrastructure programs such as roads and bridges (America Counts, 2020). The historical undercounting of rural children continues to negatively impact the allocation of funds for these children. Reports such as The Undercount of Young Children, released by the Census Bureau in 2014, and the American Community Survey detail how the undercounting of children, especially those birth through 4-years old, negatively impacts rural communities (U.S. Department of Commerce, 2014). According to the Urban Institute, in 21 states the share of the rural population living in hard-to-count areas exceeds the share of the urban population living in hard-to-count areas. In rural areas in New Mexico and Louisiana, for example, approximately half of residents live in a hard-to-count census tract. In rural Hawaii, that share is nearly three-quarters (Gold & Su, 2019).   Various theories are offered as to the lack of participation in rural areas. Common reasons include that many residents use post office boxes rather than physical addresses for mail delivery, making it difficult for enumerators to locate residents; residents fear sharing personal information with the government; and families lack access to complete the Census data online. COVID-19 has exacerbated problems because it is difficult for the U.S. Census Office to secure and keep enumerators employed in isolated areas. The process of collecting data in 2020 is more dependent on technology and connectivity than in 2010, resulting in further problems collecting and recording data. Historically, many of these problems have been noted and reported to the Census Bureau, which lists pre-COVID-19 rural count strategies on their website (America Counts, 2020).

Understanding the Impact and Reality of COVID on Rural Child Care Providers

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the painful extent of inequities in rural America, which have not gone away over the last many decades for young children and the people who take care of them. When early care and education professionals in Mississippi were surveyed in the summer of 2020 by the Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning at the University of Mississippi and through a focus group of rural early childhood educators organized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, these professionals identified their greatest needs during this time. Their needs included access to supplies, the ability to purchase essential food items, financial and policy support for existing programs, prioritizing child care needs including service to essential workers, and the creation of a grant/loan program during this time of crisis. The pain experienced by rural child care workers comes through in their survey responses, some of which are shared below. While the pandemic impacted the income of all Americans, the case can be made that families in rural areas were hit harder than others. In 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau issued a report comparing the income differences between urban and rural areas of the country. Looking at all four regions of the country, poverty rates were consistently lower for those living in rural areas than for those living in urban areas, with the largest differences in the Midwest and Northeast (Bishaw & Posey, 2016). With lower incomes due to numerous factors, including a profound difference in the minimum wage between states and an extremely low federally required minimum wage, rural families are financially compromised based on their zip code. The experiences and stories shared by these professionals describe the need, desperation, uncertainty, and fear of small program owners in small towns and rural areas. There is fear for one’s own health, the health of family members at-risk due to compromised immune systems, fear of spreading COVID among the children served and their families. There is fear of an insufficient amount of food to feed the children, fear of a lack of supplies and an inability to obtain the basics.   One professional shared: “Arkansas Department of Health suggested masks for child care workers, but we can’t find them and don’t have the extra funding for them anyway. The owner’s down to one can of disinfectant. Relatives and others are making multiple trips to stores. She’s written letters to all the local grocery stores, chamber of commerce, etc. but no help.”  Another child care provider described a different but related concern: “To be honest, I did not know what to do. Do I stay open and be a nervous wreck worried I’d disinfected enough. Worried the kids could become sick, thus making me and my husband sick. Babies don’t social distance, we are family and it’s just not possible. I prayed about what to do and after talking to my daycare families, decided it would be best to shut down.” Financial fear is a great concern. In addition to the fear of loss of income, fears of letting employees and families down and of having to close looms in many instances. One program owner said, “If our enrollment doesn’t grow after this runs out, we will have to reduce hours and/or send staff home AND put classrooms together. I have single parents and widows on staff who can’t make it work on four hours a day.”  Another shared, “Our current bank account is at $40.00. 90% of our budget is salary. As soon as our income comes in, it goes right out the door through payment to employees. We get tuition one week and spend it on payroll the next.”   Providers note that the waiting time for funds that have been allocated are unreasonable. “There are funds that have been given for supplies, for masks, and basic PPE for childcare, but we are still waiting,” one owner shared.   Many professional early childhood teachers and caregivers struggle as they work to serve others. One program owner wrote, “Since this started we have families in need, we are only charging them half tuition. All of this to say we’re basically paying to stay open. I don’t know how long we can do that, of course, it’s not sustainable. We have a business loan, payroll, utilities, of course food, as you’re well aware, etc.--seems out of place still going with no income.” Another shares similar feelings and needs, “Some financial help would have been so appreciated since I had to close. Child care is my chosen profession."  Providers described cycles of personal frustration and system failure. One child care worker shared, “After this [pandemic] happened I have applied for the Emergency Disaster Loan with no reply, nearly a month after my initial application. I applied for unemployment only to be told that money isn't available for self-employed people yet. I have applied for and been turned down for the Payroll Protection Program loan because I pay my help using a 1099, I don't meet the guidelines for assistance. As my bank account depletes, I am forced into applying for SNAP benefits which I would be very relieved if only I knew I could feed my family but that has been a dead end too. It's been nearly 2 weeks since I placed that application and I called to follow up a few days ago and I was told they haven't even received my online application yet because their system is so backed up. I have not received a stimulus check because I don't get a refund therefore mine will have to be mailed and currently, I cannot track that process either. I have zero money coming in and no sign of when help will arrive.” Survey responses made clear providers’ fear and desperation, as shown in this workers’ plea for support: “There was money to be had, then they ran out leaving my small operation to fall even deeper in the crack of despair. I need to return to work for my families and by work, I mean living. I have no job, no money and no way to live. Please, Please, Please!!! I need HELP. Thank you to whomever reads this letter.  God Bless you for anything you will be able to help.” 

Rural America Needs Our Help 

How much longer can we gamble with the lives of children and families? America can’t wait until another medical pandemic hits or the next natural disaster occurs to change its policies and address inequities for young children and their providers in rural communities. We can’t expect small towns and small programs to continue to serve the rural communities, parents, and children with limited support. “Equity” and “equality” are terms decision-makers and system implementers have confused since before Brown v. Board of Education and the civil rights movement. As educators who taught in high-poverty schools in the Mississippi and Arkansas Delta in the 1970’s under “the separate but equal” administrative mindset, it is sad to see so little progress in moving the conversation from equal to equitable systems. We know how and what to do, but do we have the political will?   This chart shows the states that have the highest shares of rural populations living in hard-to-count areas  


America Counts. (2020, July). Counting People in Rural and Remote Places. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved from Bishaw, A. & Posey, K. (2016). A Comparison of Rural and Urban America: Household Income and Poverty. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on August 2, 2020 from  Gold A. & Su, Y. (2019, October 31). Rural Communities Aren’t Immune from a Census Undercount. Here’s How They Can Prepare for 2020. Urban Institute. Retrieved on August 22, 2020 from Ratcliffe, M., Burd, C., Holder. K., & Fields, A. (2016). Defining Rural at the U.S. Census Bureau: American Community Survey and Geography Brief. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved from U.S. Department of Commerce. (2014, February). The Undercount of Young Children. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on August 21, 2020 from          

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Post Image Health Equity and Youth: Understanding the Disparities

According to the CDC, “Health disparities are preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations...Health disparities are inequitable and are directly related to the historical and current unequal distribution of social, political, economic, and environmental resources.” This webinar will explore the ways in which health disparities hinder youth achievement and academic outcomes. Learning Outcomes

  • Understand why health disparities exist
  • Be able to identify health disparities in youth
  • Learn about resources that support students dealing with this complex issue
Presenters Download Health Equity and Youth: Understanding the Disparities (PPT) (transcript coming soon) Video of Health Equity and Youth: Understanding the Disparities from MAEC.

Post Image Helping Educators to Support LGBTQ Students

Part of CEE’s Exploring Equity Issues series, this paper defines and discusses the gender spectrum and the challenges that LGBTQ youth face. It concludes with strategies that teachers and administrators can use to ensure that students across the gender spectrum have a safe and nurturing school climate.

Helping Educators to Support LGBTQ Students

PART I: THESE CHANGING TIMES In the 45 years since Congress passed Title IX prohibiting sex discrimination in federally funded education programs, the country has engaged in a cultural shift. We now view gender as a spectrum. Polling reflects growing acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) individuals. In August 2017, for example, an NBC News poll said that 60% of Americans support same-sex marriage (Murray, 2017). We now recognize that not every child fits easily into a specific male and female category. Students who do not fit into a single, discrete category are often referred to as sexual or gender nonconforming. Gender markers are fluid across the full spectrum of racial and ethnic communities. Today’s young people, across the gender spectrum, are often aware of their own and their peers’ sexual identity, expression, and orientation. (McCaskill, 2017). Despite increased awareness of and more positive media attention to gender diversities, LGBTQ youth continue to face many challenges. In younger children, boys who enjoy stereotypically girl activities encounter more resistance than girls who enjoy stereotypically boy activities. Girls do not encounter as much opposition until they reach puberty. Although we have made progress with LGBTQ acceptance and understanding, we find that boys have significant fear of  pushing outside the box. In some places, homophobia remains profound; the concept extends to any appearance, emotion or feeling that is considered to be feminine. Being called “gay” or “fag” is not just directed at gays and lesbians; it is the most common form of harassment of all teenagers (Kosciw et al., 2012). Verbal harassment negatively affects 85% of LGBTQ students. More than 25% are physically harassed at school, while 13% of LGBTQ kids actually assaulted. Almost half (49%) are threatened by their peers on social media (NCWGE, 2017). Distinct from how they are viewed or treated by others, LGBTQ youth may view themselves negatively. These challenges include feeling different from peers, feeling shame about sexual orientation, worrying about parents’ and other adults’ responses, and being rejected and harassed. Many teenagers keep their questions and sexual orientation a secret, because coming out in an unwelcome climate can be fatal (Greytak, Kosciw, & Diaz, 2009).  PART II: WHAT CAN WE DO? As with all equity areas, relationships matter. Educators who wish to support LGBTQ students should consider the following: LEARN THE LANGUAGE. • Cisgender refers to those whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth. • Gender expression refers to the way a person acts to communicate gender within a given culture, through clothing, school behaviors and activities, and social interests (American Psychological Association, 2011). Some children call themselves gender queer, and some professionals refer to transgender teens as gender variant. • Gender fluidity refers to those who move back and forth across the male-to-female spectrum. • Gender identity refers to one’s sense of self as male, female, some combination of male and female, neither male or female or both. When a child’s gender identity and biological sex are not congruent, the person may identify as transsexual or as another transgender category (American Psychological Association, 2011; Merriam Webster, 2017). • Sexual orientation refers to whom one is sexually and romantically attracted. Categories include gay or lesbian (homosexuals), straight (heterosexuals), and bisexuals. Research suggests that sexual orientation occurs on a continuum and may even change over time. (American Psychological Association, 2011). • Trans girls are children who were born with male genitals yet identify as girls. • Trans boys are children who were born with female organs yet identify as boys. WATCH FOR DANGER SIGNS. Some LGBTQ teens exhibit signs of depression, manifested by isolating themselves socially and having lower self-esteem and lower school performance. Educators should be alert for these signs of distress because LGBTQ youth have more than twice the rate of suicide ideation than straight kids (Adelman & Braverman, et al., 2013). LGBTQ teens who do not have safe spaces to come out risk being teased mercilessly. Lesbian and gay students (often exacerbated by race, ethnicity, religion, and geography) are often forced into isolation at a time when they truly need connection and support. To thrive as individuals and as members of society, we need a sense of community and closeness, regardless of our social class, race, culture, or gender. UNITE WITH THEIR PARENTS. A 2010 study by San Francisco State University found that LGBTQ adolescents with accepting parents not only were more confident, but also were at much lower risk of depression and substance abuse (Sadowski, 2010). Teachers can help with this evolution. Allowing children to express their own chosen identity, even at a preschool age, can prevent frustration and anger down the line. According to Ehrensaft, “It is not a matter of labeling or projecting into the future, but knowing who your child [or student] is right now” (2012). REVIEW AND STRENGTHEN SCHOOL POLICES. Review your school’s policies to ensure they include comprehensive bullying/sexual harassment policies that specifically speak to nonconforming gender youth. Educate your students and staff. Provide professional development for school staff so they have a better understanding of how to support LGBTQ students, increase their accountability when they see students at risk or when they see students who are engaging in harassing and bullying behaviors. Address cyber-bullying by understanding and defining prohibited actions clearly. Educate your students as to how they can report incidents and what consequences they will face if they engage in cyberbullying. Explain how to protect themselves online by never giving out personal information. FOSTER AN INCLUSIVE SCHOOL CLIMATE. Support student activities and clubs that engage LGBTQ students. Examples include Gay-Straight Alliance, Safe Schools Coalition, and the Trevor Project. Provide programs and information for family and community members so that adults and their LGBTQ children are both protected and encouraged to meet (or exceed) educational expectations. PFLAG (formerly known as Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), has a comprehensive website with toolkits and resources. It also has chapters that will work directly with your school to provide support, resources, and training. Sound school practices and policies will help students – all students – to have the freedom to find out who they are, speak their minds, identify their own passions and skills, and achieve. The adults who are responsible for our children must be held accountable to learn to respond early and effectively to bias, bullying, and harassment. Educators must model and be more accepting of gender diversities so that students can develop the skills necessary to respond to a more hostile world and become resilient. * Developed from an article by Susan Shaffer and Phyllis Lerner for IDRA’S EAC-South. Susan Shaffer is President of MAEC and Executive Director of the Center for Education Equity (CEE). Phoebe Schlanger is CEE’s Publications Editor. REFERENCES Adelman, W.P., Braverman, P.K., Breuner, C.C., Levine, D.A., Marcell, A.V., Murray P.J., O’Brien, R.F (2013). Office-Based Care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. Pediatrics, 132 (1), 198-203. dio:10.152/peds 2013-1283 American Psychological Association (2012). Guidelines for psychological practice with lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients. Retrieved from Greytak, E., Kosciw, J., & Diaz, E. (2009). Harsh realities: The experiences of transgender youth in our nation’s schools. New York: Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN). Retrieved from Kosciw, J.G., Greytak, E.A., Bartkiewicz, M.J., Boesen, M.J., & Palmer N.A. (2012). The 2011 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth in our nation’s schools. New York: GLSEN. McCaskill, N.D. (2017, May). Poll: 64 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage. Politico. Retrieved from Murray, M. (2017, Sept 6). Trump, Clinton Voters Divided Over a Changing America. NBC News. Retrieved from National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education (NCWGE). Title IX at 45: Advancing opportunity through equity education. Washington, DC: NCWGE, 2017. Sadowski, M. (2010) Beyond gay-straight alliance: Research shows why family support is critical to helping LGBT students succeed. Harvard Education Letter, 26(2), 3-5.      

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Post Image How the Common Core Must Ensure Equity by Fully Preparing Every Student for Postsecondary Success

MAEC's introduction to how the Common Core must ensure equity by fully preparing every student for postsecondary success: recommendations from the Regional Equity Assistance Centers on implementation of the Common Core State Standards.

How the Common Core Must Ensure Equity by Fully Preparing Every Student for Postsecondary  Success

The Common Core State Standard Initiative was launched in April 2009 with the goal of developing college – and career‐readiness standards. The internationally benchmarked K‐ 12 academic standards provide a clear,consistent definition of what students are expected to learn when they graduate from high school and be able to successfully enter postsecondary education and/or the workplace. By September 2012, 46 states and the District of Columbia had adopted the Common Core Standards (CCS). Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia are the only states that did not adopt the CCS, and Minnesota adopted only the English language arts and literacy standards. The ten Equity Assistance Centers support the effective implementation of the standards and see this initiative as an opportunity to finally ensure success for all students, regardless of their race, national origin, linguistic background, physical abilities, or economic status. However, in order to address the needs of all students a systemic and focused understanding of equity and its impact on student learning is imperative. The new standards demand more of students and teachers, and, as a result, states and school districts will need to provide specialized and intensive support to English language learners (ELLs), special education students, and other historically underserved and underrepresented special populations who are performing below grade level. The recommendations provided by the Equity Assistance Centers in the position paper, How the Common Core Must Ensure Equity by Fully Preparing Every Student for Postsecondary Success provide an analysis and a roadmap for the successful implementation of the CCS. Read: How the Common Core Must Ensure Equity by Fully Preparing Every Student for Postsecondary Success Equity Assistance Centers Support the Common Core State Standards The 10 regional Equity Assistance Centers (EACs) are committed to the successful implementation of the Common Core State Standards (Common Core). We believe that the development and adoption of these new standards represents a significant and vitally important step for our nation, and we enthusiastically support this effort to promote rigorous, high-quality education and positive outcomes for all students. The Common Core provide a clear, consistent definition of what students are expected to learn and what is needed to prepare all students for success in postsecondary college or career preparation and life in the 21st century. The EACs support effective implementation of the standards so that, as individual states and as a country, we may finally ensure success for all students, regardless of their race, national origin, linguistic background, physical abilities, or economic status. The establishment of the Common Core was a critical move in the right direction for K–12 education, reflecting a national priority to improve students’ readiness for college or career preparation. In guiding development of the new standards, the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers were specific about what they wanted. The English language arts standards, for example, were to be (1) research- and evidence-based, (2) aligned with college and work expectations, (3) rigorous, and (4) internationally benchmarked. 1 For their part, the mathematics standards were to be more focused, coherent, clear, and specific than past standards. Thus, for the math-standards developers, the work began with research-based learning progressions detailing what is currently known about how students’ mathematical knowledge, skill, and understanding develop over time.2 Today, 45 states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted the new standards. Given this broad acceptance of the new, more rigorous standards, the Common Core have great potential for preparing all students to meet the century’s challenges. Yet this promise can only be realized if the standards are implemented with a sharp and consistent focus on  ensuring education equity. Important as it is to provide a more rigorous education, greater The Equity Assistance Centers 2 The Equity Assistance Centers How the Common Core Must Ensure Equity by Fully Preparing Every Student for Postsecondary Success rigor alone does nothing to address the underlying causes of our longstanding achievement gaps. In fact, because the new standards demand more of students and teachers alike, if the Common Core are implemented without adequate supports for all students, and for those serving them, the inequities long inherent in American education will persist and deepen, with greater numbers of our most vulnerable students pushed into failure. To ensure that, as intended, these new standards result in an excellent education and equally high outcomes for all students, educators and our education institutions must themselves be prepared and supported to intervene successfully with students who are performing well below grade level; to understand and be able to provide the full range of support needed for students who are English language learners (ELLs), special education students, and other historically underserved and underrepresented student populations; and to offer high-quality instruction across the board, along with academic supports, social-emotional support, and college and career technical counseling. In short, the positive potential of these new standards can only be realized if state and local policymakers, education leaders, and  practitioners view equity as both an essential means to and an essential outcome of Common Core implementation. During implementation, they must carefully examine and evaluate existing and proposed systems, policies, procedures, and practices to understand their impact on all student groups, especially those that have heretofore been underserved and underrepresented in the statistics for successful students. Almost 60 years after Brown vs. the Board of Education, we are still struggling to ensure the civil rights and equitable education of all students—a sad fact that underscores the urgency of implementing the Common Core in such a way as to serve all students equally well. In this document, the EACs provide key questions and recommendations to help educators identify and address equity issues to ensure that no student is denied the opportunities promised by these new standards. THE EQUITY LENS AND EQUITY CONTEXT Adoption and implementation of the Common Core comes at a critical time in our nation’s education history. In 2005, when the Commom Core initiative began, it was clear that not enough students—particularly students of color, ELL students, students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged students, students in inner cities and rural areas, and those in alternative schools—were graduating from high school prepared for success, either in postsecondary education or career-development programs. Clearly, traditional ways of conducting the business of education have not been effective for many students. Concerted efforts to ensure students’ civil rights and education equity have been underway since the mid-20th century, and have been mapped into the following six “generations.” 3 1954–1964 (first generation)—Litigation shaped civil rights, including education, starting with Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. 1964–1983 (second generation)—Legislation redefined the civil rights landscape and education, starting with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 3 The Equity Assistance Centers How the Common Core Must Ensure Equity by Fully Preparing Every Student for Postsecondary Success 1983–1990 (third generation)—State-driven reform efforts refocused the civil rights conversation on issues beyond access, starting with the report, A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform. 1990–2000 (fourth generation)—State and national government reform efforts focused on how public education should support excellence for all, starting with the 1994 National Governors Association meeting on education challenging the country to look forward to the new century. 2001–2011 (fifth generation)—This generation was characterized by national discourse on educational and civil rights and by passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, which required public schools to be accountable for disaggregated student-achievement outcomes. 2012–present (sixth generation)—The current generation started with the Obama administration’s Blueprint for Reform, outlining the re-envisioned federal role in education,4 and with adoption of the Common Core. It is being shaped by a focus on increased curricular rigor, on ensuring that students graduate from high school ready for success in college or postsecondary job training, and on effective leadership and quality teaching to ensure that students are successful. We have entered the sixth generation facing many challenges. Chief among them are the persistent achievement gaps between different ethnic and economic groups; ongoing disproportionality in the student groups represented in special education, in gifted and talented programs, and in disciplinary categories; unacceptable school dropout rates; and continued low college-going and college-completion rates for students of color, ELL students, students with disabilities, and economically disadvantaged students. If the Common Core are to achieve their promise of success for all students, they must be implemented in ways that can directly address and resolve these critical issues. The kind of high-quality education envisioned in the Common Core cannot remain a privilege reserved for only some students; it is an absolute requirement for all students. But are we up to the challenges? According to the Equity and Excellence Commission in its recent report, resolving this nation’s achievement gaps is “eminently doable” because the Common Core provide “a unique moment to leverage excellence and equity for all and to build on efforts to foster critical thinking and problem-solving, creativity and innovation, and communication.”5 Thus, it is the hope—indeed the expectation—of the EACs that this new generation will see real and measurable improvements in opportunities and outcomes for underserved and underrepresented students. The EACs have the unique charge of ensuring students’ civil rights, by providing assistance at every level of education, from federal and state to district and school. We believe that realizing the full potential of the Common Core requires that education decision-makers and practitioners use an equity lens as the optic through which all implementation-related decisions are filtered and analyzed, with the aim of making equity-oriented decisions. More specifically, educators and decision-makers at all levels of the educational enterprise should, at a minimum, examine their systems, policies, procedures, and practices using the following questions:
  • How does this (system/policy/procedure/practice) affect all learners?
  • Can we identify negative or adverse consequences for any identifiable population as a result of this system, policy, procedure, and practice? How might that adverse impact be avoided?
  • As we create new systems, policies, procedures, and practices, what precautions should we take to avoid negative consequences?
  •  How do we monitor our work and ensure equally positive outcomes for all students?
  • How do we change our systems, policies, procedures, and practices to produce fair and equitable outcomes for students and their families?
  • How do we engage students, families, and communities in meaningful ways and as partners in decision-making and implementation of the Common Core?
When these questions are used consistently as a lens for decision-making, the cumulative Common Core implementation decisions should yield an equity context, in which all systems and structures work to ensure that no learner is denied the fair and equitable benefit afforded to all other students, regardless of the learner’s race, gender, national origin, linguistic background, economic level, or physical ability. SIX GOALS OF EDUCATION So what does an equity context look like? Six goals of education equity have been identified 6  and endorsed by the EACs, which, if fully achieved in implementation of the Common Core, would result in an equity context:
  • Comparably high academic achievement and other positive outcomes for all students on all achievement indicators
  • Equitable access and inclusion
  • Equitable treatment
  • Equitable resource distribution
  • Equitable opportunity to learn
  • Shared accountability
These six areas are not discrete; inequities in one area often are linked to inequities in other areas. Over time, accumulated education inequities across these areas create what Gloria Ladson-Billings refers to as an “educational debt” owed to those who have been denied access to quality education.7 If these six goals are not met in Common Core implementation, the new standards will only add to the educational debt, as reflected in widening achievement gaps and in even fewer students graduating from high school ready to succeed in postsecondary schooling or career preparation. Thus, the EACs assert that these six goals are, in fact, the goals of Common Core implementation to ensure all students’ readiness for college and career preparation. Goal 1: Ensure comparable positive outcomes for all students on all achievement indicators The U.S. Department of Education describes achievement gaps as “the difference in academic performance between subgroups of students and their peers.”8 These persistent and pernicious gaps are the ultimate testament to the failure on the part of many of our education systems, policies, procedures, and practices to equitably serve the full range of students. This first, overarching equity goal is to eliminate those gaps in favor of comparable positive outcomes for all students. Although the Common Core mission does not explicitly address this issue of achieving equally, or comparably, positive education outcomes, it certainly paints an inclusive picture of what “our young people” need for postsecondary success: The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.9 Fulfilling the Common Core mission demands that we eliminate achievement gaps. Ultimately, education equity means that every American student will attain high academic outcomes, with achievement and performance gaps virtually nonexistent.10 At any level, (state, district, school, or classroom) disaggregated test scores, attendance data, promotion and graduation rates, and all other student outcomes should reveal comparable high performance for all student populations. Goal 2: Ensure equitable access to education services and inclusion for all students Despite numerous laws, regulations, and guidance intended to help ensure students’ rights to have access to and be included in education programs, there is strong evidence that disproportionality along the color line continues to be a major problem across the country. Disproportionality, which refers to the under- and overrepresentation of students in a particular program, is not limited to special education or gifted and talented programs. Over- and underrepresentation is also found in other programs; both school-based and extracurricular opportunities; scholarships; courses and other curricular offerings; and supports, such as comprehensive counseling programs.11 Disproportionality is also evident in the use of certain disciplinary measures, such as the comparatively higher use of out-of-school suspensions and expulsions for African American and Latino student populations. Educators must review and revise current systems, policies, procedures, and practices for identifying and selecting students to participate in education programs. All students and their parents must have access to information to make knowledgeable decisions about students’ programs of study. Specifically, improving equity requires removing barriers to high-level courses as well as providing extra instructional time in English language arts and math for struggling students and those who arrive at school lagging their peers academically. Additionally, educators must ensure that the use of grade-point averages or test scores as filters for program access does not create barriers that prohibit underrepresented and underserved students from participating in instructional and extracurricular programs. Over time, the combined impact of disproportionality, barriers to opportunities, lack of information, and lack of support creates a cumulative adverse impact on students of color and other underserved student populations that is reflected in achievement gaps. Unless the education community recognizes and resolves these challenges, it will be impossible for many students to be successful with the Common Core. Significant work is being conducted on instructional supports for ELL students, in particular how to help them benefit from the Common Core. In their overview paper for a recent conference to launch the new Understanding Language Initiative in Stanford University’s School of Education,12 conference co-chairs Kenji Hakuta and Maria Santos note that “English language learners have a right to appropriate education that is grounded in sound theory and implemented in ways that address their needs systematically, through coordinated support linking teachers, materials, formative assessments, tests and accountability systems, and technology.”13 The EACs agree with this statement and applaud the work that Hakuta and Santos are leading. We further argue that every student has a right to the kind of education described by Hakuta and Santos, and we challenge the education community, in implementing the Common Core, to consider how best to address the needs of all underserved and underrepresented student populations. Goal 3: Ensure equitable treatment for all students We define equitable treatment as patterns of interaction between all individuals within an environment that are characterized by acceptance, respect, support, and safety. Students should feel challenged to become invested in the pursuits of learning and excellence without fear of threat, humiliation, or danger, all of which undermine students’ ability to succeed. Inequitable treatment of students can also compound negative consequences. For example, the disproportionate use of out-of-school suspensions and expulsions contribute to higher absentee rates for African American and Latino student populations, and high absenteeism is a key contributor to academic failure and even to students’ decisions to drop out.14 Educators must examine the affect of their systems, policies, procedures, and practices on all students and their parents. For example, systems that serve ELL students but do not provide these students and their parents with critical information in any language other than English are clearly, if unintentionally, imposing barriers to the success of these students and the involvement of their families. Additionally, while algebra and geometry are critical “gatekeeper” courses for upper-level secondary mathematics and science coursework and college entrance, a frequent practice in many districts is to steer struggling students into courses that “dumb down” the mathematics content. Moreover, such courses lead nowhere, leaving students unprepared to pursue postsecondary education. The Common Core have increased the rigor in elementary and secondary mathematics and, if the promise of these standards is to be realized, educators must give all students equitable access to this content by providing instructional supports (e.g., scaffolding) when necessary. Without such supports we virtually guarantee that many students will not succeed in algebra and geometry; as a result, they will be denied access to higher-level secondary math courses such as calculus, to science courses, and ultimately to college. Goal 4: Ensure equitable resource distribution At this time, there are cumulative inequities in the distribution of essential education resources. Such resources include, for example, a rigorous curriculum, high-quality instructional materials, personalized attention for students, enrichment opportunities, and, most important, expert teachers. Because the Common Core demand more of teachers and students alike, the standards have prompted much discussion among policymakers and educators across the country about improving the quality of teachers. However, much less attention is being paid to improving the  distribution of expert teachers. The research shows that compared to low-poverty schools, high-poverty schools, on average, have more teachers with less experience and fewer advanced degrees. This means that with more experienced, better educated, and, ultimately,more expensive teachers gravitating toward affluent schools, districts are spending more on schools in affluent areas. In addition to having effective teachers, all students should have access to quality administrators, counselors, and other support staff. In collective bargaining states and districts, school boards, administrators, and unions should work together to ensure that the students most in need have access to high-quality teachers, administrators, and support staff. To identify and resolve inequities, districts must carefully examine and compare what they spend on teacher salaries and other non-teacher-related expenditures in high-poverty, high-minority schools  versus what they spend in lower-poverty schools with smaller populations of minority students. The “digital divide” represents a key resource inequity for many communities. The assessments being developed by PARCC15 and Smarter Balanced16 to align with the Common Core include accommodations for students with disabilities. However, many communities have limited or no access to computers and other technologies, or have inadequate technology. Educators must provide access to high-quality technology for those communities, including technology-support staff, and must ensure that continued advances in the use of technology in education do not create or contribute to even greater divides between the “haves” and the “have-nots.” In addition to the limitations on computers and other technology, high-poverty schools tend to have inadequate libraries, outdated instructional materials, fewer supplies, inadequate laboratories, insufficient equipment (e.g., in science labs), and fewer enrichment opportunities for students. Too often students are excluded from participation in education opportunities and successes due to costs. For example, even if a school has a band or orchestra, participation requires that students have musical instruments and have received instruction on how to play them. At one time, schools provided such opportunities (both instruments and instruction), but in many schools today, most especially those in low-income communities, tight budgets have pushed music, art, and other “enrichment” classes out, so that the only students with access are those with sufficient private means. Finally, fiscal inequities must be addressed if we are to successfully implement the Common Core. Resources should be reallocated to provide professional development and ongoing coaching for teachers and other professionals, as well as academic and other supports for students. The allocation of discretionary and other funds must reduce, and not contribute to, inequities. Goal 5: Ensure equitable opportunities to learn for all students The kinds of resources discussed above are essential but not sufficient for student learning. Opportunities to learn (OTL) refer to the sum total of what is needed to guarantee student learning. So while OTL include requisite resources, such as books and other materials, they also include effective instructional practices and conditions conducive to learning, such as a safe and supportive school climate. In their seminal 1993 article on the topic of OTL, Smith and O’Day write, “It is not legitimate to hold students accountable unless they have been given the opportunity to learn the material on the examination. Similarly, teachers or schools cannot be legitimately held accountable for how well their students do unless they have the preparation and resources to provide the students the opportunity to learn.”17 Educators at every level—state, district, school, classroom—must assess the adequacy, quality,and equity of students’ opportunities to learn by asking whether their systems, policies, procedures, and/or practices
  • enable all students to learn rigorous content,
  • enable all students to achieve at high levels,
  • consider the diverse, multiple ways in which students learn,
  • enable all teachers to teach all students,
  • reflect the best classroom practice and research,
  • support ongoing professional development of educators,
  • ensure safe and secure environments, free of prejudice and violence,
  • provide every student access to the most current education technology, updated libraries, and well-equipped science labs,
  • provide students with career exposure and work-based experience, and
  • offer opportunities for preschool and learning outside the school walls.18
Improving and ensuring equitable OTL for all students requires a related focus on the administrators, teachers, and staff who serve them. As implementation of the Common Core continues, states and districts must ensure that all those serving students have access to ongoing, high-quality, job-embedded professional development for teachers, instructional leaders, and others that includes coaching and feedback on all aspects of the Common Core. Preparation for all teachers must focus on increasing their ability to effectively reach and teach any student, differentiating instruction and supports to sufficiently meet their needs. America’s commitment to high-quality education for all students is realized when students have equitable opportunities to learn. States, districts, and schools that provide equitable opportunities to learn the content addressed in the Common Core will enable students to become lifelong learners and lead productive, rewarding lives. Goal 6: Ensure equitable shared accountability Equitable shared accountability refers to shared responsibility and accountability across all education stakeholders for ensuring that appropriate and sufficient resources, qualified teachers, challenging curricula, opportunities to learn, and sufficient supports are available for every student. Blaming students for not being able to handle a rigorous curriculum, or asserting that some students will never be competent at a world-class level, is unacceptable and runs counter both to the vision underlying the Common Core and to the U.S. Department of Education’s stance concerning education equity for all. Equitable shared accountability means that all stakeholders—school boards, administrators, teachers, and other staff—take responsibility and are held accountable for all students, including those students who are not succeeding. For example, school boards, and those who elect them, must ensure that their local schools are adequately supported. Administrators establish the vision and set expectations for equitable student outcomes so that everyone understands his or her responsibility for ensuring that all students achieve. Administrators also establish a variety of support structures to ensure the capacity of all stakeholders to meet their responsibilities. Teachers and other staff participate in planning and goal setting that focuses on equitable student outcomes, and identify and implement the strategies that are needed to reach them.19 Because equitable shared accountability is essential to the successful implementation of the Common Core, educators at every level must take responsibility for equitable, positive academic outcomes for all students.


An effective education that prepares our youth for postsecondary success should not be a privilege reserved for some students; rather, it should be a guarantee for every student. The Common Core promise just that—a quality education for all, one in which the new standards will be taught by highly qualified teachers under the leadership of skilled administrators, and students will receive adequate and appropriate supports to help ensure their success. If the Common Core promise is to be fulfilled, all educators and education stakeholders must commit to excellence and equity, because excellence cannot be achieved without equity. The Common Core must be implemented with the intention of ensuring that every student receives the instruction necessary to produce the desired learning outcomes. We have a moral imperative to implement the Common Core in a way that embraces and supports those who have been underserved by the education system in the past, so that every studentachieves to his or her highest potential. It is only fair, just, and right that every student be provided a rigorous curriculum and high-quality instruction regardless of race, gender, national origin, linguistic background, economic level, physical ability or any other defining characteristic. It is time for us to move forward on these matters of excellence and equity. The promise of the Common Core must be realized for all students and their families.


The following recommendations are made with the intent of helping educators meet the six goals of equity to ensure that every student is equally well served by the Common Core. By every student, we particularly include those who traditionally have been underserved by our education systems and underrepresented in positive outcomes, including students of color, ELL students, students with disabilities, and economically disadvantaged students.
  1. First and foremost, begin implementation of the Common Core with the end in mind:high achievement for all student populations.
  2.  Eliminate the concept of “significant subgroups” because all student populations are significant. Use disaggregated data to monitor for student progress and equity in achievement and other student outcomes, attending to all population subgroups.
  3.  Prepare and support administrators to effectively lead Common Core implementation so that all students have comparably high academic achievement and positive outcomes on all achievement indicators.
  4. Create and provide appropriate professional development approaches to properly prepare all teachers, including core content teachers, to teach all students in a culturally appropriate and proficient manner.
  5. Create and provide appropriate professional development for school counselors so they are able to provide appropriate and culturally responsive guidance and support for all students.
  6. Rethink tiered systems of interventions to accommodate implementation of the Common Core. Provide appropriate professional development to teachers to implement tiered systems with fidelity and responsiveness to the real learning characteristics of the individual students in those systems.
  7.  Inform all parents and families about the Common Core and equip them to contribute to their children’s success with the more rigorous curricula called for by the Common Core. In particular, empower the parents and families of students who have been traditionally underserved and underrepresented, creating a place for their voice and engagement in all aspects of their children’s education experience.
  8.  Improve access to academic counseling for all students, especially struggling students, and their families.
  9.  Provide students with the necessary, personalized academic and social supports, building their awareness of college and understanding of career pathways.
  10. Extend responsibility for student success to all stakeholders, including school boards,educators at every level, parents, and students.
  1. Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. Retrieved from
  2. Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Retrieved from
  3.  Scott, B. (2012, September). The challenge of seeing—Shaping the sixth generation of civil rights and educational equity. IDRA Newsletter. Retrieved from
  4. U.S. Department of Education. Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development. (2010). A blueprint for reform: The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Washington, DC: Author, p. 2.
  5.  The Equity and Excellence Commission. (2013). For each and every child – A strategy for education equity and excellence. Washington, DC: Author, p. 15.
  6.  Scott, B. (2002, May). Who’s responsible, who’s to blame? IDRA Newsletter. Retrieved from Who%27s_Responsible%2C_Who%27s_to_Blame?/
  7.  Ladson-Billings, G. (2006, October). From the achievement gap to the education debt: Understanding achievement in U.S. schools. Educational Researcher, 35(7), 3–12.
  8.  U.S. Department of Education. (n.d.). Continuing to expose and close achievement gaps.Retrieved from
  9.  Common Core State Standards Initiative. (n.d.). Mission statement. Retrieved from
  10.  Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA). (n.d.). Six goals of education equity.San Antonio, TX: Author. Retrieved from
  11. The Equity Assistance Center Network. (2008). Response to Intervention: An equity perspective. The Equity Assistance Centers identify civil rights concerns with the implementation of Response to Intervention. San Antonio, TX: South Central Collaborative for Equity,Intercultural Development Research Association. Retrieved from
  12.  Stanford University. (n.d.). Understanding language: Language, literacy, and learning in the content areas. Retrieved from
  13. Hakuta, K., & Santos, M. (2012). Understanding language: Challenges and opportunities for language learning in the context of Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards [Conference Overview Paper], p. 2. Stanford, CA: Stanford University. Retrieved  from
  14. Losen, D. J., & Martinez, T. E. (2013). Out of school and off track: The overuse of suspensions in American middle and high schools. The Center for Civil Rights Remedies, The Civil Rights Project, University of California, Los Angeles.
  15. Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). (n.d.). PARCC accessibility accommodations and fairness. Retrieved from
  16. Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. (n.d.). Support for under-represented students. Retrieved from
  17. Smith, M., & O’Day, J. (1993). Systemic reform and educational opportunity. In S. Fuhrman (Ed.), Designing coherent education policy: Improving the system. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, p. 272.
  18. Drawn largely from Goals 2000: Educate America Act (archived). Retrieved from
  19. Ragland, M. A., Asera, R., & Johnson, J. F., Jr. (1999). Urgency, responsibility, efficacy: Preliminary findings of a study of high-performing Texas school districts. The Charles A. Dana Center, University of Texas at Austin.

Download: How the Common Core Must Ensure Equity by Fully Preparing Every Student for Postsecondary Success

Post Image Identity and African American Youth

This piece, part of the Addressing Critical Equity Issues series, discusses the importance of sustaining positive influences during the adolescence of African American and provides best practices on how this can be done.

Identity and African American Youth

From the standpoint of child development, adolescence is a time when children begin to discover and define themselves. Expectations based on “mainstream norms” can have a dichotomous impact on this stage of self‐ development in African American children and youth (Gullan et al, 2011). Influences on identity development in African American children can be positively mediated through a strong family foundation and community ties. African American parents and extended family members are instrumental in helping children to develop a positive self‐concept and racial identity through racial socialization, and preparation of children to grow into adult roles and responsibilities (Gullan et al, 2011;Hill & Chao, 2009; Hughes et al., 2006). However, as children become adolescents, they inevitably spend more hours of the day and week in a variety of environments away from such positive influences (DeCuir‐ Gunby, 2009).This can affect the degree to which such positive influences are internalized and sustained. As girls and boys transition to and from their home and community environments, they are exposed to a variety of factors that impact their identity development. Such factors include: (1) interactions with female and male peers (Tatum, 1997); (2) the ways in which they relate to their parents and family members as they grapple with simultaneous needs for independence and dependence; (3) exposure to the plethora of African American male and female images portrayed in print material and the media (Gooding, 2010); and (4) the underlying context of race relations based on the history of racial groups in this country (Bonner, et al, 2009 Thomas, Hoxha, & Hacker, 2012). The intersection of these factors can have a profound effect on how children and youth see themselves or experience their sense of self. Boys and girls growing up African American in 21st century society face the covert reality that they live in a nation entrenched in a long history that has marginalized the race into which they were born (Singleton, 2006, Tatum, 1997). Integration of a positive adult identity can be a unique challenge for African American teenagers because they learn from a young age, that at different times in American history, their race has carried a negative social stigma based on the color of their skin (Takaki, 1989; Tatum, 1997).  Racism remains a powerful presence in American society. Although overt acts of racism have shifted since the early decades of this country’s history, the impact of privilege based on one’s race persists as a prevailing construct in American society (Helms, 1990; Lindsey, Martinez, & Lindsey 2009; Singleton, 2006; Takaki, 1989). The residue from this socio‐political reality can impede African American youth from experiencing identity development free of misconceived self‐perceptions (Irving &  Hudley 2008; Nieto & Bode, 2011; Singleton 2007). The pressure of challenging the predominant societal myth of being an African American male or female can result in a range of paths to identity development. African American adolescents may opt to choose a ‘race less’ identity (Harris & Marsh, 2010), suppress the desire to achieve because being smart is associated with ‘being white’ (Toldson & Owens, 2010), exhibit oppositional behavior (Ogbu, 2003), isolate themselves socially and/or find it hard to focus on achieving in school (Bonner, 2009; Coakley, et al., 2011). These counterproductive indicators should not be ignored, but rather recognized, understood and balanced with alternative outlooks and role models whose experience and background they can relate to (Derek et al, 2009). African American youth who have a more balanced sense of self are more likely to stay grounded, confident and resilient. It is essential for educators and parents to become authentically attuned to this generation’s experience of what it is like to ‘come into being’ as an African American male or female adolescent. This calls for adult awareness of and sensibility to the scope and significance that identity development holds for 21st century African American youth (Cooper, 2002; Steen, 2009.) All children have a right to come into their own surrounded, in each of their environments, by adults who acknowledge, affirm and encourage identity development that is positive, balanced and healthy. (Boykin, Noguera, 2011; Gullan et al, 2011). Such capacity positions adults to evolve as reliable advocates in the lives of African American youth. As a result, their process of identity development will enable them to take advantage of opportunities for productive growth and lead them to high quality life choices PROMISING PRACTICES
  • Boiana, J.; Munwah, L.(2009). If These Halls Could Talk‐ Workshop Series; If These Halls Could Talk is a groundbreaking program developed by John Boiano and Lee Mun Wah, where students gather in small groups to discuss their personal concerns about their identity development, emotional outlook and physical safety as they deal with bullying as it relates to classism, racism, sexism, heterosexism and violence in school. The workshops focus on positive social skills and role modeling, personal accountability, and the exploration of how our biases, and stereotypes affect our perceptions and relationships with each other.
  • Gooding, F., (2011). You Mean There’s Race in My Movie? The Complete Instructor’s Guide for Understanding Race in Hollywood. Fredrick Gooding Jr., founder of The Minority Reporter website, asserts that mainstream movies can have a strong cultural impact, particularly regarding the perpetuation of racial imagery and how Americans relate around notions of race. This interactive multi‐media discussion goes “behind the scenes” to explore the ways in which minority images are consciously created, manipulated, and distributed to audiences around the globe.
  • Munwah, L.(2009). If These Halls Could Talk: Part One and Part Two – The Educational Film Series; In the summers of 2010 and 2011, Director, Lee Mun Wah brought together eleven racially diverse college students from around the country to answer questions about their identity development and the challenges of coping with racism on a college campus. In the process of sharing their stories and different life experiences with each other, they discover and expose the complexity and anguish that accompany those experiences, while trying to be understood and validated in a predominantly white environment.
  • Gullan, R.L., College, G.M., Hoffman, B.N. et al. (2011). I Do, But I Don’t: The Search for Identity in Urban African Americans. Perspectives on Urban Education, Spring 2011.
  • Derek M.; Ward, N.; Potts, R.; Boyd, E. (2009) Mentoring Urban Black Middle School Male Students: Implications for Academic Achievement. Journal of Negro Education, 78(3).
  •  Floyd, N.E. (2009). Identity and Achievement: A Depth Psychology Approach to Student Development. Small Group Research 2010 41: 71.
  •  Steen, S. (2009) Group Counseling for African American Elementary Students: An Exploratory Study. The Journal of Specialists for Group Work 34(2) 101–117.
  • Bonner II, F.A.; Lewis, C.A.; Bowman‐Perrott, L.; Hill‐Jackson, V.; James, M.(2009). Definition, Identification, Identity, and Culture: A Unique Alchemy Impacting the Success of Gifted African American Millennial Males in School. Journal for the Education of the Gifted. 33:176–202.
  • Brittian, A.S. (2012) Understanding Adolescents’ Identity Development: A Relational Developmental Systems Perspective. Journal of Black Psychology 38(2) 172‐ 200.
  •  Cokley, K.; McClain, S.; Jones, M.; Johnson, S. (2011). A Preliminary Investigation of Academic Disidentification, Racial Identity, and Academic Achievement among African American Adolescents. The University of North Carolina Press 54‐68.  DeCuir‐Gunby, J.T. (2009) A Review of the Racial Identity Development of African American Adolescents: The Role of Education. Review of Educational Research, 79(1) 103–124  Harris, A.L., Marsh, K. (2010). Is a Raceless Identity an Effective Strategy for Academic Success Among Blacks? Social Science Quarterly, 91(5), 1242‐1263
  •  Hughes, D.; Rodriguez, J. ; Smith. E.; Johnson, D.; Stevenson,H.; Spicer, P.(2006). Parents’ Ethnic– Racial Socialization Practices: A Review of Research and Directions for Future Study. Developmental Psychology 42 (5), 747–770.
  •  Irving, M.A., Hudley, C. (2008). Cultural Identification and Academic Achievement among African American Males. Journal of Advanced Academics, 19(4): 676‐698.
  • Thomas, A.; Hoxha, D.; Hacker, D. (2012). Contextual Influences on Gendered Racial Identity Development of African American Young Women. Journal of Black Psychology, XX(X) 1–14.
  • Toldson, I.A., Owens, D. (2010). Editor’s Comment: "Acting Black": What Black Kids Think About Being Smart and Other School‐related Experiences. The Journal of Negro Education 79 (2), 91 ‐96
  • Boykin, A. W. and Noguera, P. (2011) Creating the Opportunity to Learn: Moving from Research to Practice to Close the Achievement Gap. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
  •  Cooper, P. (2002). Does race matter? A Comparison of Effective Black and White Teachers of African American Students. In J. Jordan Irvine (Ed.), In Search of Wholeness: African American Teachers and their Specific Classroom Practices. (pp. 47‐63). New York: Palgrave.
  • Helms, J.E.(Ed.)(1990) Black and White Racial Identity: Theory Research and Practice. Westport CT. Greenwood.
  • Hill, N. E. and Chao, R. K (Eds.) (2009). Families, Schools, and the Adolescent: Connecting Research, Policy, and Practice. New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Lindsey, D. B.; Martinez, R.S.; Lindsey, R.B. (2007). Culturally Proficient Coaching: Supporting Educators to Create Equitable Schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
  • Nieto, S.; Bode, P. (2011). Affirming Diversity: The Socio‐Political Context of Multicultural Education‐6th Edition, Allyn & Bacon.
  • Ogbu, J. U. (2003). Black American Students in an Affluent Suburb: A study of academic Disengagement. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  •  Singleton, G.E.; Linton, C. (2006). Courageous conversations about race: a field guide to achieving equity in schools. Thousand Oakes, CA: Corwin Press.
  •  Takaki, R. (1989). A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. Boston: Little Brown.  Tatum, B.D. (1997) “Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And other conversations about race. New York: Harper Collins.

Download: Identity and African American Youth

Post Image Identity and Sexual Orientation

This piece, part of our Addressing Critical Equity Issues series, discusses how the strict enforcement of gender norms can have a devastating impact on children as they begin to define themselves and provides ideas for educators and parents on how best to address issues that may arise.

Identity  and Sexual Orientation

Strict enforcement of gender norms can have a devastating impact on children as they begin to define themselves. For example, when stores separate toys into aisles for girls and boys, children who identify across gender lines learn that anyone who diverges from their designated shelves is viewed as “other” and may deserve to be ridiculed. Young children who are taught limiting rules about what boys and girls can do based on strict definitions of gender experience negative reinforcement about identity and sexuality. Establishing a broader integrated identity enables boys and girls to have a sense of self that is not dependent upon gender. Boys and girls who have a more expansive sense of self can stay centered and are more secure. Sexual identity confusion is not uncommon during adolescence. “Approximately 40% of girls experience sexual feelings toward another girl at least once during their adolescent or teen years, and this doesn’t mean they will be lesbians,” says Lynn Ponton in Daughters, Mind and Body. Children with a different sexual orientation often are aware early on that they don’t fit in and they are not sure why. It is clear that we can’t truly address bullying without talking about the fear of people perceived as different. Despite increased awareness of and media attention to sexual orientation, these teenagers continue to face particularly difficult challenges, which include feeling different from peers, feeling guilty about their sexual orientation, worrying about their parents’ response, and being rejected and harassed by others. The fear of rejection from both society and parents is so strong that keeping the secret can be fatal. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) teens exhibit signs of depression, manifested by isolating themselves socially and finding it hard to concentrate in school. These signs of distress should not be ignored. GLBT youth are several times more likely to attempt suicide than straight teens. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s web site, they account for 30 percent of all completed suicides among teens. GLBT teens that do have the courage to “come out” risk being teased mercilessly. Educators and parents need to be alert to these differences, aware of their significance and knowledgeable about how best to respond. All children have a right to feel safe at school, acknowledged and respected. Integration of a positive adult identity is a challenge for GLBT teenagers because they learn from a young age that being gay carries a stigma. Homophobia is still powerful in American society. Even with many states adopting policies concerning sexual orientation, and the proliferation of gay‐themed television shows and increased visibility of noted homosexuals in the media, it is still a struggle to be different and accepted. These rigid sex roles prevent our girls and boys from being themselves. PROMISING PRACTICES 
  • Safe Schools Coalition has lesson plans and handouts for addressing issues of sexual diversity in age appropriate ways in the classroom. There are also many resources for sexual minority youths and their friends and allies, including greeting cards that can be downloaded.
  • The American Psychological Association's Healthy Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Students Project was founded “to strengthen the capacity of the nation's schools to prevent the behavioral health risks of lesbian, gay, and bisexual students through knowledge development, dissemination, and application,working with and through national organizations of school stakeholders.” Their Web site provides links to national education organizations' policies and the latest research on sexual minority youths, including a link to Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation & Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators and School Personnel.
  • The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network “strives to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.” More than 1,000 resources related to current events and issues, tools for ensuring safe schools, policies and legal issues, and lesson plans and curricula for the classroom are available from its Web site.
  • Advocates For Youth Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (GLBT) Youth Initiative “works to address homophobia within communities, sensitize youth‐serving professionals to the needs of GLBTQ youth and to encourage GLBTQ youth to become powerful advocates for themselves and other youth by sharing culturally relevant information and access to tailored services.” Available at this Web site are tips for teachers and teens for dealing with harassment and for creating inclusive programs. Several fact sheets and tip sheets are available for transgender youth and for the adults in their lives.
  • Parents, Friends, and Families of Lesbians and Gays offers support and information for families of LGBT people with more than 400 chapters nationwide. PFLAG offers Safe Schools Training for school personnel.
  • Children of Lesbian and Gays Everywhere was formed “to engage, connect, and empower people to make the world a better place for children of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender parents and families.” The Web site offers a link to “Tips for making the classroom safe for children with LGBT parents,” as well as lists of books and films.
  • Sexual Orientation and the Public School Teacher By Todd A. DeMitchell, Suzanne Eckes, and Richard Fossey. Public Interest Law Journal.
  •  Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators, and School Personnel. This publication offers information about sexual orientation development and resources in order to provide a safe and hate‐free environment within schools for youth. The primer discusses sexual orientation development, a survey of efforts in response to sexual orientation, relevant legal principles, and resources to help educators improve services, curricula, and school climates so that the educational and health needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youths, are better served.
  •  Sexual Orientation and School Policy: A Practical Guide for Teachers, Administrators, and Community Activists (Hardcover) By Ian K. Macgillivray. This book helps the reader to understand and mediate the debates that arise when gay, lesbian, bi‐sexual, transgendered, intersex, and queer/questioning (GLBTIQ) students and their families ask for equal treatment from the schools and are opposed by conservative parents. Sexual Orientation and School Policy is a case study of one school districts' attempt to adopt and implement policies that include sexual orientation. This book describes the work of the Safe Schools Coalition who advocate and educate for equal rights for GLBTIQ students. Concerned Citizens, a group of conservative parents, opposed the inclusion of sexual orientation in the policies. The author highlights the factors that either facilitated or impeded the implementation of the policies as well as the strategies employed by the Safe Schools Coalition in educating opponents.
  • Our Worldsin Our Words: Exploring Race, Class, Gender, and Sexual Orientation in Multicultural Classrooms (Hardcover) By Mary Dilg. In her new book, Mary Dilg brings us into her high school English classroom, where we see students reach across the social, cultural, and economic lines that divide them to build life‐long literacy skills.
  • Rethinking Our Classrooms Vol 1 ‐ Revised Edition [Paperback] By Wayne Au, Bill Bigelow (Author), and Stan Karp (Author). This revised and expanded edition includes new essays on science and environmental education, immigration and language, military recruitment, teaching about the world through mathematics, and gay and lesbian issues. Creative teaching ideas, compelling classroom narratives, and hands‐on examples show how teachers can promote the values of community, justice, and equality while building academic skills.

Download: Identity and Sexual Orientation

Post Image Introduction to Restorative Practices: An Equitable Approach

Restorative practices is an approach to build relationships within a community. Its purpose is to prevent conflict and wrongdoing and respond to wrongdoing after it occurs. This article provides an introduction to restorative practices, including implementation challenges, success stories, and tips on how to get started. By adopting positive and inclusive tools to resolve conflict and build community, schools can provide a safe environment in which all students thrive.     EXPLORING EQUITY ISSUES Introduction to Restorative Practices: An Equitable Approach May 2021 Susan Villani, Ed.D. Senior Program Associate, WestEd   EQUITY-BASED RESTORATIVE PRACTICES – NOW MORE THAN EVER The Center for Education Equity at MAEC has developed a guide to help schools use Restorative Practices to build relationships and address conflict. For more than a year, our nation has been struggling to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing social issues that violently target people based on their identity, such as their race, gender, sexual orientation, or immigration status. By adopting positive and inclusive tools to resolve conflict and build community, schools can provide a safe environment in which all students thrive. Restorative practices is grounded in inclusion, empathy, and community-mindedness, and provides a strong antidote to the traumas stemming from social issues and traditional, punishment-oriented conflict resolution practices. These approaches can guide students and educators to build healthy relationships and promote the well-being of their school community. With the call for a total return to classrooms, educators and school leaders must be ready to address increased disparities and to rebuild social ties affected by ongoing and amplified traumas. Together, we can help heal this country and shape a brighter future for all students. PART I: WHAT IS THE RESTORATIVE PRACTICES APPROACH? “Restorative Practices is an emerging social science that studies how to strengthen relationships between individuals as well as social connections within communities” (International Institute for Restorative Practices, n.d.). A Mindset as Well as an Approach Restorative practices is an approach to build relationships within a community. Its purpose is to prevent conflict and wrongdoing and respond to wrongdoing after it occurs. Many schools choose to use restorative practices to eliminate or significantly reduce repeated and long-term student suspensions. A restorative practices approach is more than managing misbehavior. It offers a proactive strategy to create a connected, responsible school community where all members feel valued and have the opportunity to thrive. Building Relationships When responding to wrongdoing, restorative practices brings together everyone affected by the conflict to discuss what happened, how they were affected, and what they need to do to restore a positive relationship. Restorative practices, whether proactive or reactive, emphasizes every school member’s responsibility to the community. Thus, it is a profoundly relational practice. A restorative practices approach is more than a collection of protocols and activities; it is a mindset, a belief about building and restoring community. The driving idea behind restorative practices is that damaging behaviors cause harm and that harm needs to be repaired. A restorative practices approach involves: 1. Respecting the opinions and experiences of all individuals involved in or affected by a harmful behavior. 2. Taking responsibility for individual actions and how they harm others. 3. Repairing harm by accepting obligations to others in the community and working collaboratively to identify and follow through on solutions. 4. Reintegrating the person harmed and the person who caused harm into the community using structured and supportive processes to ensure behaviors are not repeated. 5. Valuing inclusion, honesty, empathy, responsibility, and accountability, all of which are at the core of the restorative process. Key Restorative Practices and Processes There are various restorative practices commonly found in schools. The following list, modified from “Restorative Practices: Fostering Healthy Relationships & Promoting Positive Discipline in Schools” (Advancement Project, 2014), gathers a range of restorative practices, from simple practices that require little training to implement, to more intensive practices that require specific expertise because of the more sensitive or complex nature of students’ disciplinary events. Informal restorative practices embedded in school culture: • Circles • Restorative chats • Restorative conferences • Community conferences • Peer mediation • Peer juries Implementation Challenges Fronius et al. (2019) conducted a comprehensive literature review of some challenges of implementing Restorative Justice (a term often used interchangeably with restorative practices) in schools. These challenges are all applicable to restorative practices: • Confusion about what qualifies as Restorative Justice. • Lack of consensus about the best implementation models. • Staff time and buy-in required. • Training and resources needed. • Teachers performing duties outside their typical job description, including conducting circles during instructional time and more time talking one-to-one with students. • Perception that Restorative Justice is “soft on student offenses.” • Deep shift to a restorative climate could take three to five years (Evans & Lester, 2013). • Resources needed to sustain the initiative for three to five years. Why Alternatives to Suspensions Are Critical Specific student subgroups are suspended more frequently. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s 2014 Civil Rights Data Collection, students with disabilities are more than twice as likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions as students without disabilities. Likewise, Black students are 3.8 times as likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions than their White peers. The U.S. Government Accounting Office (2018) wrote that the disparities in discipline for students who are Black, are male, or have disabilities occur regardless of the type of the disciplinary action, level of school poverty, or type of public school attended. High rates of suspensions and expulsions are often the result of zero-tolerance policies, which require school officials to apply specific, consistent, and harsh punishment when students break certain rules, regardless of the seriousness of the behavior, mitigating circumstances, or situational context. According to U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (2014), nationwide, as many as 95% of out-of-school suspensions are for non-violent misbehaviors, such as tardiness, dress code violations, or using bad language. Zero-tolerance policies have led to increased numbers of youth being “pushed out” of school (suspended or expelled) with no evidence of positive impact on school safety (Losen, 2014). These approaches do not deal with the root causes of misbehavior or violence, and they compromise learning time, school connectedness, and meaningful opportunities for growth. Zero-tolerance approaches also hurt teacher-student relationships. Students who are suspended even once in ninth grade are twice as likely to drop out of school, from 16% to 32% (Balfanz, 2013). Higher-suspending schools gain no improvement in school achievement, boast higher dropout rates, and increase the likelihood that their students will enter the juvenile justice system (Losen & Martinez, 2013). There is a strong relationship between poor education and incarceration. Students who fail to finish high school are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested than high school graduates. Sixty-eight percent of all men in American prisons do not have a high school diploma (Stipek, 2014). Overall, the evidence shows the following: • There is no research to support the claim that schools benefit from frequently suspending or expelling their students in response to non-violent and mundane forms of adolescent misbehavior. • Research shows that frequent suspension and expulsion are associated with negative outcomes (Losen, 2011). • There are large disparities by race, gender, and disability status when using these punishments (Losen, 2011). • There are alternatives to suspensions and expulsions that improve student outcomes. Two Success Stories By 2014, California’s Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) implemented Restorative Justice in nearly half of its schools. The effects over time have reduced suspensions, particularly for Black students; closed the discipline gap; and improved academic outcomes (reading levels, dropout rates, graduation rates) when compared to schools that did not implement restorative practices (Jain, Bassey, Brown, & Kalra, 2014). RAND conducted a two-year study that examined the implementation of restorative practices in the Pittsburgh Public School District under the leadership of the International Institute for Restorative Practices . This study represents one of the first randomized controlled trials of the impacts of restorative practices on suspension rates and classroom and school climate (Augustine et al., 2018). The report found: • Restorative practices—inclusive and non-punitive ways to respond to conflict and build community—reduced student suspension in the Pittsburgh Public Schools district. • Restorative practices significantly reduced suspension rates of elementary grade students, Black students, students from low-income families, and female students, more than those not in these groups. • Restorative practices did not improve academic outcomes, nor did they reduce suspensions for middle school students or suspensions for violent offenses. Other school districts can learn important lessons on training, practice, support, and data collections from Pittsburgh when adopting a restorative practices program.   PART II: WHAT CAN WE DO? The following recommendations were compiled from “Restorative Practices: Fostering Healthy Relationships & Promoting Positive Discipline in Schools” (Advancement Project, 2014) and ”Restorative Justice in Oakland Schools: Implementation and Impacts” (Jain et al., 2014): 1. Establish a team of students, parents/guardians, educators, and community members. 2. Seek input from a range of community stakeholders. 3. Allocate funding for restorative practices at the school and district level. 4. Dedicate time within the school day, such as an advisory period, to practice restorative techniques. 5. Build a greater infrastructure at the district and school levels. 6. Invest in training and coaching for all involved. • Tier 1 involves training everyone in the school. • Tier 2 involves training to facilitate conflict circles to repair harm. • Tier 3 involves training to facilitate circles for youth who have been suspended, incarcerated, or are feeling unwelcome at school. Leverage capacity by empowering a core team of expert staff/students to train the trainers. Involve more parents by familiarizing them with restorative practices at the school and encourage their participation and support for the program. Capitalize on the enormous potential of students to help establish the program. Connect with other districts and schools that use restorative practices.   PART III: HOW DO YOU GET STARTED WITH RESTORATIVE PRACTICES? Administrators and teacher leaders who want to learn more about restorative practices and bring them to their schools and districts can turn to MAEC’s new publication. This guide helps schools use restorative approaches to build relationships and address conflict. Part 1 describes restorative practices and includes basic information about the specific practices and key processes. These tools help people take responsibility for their actions and repair harm when possible. They are specifically used to facilitate community building and address infractions and other incidents. Part 2 provides initial guidance for school leaders to explore and promote restorative practices. Part 3 helps school leaders manage the school-wide adoption of restorative practices. Part 4 provides resources and tools to assist with early implementation of restorative practices. There are links included with all the works cited in the reference section. Getting Started with Restorative Practices in Schools: A Guide for Administrators and Teacher Leaders is available at:   Disclaimer MAEC is committed to the sharing of information regarding issues of equity in education. The contents of this paper were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.   RESOURCES • Facing History and Ourselves. “Taking School Online with a Student-centered Approach” provides strategies for teachers to build community in their classrooms. There are also online resources for educators and students to promote their self-care and relationship building, and over 1,000 content-based resources (including lessons, videos, DVDs, PowerPoints, and teaching strategies) that center around student reflection and dialogue. • The International Institute of Restorative Practices (IIRP) identifies the need for restorative practices with families, the community, and the workplace. They suggest that fair process will be vital during remote working when communication is less direct and more difficult. School leaders should help staff manage stress and engage with them to get their input and share resources more often. IIRP also shares circle questions that teachers can use to encourage their students to reflect and share their feelings on the pandemic. • The Oakland Unified School District. This school district has worked with restorative practices for many years and compiled the following resources: · Videos on how to lead a virtual community building circle · Circle templates and supports · Antiracism resources · A slideshow on how Restorative Practices can be used to create and maintain school community virtually. • Living Justice Press is a nonprofit publisher for restorative justice. Their website includes free webinars, videos, posters, and other materials for sale. • The Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety (SEL Center). Resources include briefs, guides, and a webinar to support districts and schools as they support students during the COVID-19 pandemic. One brief shares strategies of trauma-informed distance learning. • WestEd. “Community-Care Strategies for Schools During the Coronavirus Crisis” offers guidance for educators, school staff, and school leaders to help ensure that school communities are effective, cohesive, collaborative, healthy, and sustainable while coping with the stresses of social isolation, school closures, and changes to how services are provided. The brief builds on a growing research base about school climate and culture. • National Institute of Justice. “Creating and Sustaining Positive School Climate” describes school climate, how it is assessed, outcomes, assessments, and how it can improve. REFERENCES Advancement Project. (2014, March 20). Restorative practices: Fostering healthy relationships & promoting positive discipline in schools. Retrieved from healthy-relationships-promoting-positive-discipline-in-schools/ Augustine, C. H., Engberg, J., Grimm. G.E., Lee, E., Wang, E.L., Christianson, K., & Joseph, A.A. (2018). Can restorative practices improve school climate and curb suspensions?: An evaluation of the impact of restorative practices in a mid-sized urban school district. RAND. Retrieved from Balfanz, R., Byrnes, V., & Fox, J. (2013). Sent Home and Put Off-Track: The Antecedents, Disproportionalities, and Consequences of Being Suspended in the Ninth Grade. Paper presented at the Closing the school discipline gap: research to practice, Washington, DC. Evans, K. R., Lester, J. N., & Anfara Jr., V. A. (2013, May). Restorative Justice in education: What we know so far. Middle School Journal, 44(5), 57–63. Fronius, T., Perrson, H., Guckenburg, S., Hurley, N., & Petrosino, A. (2016, February). Restorative Justice in U.S. schools: A research review. WestEd. Retrieved from Fronius, T., Darling-Hammond, S., Sutherland, H., Guckenburg, S., Hurley. N. & Petrosino, A. (2019). Restorative Justice in U.S. schools: An updated research review. WestEd. Retrieved from research-review/ International Institute for Restorative Practices. (n.d.). What is restorative practices? Retrieved from Jain, S.; Bassey, H.; Brown, M.A.; Kalra, P. (2014, September). Restorative Justice in Oakland schools: Implementation and impacts: An effective strategy to reduce racially disproportionate discipline, suspensions and improve academic outcomes [Report prepared for the Office of Civil Rights: U.S. Department of Education]. Oakland Unified School District. Retrieved from Report revised Final.pdf U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. (2016, October 28). 2013-2014 civil rights data collection, a first look: Key data highlights on equity and opportunity gaps in our nation’s public schools. Retrieved from U.S. Department of Education. (2014, January 8). Remarks of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the release of the joint DOJ-ED school discipline guidance package. Retrieved from U.S. Government Accountability Office. (2018). K-12 education: Discipline disparities for black students, boys, and students with disabilities: Highlights of GAO-18-258, a report to congressional requesters. Retrieved from Weingarten, K. (2003). Common shock: Witnessing violence every day—How we are harmed, how we can heal. New York: Dutton.

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Post Image Moving Toward Equity: Bold Strategies for Building the Educator Workforce Our Children Need Now

The first in the Center for Education's (CEE) 2017 Webinar Series, this webinar addresses the importance of effective teachers when it comes to student achievement and the lack of access students from low-income families and students of color have to effective teachers. This webinar provides an overview of the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders Talent Development Framework. Participants will learn methods for recruiting, retaining, and developing great teachers for all students. You will also hear real examples of the bold strategies states and districts are using to move toward equity. This session was originally held on February 23, 2017. Presenters Mary-Dean Barringer, Strategic Initiative Director. Education Workforce, Council of Chief State School Officers Stephanie Dean, Senior Consultant and Vice President, Teaching and Learning Policy, Public Impact Angela Minnici, Director, Center on Great Teachers & Leaders Download:


Post Image Protecting Religious Desegregation in Public Schools

  Part of CEE's Exploring Equity Issues series, this paper gives a background on religious discrimination in schools and provides strategies on what schools can do to address and resolve these problems.

Protecting Religious Desegregation in Public Schools

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution establishes the right to the free exercise of religion. Federal laws, including Title IV of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, prohibit discrimination in educational institutions. Yet students of  all ages and grade levels experience discrimination on the basis of religion. Students who experience bullying and harassment based on their religion may disengage from educational opportunities, have poor academic performance, and ultimately fail to reach their full potential (Wolfpert, 2010). These consequences affect our schools and our communities. Without an understanding of how religion intersects with gender, ethnicity, and national origin, educators do not have the essential information to implement effective solutions to complex educational challenges. BULLYING BY STUDENTS Bullying remains a problem in our nation’s schools. Almost one-third of all students ages 12 to 18 say they are bullied. More than 16% of bullying incidents target students because of their religious identity [ADL, 2016]. Looking at individual religious populations, those students experience high incidents of religious bullying: approximately one in three Hindu students [The Sikh Coalition, 2014], two in three Sikh students [Hindu American Foundation, 2016], and more than one in two Muslim students [Tucker, 2015]. These include verbal, physical, and cyber assaults. Sikh children have been called “Bin Laden” or “terrorist.” They have been told to “go back to their country.” [The Sikh Coalition, 2014]. Classmates make fun of their turbans and even try to remove them forcibly. A seventh grader in Vandalia, Ohio, threatened to shoot a Muslim boy on the bus ride home from school, calling him a “towel head,” a “terrorist,” and “the son of ISIS.” [Rizga, 2016] A sixth grader in the Bronx who wears a hijab was reportedly punched by three boys who called her “ISIS.” [Rizga, 2016] One Sikh student received prank calls from her peers calling her names and she received text messages calling her a “bindi-assbitch.” A Muslim student in New Jersey who wears a hijab had her photograph taken at school by classmates which was then posted on social media with the word “ISIS” across it [Ahussain, 2016]. Bullying does not only include peer-to-peer harassment, but does include student-to-teacher as well. A Jewish public school teacher’s students etched swastikas and hate messages such as "Die Jews," "Kill Owen," "KKK," and "White Power" in and around his classroom on multiple occasions and then placed a hangman's noose on his classroom door (DOJ Case, Owen & United States v. L'Anse Area Schools, 2000). DISCRIMINATION BY TEACHERS Teachers and school administrators also participate in religious discrimination. One in five Muslim students experienced discrimination by a school staff member. [Tucker, 2015] One in four Hindu students reported being singled out by a teacher when the section on Hinduism was discussed. [Hindu American Foundation, 2016] In one survey, 27% of students who wear a hijab reported being discriminated by their teacher.[Tucker, 2015] More than three in five Hindu students reported that their schools focused on caste and Hinduism and one in eight students said their teachers made sarcastic comments about Hinduism in front of the whole class [Hindu American Foundation, 2016]. A Georgia teacher asked a student wearing a headscarf if she was carrying a bomb [Ahussain, 2016]. In a case that received national attention, a 14-year-old Muslim student in Texas was arrested after he brought a clock to school [Walsh, 2015]. One teacher told a Muslim student that he was “not American enough to understand.” [Tucker, 2015] One teacher in Texas distributed an 8-page pamphlet that alluded to Islam being a violent religion that preaches an “ideology of war.” [Murphy, 2015] Beyond the hateful speech they experience, reports suggest that students wearing the hijab are more likely to be placed in lower academic levels than those who do not [ODIHR, 2011]. In addition, a teacher’s actions or inactions could unintentionally foster a classroom environment where bullying is perceived as acceptable by not addressing it or by not challenging stereotypes about students of a particular religious background.[USDOJ, 2016] WHAT CAN SCHOOLS DO? Review and Revise School Policies School policies must provide reasonable religious accommodations, such as excusal from school for religious holidays, religious clothing exceptions to dress codes, and accommodation for prayer during the day. Understandably, this raises complex issues when these accommodations conflict with school curriculum. A student may need to opt out of a course or part of a course because of religious objections. A school may need to provide single-sex swimming classes and allow students to wear long pants during Physical Education classes. [ODIHR, 2011] Review and Adapt Curricula School administrators and teachers must know the difference between teaching religion and teaching about religion [ADL, 2012]. Because this contentious issue has legal repercussions, teachers and educators often avoid topics of religion, religious diversity, and pluralism in the classroom. When religion does enter the curriculum, problems arise when teachers only discuss the major religions. Teachers should avoid cursory discussions that subtly denigrate the validity of minority religious beliefs held by some individuals, regardless of whether adherents to minority beliefs are represented in the class. Conversely, teachers should not single out students to explain their religious (or cultural) traditions. The student may feel uncomfortable and may not have enough information to be accurate. Moreover, by asking a student to be a spokesperson for his or her religion, the teacher sends a signal that the religion is too “exotic” for the teacher to understand. Finally, teachers should appreciate that discussion of religion in the classroom may alienate those students who are being raised with no religious faith. Review Textbooks School administrators must examine the textbooks they use. For example, some (such those from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Pearson, and McGraw-Hill) contain information on Sikhs that is inaccurate and inflammatory, conflating  Sikhism with other religious traditions and extraneous reference to “Sikh terrorists.” [The Sikh Coalition, 2014] Educate Parents Parents and students need education about the range of Federal protections they have against discrimination. Many parents, students, and teachers are not fully aware of their rights to be educated in an environment free from religionbased discrimination and harassment English Learner students and their families may need extra help because language barriers may exacerbate this problem. Educators must find a way to support religious freedom in public schools that neither defines nor confines young people. When navigating the complex issue of religious freedom, teachers and school administrators must balance the constitutional mandates of separation of church and state, the right to freely exercise religion, and the right to freedom of speech. They must consider needs and rights of both the religious and the non-religious, and strive towards a vision of a pluralistic America that is open and welcoming to all groups, including religious and nonreligious minorities. * Adapted from an article written by the Anti-Defamation League of Washington, D.C. for the Center for Education Equity. Edited by Phoebe Schlanger and Susan Shaffer,MAEC REFERENCES (M. Ahussain, letter to Tom Torlakson, Superintendent, California Department of Education, August 9,2016). Retrieved from: Anti-Defamation League. (2012). Religion in the public schools. New York, NY: Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved from: Anti-Defamation League. (2016). Statistics on bullying [Fact Sheet]. Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved from: Hindu American Foundation. (2016). Classroom subjected: Bullying & bias against Hindu students in American schools [Report]. Hindu American Foundation. Retrieved from: Murphy, D. (2015, April 8). Texas teacher facing discipline for anti-Muslim handouts. New York Daily News, retrieved from: OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). (2011). Guidelines for educators on countering intolerance and discrimination against Muslims: Addressing Islamophobia through education. Warsaw, Poland: OSCE/ODIHR. Retrieved from: Rizga, K. (2016, January 26). The chilling rise of Islamophobia in our schools. Mother Jones, retrieved from: The Sikh Coalition. (2014). “Go home terrorist”: A report on bullying against Sikh-American school children. Retrieved from: Tucker, J. (2015, October 15). Study finds majority of Muslims have faced bullying at school. San Francisco Chronicle, retrieved from: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Employment Litigation Section. (Complaints Filed as of March 2000) Owen & United States v. L'Anse Area Schools [EEOS charge no. 230990772]. Retrieved from: U.S. Department of Justice. (2016). Combating religious discrimination today [Final report]. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved from: Walsh, B. (2015, October 23). Before moving to Qatar, Ahmed Mohamed gets his clock back [Video file]. MSNBC, retrieved from: Wolfpert, S. (2010, August, 19). Victims of bullying suffer academically as well, UCLA psychologists report. UCLA Newsroom, Retrieved from:

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Post Image Putting and Keeping Equity at the Center in Education: During COVID-19 and Beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the deep inequities in our society. After experiencing months of limited education, the effect on students will include extensive learning gaps, particularly for at-risk students. As we all return to school, educators need to keep equity at the center of their focus and actions.

Putting and Keeping Equity at the Center in Education:During COVID-19 and Beyond


In the past few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the deep inequities in our society. After experiencing months of limited education, the effect on students will include extensive learning gaps, particularly for at-risk students. As we all return to school, educators need to keep equity at the center of their focus and actions.

For this brief, equity is defined as: • Seeing and knowing each student as an individual, with specific assets and needs. • Determining and offering whatever is necessary for every student to thrive socially and emotionally and to meet or exceed grade level or curricular standards. Equity does not mean giving everyone the same thing. Equity means giving each student whatever resources and support they need to optimize their learning and achievement. Putting equity in the center means making all decisions based on that commitment. The State of Children in the U.S. According to the 2020 KIDS COUNT Data Book, racial inequities in child well-being persist. When the pandemic started, the nation was already failing “to provide African American, American Indian, and Latino children with the support necessary to thrive while states failed to dismantle barriers facing many children of color. Not surprisingly, nearly all index measures indicated that children with the same potential experienced disparate outcomes.” The pandemic has exacerbated existing inequities. • Some families are now out of work or under-employed. Many experience food or shelter insecurities, don’t have access to the internet, and/or don’t have access to medical care. • Other families are employed, but unable to work from home, so they cannot supervise their children’s schoolwork. • Some children are experiencing higher rates of abuse. While reports of child abuse from police and child protective services have plummeted, emergency rooms are seeing more children with very serious injuries (Schmidt & Natanson, 2020). • Some children are also witnessing increased violence at home. The UN has called domestic violence the shadow pandemic. Experience shows that “epidemics exacerbate existing inequalities, including those based on economic status, ability, age and gender.” • Significantly more people who are Black and Latinx are dying or seriously suffering from COVID-19 than White people. A recent report from The Brookings Institute concluded, “Race gaps in vulnerability to COVID-19 highlight the accumulated, intersecting inequities facing Americans of color (but especially Black people) in jobs, housing, education, criminal justice – and in health.” (Ford et al., 2020). The Impact of the Pandemic on Students Educators have long known that students can only be ready to learn when their basic needs are met. Maslow described a hierarchy of needs where basic physiological and safety needs must be addressed before higher order needs of belonging, esteem, and self actualization can be fulfilled (Maslow, 1954). When students lack adequate food and shelter, these inequities create barriers to developing self-esteem, self confidence, and achievement. All students have suffered from having missed three months of traditional schooling and are likely to miss much more. Students who are struggling or who lack the supports that their wealthier counterparts have will fall further and further behind. In addition, students who have experienced multiple adverse childhood experiences (ACES) often need additional support because they are “more likely to be chronically absent, suspended, score poorly on standardized tests, or retained in a grade level. They are likely to be over represented in special education, at times simply because schools are ill-equipped to respond to their behavioral and emotional needs” (Romero et al., 2018, p. 67; Sacks et al., 2014). PART II: PORTLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS, ME (CASE STUDY) Educators grappling with the daunting task of planning for the 2020-2021 school year face technical and adaptive issues. The technical challenge of determining the logistics of keeping students and adults safe is their first consideration. The adaptive challenge requires educators to redesign schooling to meet the diversity of today’s students and to prepare them for tomorrow’s opportunities. Now is the time to reinvent schools to keep equity at the center. Background: Portland Public Schools, Portland, ME The Center for Education Equity (CEE) at MAEC has been providing technical assistance and professional development in the Portland Public Schools (PPS) since 2018, as one of the many partners in Portland’s commitment to equity. Educators interviewed: Barrett Wilkinson, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Melea Nalli, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning/Chief Academic Officer; Aaron Townsend, Assistant Superintendent of School Management; Grace Valenzuela, Executive Director of Communications and Community Partnerships; Sarah Beam, Social Worker at Gerald E. Talbot Elementary School; and Tracy McGhie, Teacher at Ocean Avenue Elementary School. Equity as a Guiding Principle for Planning Equity is the guiding principle of everything done in the Portland Public Schools. After a series of public forums involving staff, students, parents, and other community stakeholders, the Board of Portland Public Schools approved The Portland Promise in 2017. This five-year comprehensive plan serves as a roadmap, aligning the district’s work with its mission and vision. The four goals in the Portland Promise serve as a blueprint to guide student learning: Achievement, Equity, Whole Student (social emotional health), and People (foster wellness and collective efficacy). The Portland Promise details key strategies for meeting those goals and defines the metrics they will use to measure their progress as a school district. The planning process for the coming school year models keeping equity at the center for all decisions and actions, every step of the way. One administrator shared an internal working document, 2020-2021 School Reopening Planning Update, June 2, 2020, which included a detailed summary of their work at that time. Several excerpts from this 16-page document follow, giving insight into their process and priorities. Utilizing a design-thinking process, the team has empathized with and sought input from members of the PPS community. It has researched, ideated, and prototyped an initial set of ideas the team believes might not only enable PPS to reopen its school “planfully,” but also bring us collectively closer to realizing our Promise goals. Many of the ideas have the potential to endure well beyond the pandemic. The Design Team motto of planning school reopening is ‘We have the opportunity to reimagine schools, not just adapt.’ The internal working document of June 2 included Assumptions for the Cross-Scenario Strategies to Preserve Health and Accelerated Learning. These assumptions further reflect the district’s mindset of keeping equity at the center of all decisions and action: • Through our process, we’ve discovered several core needs shared by students [and] families—particularly families further from opportunity: interpersonal connection; interactive support and guidance; choice; engagement in learning; agency; access to a safe, conducive learning environment; clear, high expectations; and a consistent learning experience. • Social Emotional Learning and Wellness is also a major need of students, families, and staff. • More students than before will not have had the opportunity to master grade level standards (as a result of the challenges of the quick remote learning transition). • Accelerated student learning occurs when educators accelerate students’ exposure to grade-level content. • Deploying consistent strategies across scenarios reflects all of our school reopening design principles. The Design Group outlined three scenarios for learning: cross, full implementation, and socially distanced. Across all possible scenarios, these strategies anchor our work toward our goals to be safe, preserve health, and accelerate learning. The safety approaches are proactive, aligned to state and CDC guidelines and take into account the developmental stages/needs of our students. The current context has provided an opportunity to reimagine how we serve our students and families; the learning strategies we’re developing reflect that. We believe these strategies will endure beyond the pandemic and will move us closer to our Promise goals—particularly our Equity Goal. We anticipate implementing the learning strategies will require a multi-year plan. The Cross-Scenario Learning Strategies: • Student Advisors • Personalized Learning Plans • Standards-based Modules • Differentiated Educator Roles and Collaboration Structures • Technology Usage • Tech Education and Support • Consistent School Structures The Superintendent sent a letter to families on June 18, 2020, detailing the planning process. Our plans are all grounded in the Portland Public Schools’ core values and align with our four Portland Promise goals. Each plan is designed to mitigate learning gaps (Equity), foster wellness and collective efficacy (People), support connectedness and social emotional health (Whole Student) and advance essential standards (Achievement). They all also prioritize our most marginalized students to ensure they can succeed in each scenario. The District put equity at the center throughout their response to the pandemic, including: • Assuring that all kids had access to food. • Distributing technology to families that didn’t have devices and/or internet access. • Creating differentiated materials for those who were learning English and struggling to access the online work. • Allocating the 5th day of the week to Tier 2 and 3 support by teachers reaching out individually to help students with work they didn’t understand. • Repurposing the last two weeks of school to be an early version of summer school (“Sun School”) for students identified by teachers as furthest behind in their learning. All teachers and staff were devoted to helping identified students reach the grade level standard during the two weeks of Sun School. The remaining categories represent many ways that Portland Public Schools are putting and keeping equity at the center. The descriptions are a compilation of the voices of the six Portland educators interviewed: Using lessons learned for planning the coming school year • Accelerating the development of Africana studies, promoted by student recommendations that the curriculum become more reflective of their culture and lived experiences. • Coordinating family outreach, so families aren’t overwhelmed by check-ins from many teachers and service providers during remote learning. • Using fewer platforms for communication so parents don’t have to learn several platforms. • Surveying parents about workload, how things were going, and their child’s level of independence; and offering Zoom follow-up meetings to answer questions. Engaging students, families, and the community • Listening to student leaders’ perspectives on racism following a Black Lives Matter protest. In partnership with Portland Empowered, all high school and district leaders listened to students via a Zoom meeting and also conducted listening sessions with students after school closed. • Working on revising the discipline policy to be more equitable, in accordance with policy recommendations from CEE and recommendations from the Family Advisory Partnership Committee. • Conducting focus groups with multilingual families, including providing translators for parents who do not speak English, to learn about their experiences and to inform Portland’s planning. • Improving communication with families by teaching educators about optimal ways to share information with families. Prioritizing budget and resources • Communicating equity as a top priority by naming the budget “Addressing the Opportunity Gap.” • Changing the school calendar and communicating with parents to explain the change in the school calendar (including a letter to parents) that explained Sun School and planning for the coming school year. • Ending the Memorandum of Understanding with the police department, which had funded the School Resource Officers at two of the city’s high schools. • Funding a program for students who are autistic. • Offering Language Academies for middle and high school students who are newcomers to the United States, to support their early English language development and their adjustment to school. • Growing a five-year plan to expand Pre-K access across the city by increasing the number of classrooms each year. Being intentional about curriculum and instruction • Continuing to develop and offer Wabanaki Studies, through the efforts of Fiona Hopper, ELL teacher, to teach history from the perspective of the indigenous experience. Collaboration includes Wabanaki leaders, Maine-Wabanaki REACH (an organization working to advance Wabanaki self-determination by strengthening the cultural, spiritual, and physical well-being of Native people in Maine), and the Abbe Museum. • Decolonizing social studies curriculum by accelerating the development of Africana studies. • Selecting and implementing the Illustrative Math program in the coming year. This program provides more opportunities for students to have conversations with peers to solve problems, which is particularly helpful for students building English language proficiency. • Selecting and implementing the Lively Letters program in the coming year. This phonics program provides direct instruction in how letter sounds are formed, which is especially helpful for students who are learning English. • Implementing a proficiency-based requirement for graduation, beginning in 2021, and continue developing and strengthening proficiency-based learning and assessment in classes. Promoting equity through professional learning • Expanding the capacity of Equity Leaders to facilitate their own and their colleagues’ deeper understanding of implicit bias. • Equity Leaders at Gerald E. Talbot Elementary School will partner with the Leadership team and administration to incorporate equity topics as part of staff development time. In addition, staff will have opportunities to engage in book groups focused on ways teachers can recognize how they can make changes to pedagogy and curriculum so all learners feel more welcome and included. Reviewing structures and policies, looking for systemic racism and other forms of discrimination, including xenophobia, homophobia, and sexism • Continuing to diversify the teaching force, including through improved hiring practices that focus on eliminating bias in hiring using the Equity Hiring Toolkit launched in 2019. • Writing and continuing to implement a school equity plan to eliminate school structures that impede students’ full access to the curriculum, to be achieved within a three-year performance goal. With so many things being done and planned in Portland, one administrator reflected on the difficulty of the work. “We are realizing that there is much more work to be done to operationalize the equity goal. It requires a shift in mindset, attitude, and heart to bring everyone along.” PART III: LEARNING FROM EDUCATORS Four Ideas to Keep Equity at the Center of Planning and Actions We feature the following schools and districts to highlight the ways they are keeping equity the focus of their planning for the 2020-2021 school year. The information is based on interviews and materials from educators in a variety of roles, including classroom teacher, equity teacher leader, principal, and central office administrator. They identify as biracial (Asian & White), Black, Latinx, Native American, and White and they are of varying ages. Their schools and districts are in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Utah. The following are quotes excerpted from the interviews. Accountability Keeps Equity at the Center Brian Yazzie, Diversity & Equity Coordinator, Provo, UT If you are White and the system you are in was designed by people who are White, it fits that group the best. But if you’re Latino, Black, Pacific Islander, Asian, Native American, or LGBTQ+, it doesn’t fit. We must develop a bridge within our community to better understand our differences between our Black, Asian, Pacific Islander, Latino, and Native American community members. We organized six multicultural advisory committees to create an opportunity for each of our ethnicities, and LGBTQ+ identification to have a voice about how we educate their children. It is not about a group of White people helping us figure out what our students of color and LGBTQ+ students need. The number one stakeholder group is parents, guardians, and caregivers; their priority is their children. They must be part of the system to tell us how we can meet the educational and social needs of their children. And we must be accountable to those folks that pay taxes and fund our district. We also created a Diversity and Equity Community Council, with representatives from non-profit organizations that serve our communities of color or who are LGBTQ+, and also including administrators, teachers, and members of each of our multicultural advisory committees: 35 in all. They are currently working on a new diversity and equity strategic plan for the district. Their plan will give guidance for everything we do in the district to ensure we’re meeting the current and future needs of our students of color or who are LGBTQ+ and our employees of color or who are LGBTQ+. You have to have the administration on board. Our Superintendent champions diversity and equity, as well as the Assistant Superintendent of Student Services who hired me. And there is support from School Board members. People are beginning to jump on board and are now beginning to think about how decisions might affect our students of color or who are LGBTQ+ and not just students as a whole. They’re not looking at students as one big group by looking at it as a melting pot. They’re beginning to understand that students of color or who are LGBTQ+ don’t need to assimilate to one system. We are beginning to embrace the salad bowl theory. All our students and families of color or who are LGBTQ+ bring an important uniqueness to our community that makes our school district more vibrant. Learning is All About Relationships Jay Midwood, Director of Strategy and Development, Central Falls, RI Our core values are equity, empowerment, and excellence. Every decision we make goes back to our core values. During COVID-19, the inequities that are deeply ingrained in society and education have pushed to the surface. Systemic racism is generations deep. We are pushing how people think and perceive. Every student and family bring a story that is essential to our success. When the pandemic started, all of us had to rethink how we reconnect with families. We are a diverse community. A lot of our kids and families require a face-to-face interaction. For our planning, the social emotional learning is even more important. The 3Rs to learning are really relationship, relationship, relationship. Students Are Our Greatest Teachers Dania Vázquez, Founding Headmaster, Margarita Muñiz Academy, Boston, MA We are a dual language high school where we learn in both Spanish and English in all content areas. The very idea of our school is racial equity. Language is really about culture and identity. We keep equity at the center in all the things we do. We focus our work on equity by asking ourselves, ‘are we are getting everyone what they need?’ We have to pay more attention to the times we all are living in. We are going to make sure that all students are registered to vote. We won’t tell them how to vote, just make sure they are registered. Those are the kind of civic actions that are really important. Although we have continuously engaged in identity and equity work as a staff, we acknowledge that we have more work ahead. We plan to create and align curriculum with students that is based on their ideas, their desires, and their curiosities. After George Floyd’s death, we held a community meeting with students and staff and explored together how this event made each of us feel. We knew that some students did go out to protest. We talked with students about how to engage in the protests in positive ways. In our conversations and community meetings, our students’ expressions were so deep. One student said, ‘What I want to know is how do I live in my skin?’ That is really profound. That’s a perfect essential question for the whole school. Our students are our greatest teachers. Equity Ambassadors Guide the Way Rachael Mahmood, Teacher and Equity Ambassador, Aurora, IL Our Executive Director of Equity, Jennifer Rowe, created a team of Equity Ambassadors, a diverse group of teachers, leaders from elementary, middle, and high school. We provide professional development and support around equity issues to district staff. We had a Black Lives Matter Summer Summit, where our team taught a variety of equity-related classes, using multiple formats, and facilitated a Young, Gifted, and Black panel of student graduates. Throughout the upcoming school year, our team will offer equity- related professional learning and book studies through our District Academy. Additionally, we will organize equity challenge weeks, and mentor teachers and provide direct support to individual schools to meet the needs of their diverse student population. We are a cohort of people to learn with and lean on as we help bring the equity lens to schools. (Teaching Tolerance has published two of Rachael’s articles, which are listed in the resource section.) One Principal’s Journey Daman Harris, Elementary Principal, Wheaton Woods Elementary School, Montgomery County, MD After reading How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X, Kendi, my understanding of who I am has changed. I realized that there are no non-racists, we are either racist or antiracist. I am a racist. When I shared that with the staff, I told them that realizing my racism has been revelatory for me and I believe that their work will be revelatory for them. We all buy into White Supremacy because it is the hardware of our society. I was really encouraged by seeing such a diverse crowd of protesters after George Floyd died; in the streets, there were young, old, and all shades of folks. Maybe this will be the time for change. Maybe this time outrage won’t fade, as it did after the Rodney King riots. I told the staff that our students have been at the bottom of every ‘good’ category and the top of every ‘bad’ category. We have to believe either that something is wrong with our kids and their families, or there is something wrong with our system when our families are always at the bottom. I believe the latter. We have changed a lot of curriculum and worked on social emotional learning and culturally responsive instruction. We have said a lot of words and done a lot of book studies, and we still get the same results. What we’ve done has been around the edges. I told the staff that this is not going to be about a good-evil dynamic. If you do something that has racist implications, it is not that you are racist and you will be thrown away. We can talk about it and we can grow from it. I am determined that the work of our school in subsequent years will be focused on antiracism. It used to be OK with me that you loved kids and wanted to do right by kids and believed that all kids can learn. That is not enough anymore. It is necessary, and it is not enough. We have to change the system. I need you not to just be an ally. You need to be a co-conspirator. We are going to need coconspirators to work to change the system. We are going to do this work. Get on board with me. Conclusion In 2008, José Juan Romero SJ noted that the Chinese word for crisis is composed of two characters: danger and opportunity. It may mean that in “every crisis lies an opportunity.” In Greek, the word “crisis” means “to sift” or “to separate”; when passing judgment, keep only what is worthwhile. There is an opportunity in every crisis, and the deeper the crisis, the better the opportunity. The Council of Chief State School Officers agrees: “This moment is challenging but brings the opportunity to reflect honestly on how education systems have not served students in the past and to create a new normal—a systemic and sustainable approach with equity at the center.” The call to action for educators now embodies the commitment John Lewis made 57 years ago during the March on Washington, when he said, ‘Our minds, souls, and hearts cannot rest until freedom and justice exist for all the people.’ MAEC believes that to “achieve educational equity, efforts must be intentional, accountable, and contextual. This goal requires an examination of systemic policies and practices, school climate, student access to support for rigorous curriculum, and teaching and learning.” How will your plans for the coming school year reflect intentionality and accountability within your context? We welcome hearing from you about your endeavors. Written by Susan Villiani, Senior Program Associate, WestEd Discussion Questions 1. Peter Levine suggests that educators could “think of equity as equal care for the people we personally affect.” How does this compare with the definition of equity presented at the beginning of this brief? Has either definition affected the way you think about equity? 2. Denisha Jones wrote, “I was immediately intrigued by the idea of applying Maslow’s theory to a school, especially if this new application would provide an additional way to measure school equity. So, I created a new pyramid of hierarchy needs but identified how each need applied to schools. The needs remain the same, but instead of focusing on the individual, we now examine the school to determine if it is providing the environment and experiences that will allow children to successfully have their needs met. In many ways, this new view of a hierarchy of needs shifts from what could be a deficit view of children (e.g., the child lacks self-esteem and cannot learn) and moves to an emphasis on how the school culture impacts a child’s ability to thrive (e.g., the school values and respects all students).” Review the growth needs in the Jones framework. To what extent does your school address those needs? What areas need to be improved? 3. Glenn Singleton advocates for districts moving beyond random acts of equity: “Systemic transformation for racial equity is not merely a statistical exercise or response to external pressures...It must be grounded in intentional efforts to create and sustain a culture and climate in which all stakeholders, especially traditionally marginalized Black, Brown and Indigenous employees, students, and communities discover and produce through their most empowered selves. This requires that all stakeholders acknowledge the omnipresent role of race in all aspects of schooling. Leadership must lead. Systemic equity transformation requires a shift in the organizational culture and climate of school systems and schools. That shift must flow from the highest-ranking leadership to and between staff in all divisions of the district. Achieving racial equity in education is an unapologetically topdown process of boards of education, superintendents, and school leadership” (Singleton, 2018). What do you think about Singleton’s assertion that transformation be top-down? 4. In Restart and Recovery, The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) proposed that school communities must build conditions for healing and learning that promote reliable, responsive relationships; offer inclusive, safe school climates; and provide for rich, rigorous instructional supports regardless of whether learning is in-person, remote, or hybrid. What do you think about planning to provide conditions for healing and learning before instructional planning?   Resources • The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is closely monitoring developments and supporting states in their preparedness and response efforts. • Teaching and Learning Guidance Overview (May 28, 2020) • Serving English Language Learners During COVID-19 (June 8, 2020) • Supporting SEL and Mental Health During COVID-19 (June 10, 2020) • Serving Students with Disabilities During COVID-19 (June 11, 2020) • Addressing the Digital Learning Gap (June 18, 2020) • Supporting Continuity of Health Services (June 25, 2020) • CCSSO Restart & Recovery Framework and Tools • MAEC Equity Audits • MAEC Data Inquiry Guide to Identify and Address Equity Gaps. Forthcoming in 2020. • MAEC Getting Started with Restorative Practices to build community and positive school climate. Forthcoming in 2020. • Hammond, Z.L. (2015). Culturally responsive teaching and the brain: Promoting authentic engagement and rigor among culturally and linguistically diverse student. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. • Kendi, Ibram X. (2019) How to be an antiracist. New York: Penguin Random House • Mahmood, Rachael. (2020) Teaching Tolerance. • Rethinking Family Engagement During School Closures: • Online Reaching Can Be Culturally Responsive: • Singleton, G.L. (2006). Courageous conversations about race. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. References Duncombe, W.D., Lukemeyer, A., & Yinger, J. (2004, March 1). Education Finance Reform in New York: Calculating the Cost of a 'Sound Basic Education' in New York City. Retrieved from SSRN: Felitti, V. J., Anda, R. F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D. F., Spitz, A. M., Edwards, V., Marks, J. S. (1998). Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults [Abstract]. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14(4), 245-258. doi:10.1016/s0749-3797(98)00017-8. Retrieved from Ford, T., Reber, S., and Reeves, R.V. (June 16, 2020). Race gaps in COVID-19 deaths are even bigger than they appear. Brookings Institute. Retrieved from Gleason, S. & Gerzon, N. (2013) Growing into Equity. Thousand Oaks, CA. Corwin. Jones, D. (2017). Applying Maslow to Schools: A New Approach to Equity. Retrieved from Levine, P. (May 14, 2020). Educational Equity During A Pandemic. Retrieved from Maslow, A. H. (1954). Motivation and personality. Harpers. Romero, V.E., Robertson, R., & Warner, A. (2018). Building resilience in students impacted by adverse childhood experiences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Sacks, V., Murphey, D., & Moore, K. (2014). Adverse childhood experiences: National and state level prevalence. Retrieved from Schmidt, S., & Natanson, H. (2020, April 30). With kids stuck at home, ER doctors see more severe cases of child abuse. The Washington Post. Retrieved from Shanker Institute (2020). Teaching and Learning During a Pandemic Series. Singleton, G.L. Beyond random acts of equity Courageous conversation about transforming systemic culture. The Learning Professional October 2018, Vol. 39 No. 5, p. 30-31. Taylor, L., Willis, J., Berg-Jacobson, A., Jacquet, K., & Caparas, R. (2018). Estimating the Costs Associated with reaching student achievement expectations for Kansas Public Education Students. San Francisco: WestEd. The Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2020). 2020 KIDS COUNT Data Book. Baltimore, MD. Retrieved from United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) (2020). COVID-19 and ending violence against women and girls. Retrieved from Acknowledgements With gratitude to the following people for speaking about their work and sharing materials: • Sarah Beam, Social Worker, Portland Public Schools, Portland, Maine • Daman Harris, Elementary Principal, Montgomery County, Maryland • Rachael Mahmood, Teacher and Equity Ambassador in Aurora, Illinois • Tracy McGhie, Teacher, Portland Public Schools, Portland, Maine • Jay Midwood, Director of Strategy and Development, Central Falls, Rhode Island • Melea Nalli, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning/ Chief Academic Officer, Portland Public Schools, Portland, Maine • Aaron Townsend, Assistant Superintendent of School Management, Portland Public Schools, Portland, Maine • Grace Valenzuela, Executive Director of Communications and Community Partnerships, Portland Public Schools, Portland, Maine • Dania Vázquez, Headmistress of the Margarita Muñiz Academy, Boston, Massachusetts • Barrett Wilkinson, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Portland Public Schools, Portland, Maine • Brian Yazzie, Diversity and Equity Coordinator, Provo Public Schools, Provo, Utah

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Post Image Race and Racism: Encouraging Understanding and Dialogue to Support the Healthy Development of Students

There has been an increase in the number of incidences regarding racism and bigotry. Educators may not be equipped to help children process these events and make sense of the changing world around them. In this webinar, educators and parents will gain an understanding of how the construct of race is developed in young children. They will also be provided with strategies for discussing race and incidents of bias with students. The webinar will also review the role that educators play in providing a safe environment for children to explore their differences in a positive way. Learning Outcomes In this webinar participants will:

  • Learn how children develop racial awareness and develop attitudes of race.
  • Identify strategies that parents can employ to support children dealing with issues of race.
  • Gain an understanding about anti-bias training for different age groups.
  • Learn best practices for bringing stakeholders together to support the positive social emotional development of students.
  • Maria (Charo) del Rosario Basterra,Vice President, Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium
  • Karmen Rouland, Associate Director,Center for Education Equity, Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium
  • Jinnie Spiegler, Director of Curriculum, Anti-Defamation League
  • Jason Sirois, Director, No Place for Hate,Anti-Defamation League
Download Video of Race and Racism: Encouraging Understanding and Dialogue to Support the Healthy Development of Students from MAEC.

Post Image Racial Identity, Academic Identity, and Academic Outcomes for Students of Color

Part of CEE’s Exploring Equity Issues series, this brief discusses the strong relationship between identity construction in academics and academic achievement. Educators can support students as they develop their identities and leverage it to improve academic outcomes. We provide research on identity theory and strategies educators can use in the classroom to meet the needs of their students.

Racial Identity, Academic Identity, and Academic Outcomes for Students of Color

Experts in psychology and education have shown a strong relationship between identity construction in academics and academic achievement. Studies show that students’ academic self-perceptions in math and science relate to academic performance (Bouchey & Harter, 2005); students’ perceptions of their academic identities relate to their college aspirations (Howard, 2003); and identity matters in the books students choose to read (McCarthey & Moje, 2002; Williams, 2004). Studies also show the effect of self-concept on motivation (particularly engagement and learning in the classroom) and on grades (Choi, 2005; Linnenbrink & Pintrich, 2003). This brief focuses on the racial component of one’s identity and how educators can support students as they develop their identities and leverage it to improve academic outcomes. PART I: RACIAL AND ACADEMIC IDENTITY Identity is essentially the answer to the question “who am I?” A person constructs his or her identity throughout life. It is comprised of religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, economic background, and a host of other factors. In identity theory, an identity is “the categorization of the self as an occupant of a role and an incorporation of the meanings and expectations associated with that role and its performance” (Stets & Burke, 2000). Many factors influence the ways in which adolescents view themselves (Fairbanks & Broughton, 2003). The cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds of students play an integral role in their beliefs, practices, and expectations for education (Boykin & Toms, 1985). Aspects of an academic identity and an academic self-concept are strongly related to and have an effect on the academic performance of students. Awareness of race and the ways in which structural/institutional racism affects students of color is key to helping them achieve their full academic potential (Howard, 2010). Academic identity (or academic self concept) has been generally defined as how we see ourselves in an academic domain. Academic identity is a dimension of a larger, global selfconcept (Howard, 2003). Moreover, a student’s academic identity can affect how he or she navigates the school environment. It influences behaviors and choices that students make which affect their educational outcomes. These student outcomes include achievement, academic performance, intellectual engagement, disidentification/ identification, goal orientation/learning goals, educational and occupational aspirations, and motivation. It is important for educators to have an understanding of how race and culture manifest in education and how race shapes how students see their worlds. On November 13, 2017, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) released data from the 2016 Universal Crime Report Hate Crime Statistics program. In 2016, there were 6,063 single-bias incidents reported to law enforcement agencies. Of that number, approximately 58% were motivated by bias due to race, ethnicity, or ancestry. And 9.9% of these issues occurred at a school or college. While not all incidents of bias are classified as hate crimes, they occur much too often to be ignored. This pattern of racial and cultural bias influences how students shape their world view and impacts their concept of self and academic identity. As educators, we must understand a student’s academic self-concept because it can explain their orientation to school (Plucker & Stocking, 2001). School factors help shape a student’s self-constructed perceptions; for students of color in particular, academic identity is hard to separate from racial and gender identities (Howard, 2003). Leveraging racial identity and racial/cultural awareness may be one way that educators can help meet the varied needs of students. Person environment fit and self-determination theory provide a framework which suggests that certain student needs  should be met in order for students to be engaged and motivated in school. As children develop, their needs change and the educational environment (including instructional practices and classroom structure) must shift to meet their needs. Numerous studies conducted between 1992 and 2001 illuminate how multicultural learning and teaching help foster positive classroom behavior and superior academic achievement for students of color (Allen & Boykin, 1992; Banks, 1993; Ladson-Billings, 1994; Lee, 2001). PART II: WHAT CAN WE DO? USE CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE INSTRUCTIONAL PRACTICES Researchers and educators have looked to the role of cultural background, beliefs, and practices in student achievement. In particular, they have stressed culture as a primary link for understanding the academic performance of African American students (e.g., Boykin, 2002; Rogoff, 2003). To enhance the academic outcomes of this population, the curriculum and instructional strategies in public schools should begin to reflect students’ out-of-school cultural experiences (Foster, Lewis, &  Onafowora, 2003; Wong & Rowley, 2001). Educators can improve cultural continuity between their students’ home and school experiences by identifying and activating student strengths or situating learning in the lives of students and their families. These strategies can be implemented in a number of ways such as incorporating multicultural books in instructional practices or teaching content by using issues in the students’ community. LEAD BY EXAMPLE Racial identity has also been deemed an asset in helping students of color negotiate “exposure to risk associated with racial injustice” (Neblett, RivasDrake, & Umana-Taylor, 2012; Zimmerman, Stoddard, Eisman, Caldwell, Aiyer, & Miller, 2013). For students of color, racial identity can serve as a protective and promotive factor of achievement-related outcomes (Oyserman, 2003; Rowley, 1998; Sellers, Caldwell, Schmeelk-Cone, & Zimmerman, 2003; Wong & Rowley, 2001). One way that educators can help their students is to acknowledge the socio-political and historical role that race has played in the United States. UNDERSTAND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MOTIVATION, IDENTITY, AND ACADEMIC OUTCOMES Self-determination theory is based on the idea that people have intrinsic propensities to engage in active, curiosity-based exploration and to integrate new experiences into the self (Hadre & Reeve, 2003; Ryan & Deci, 2002; Skinner & Edge, 2002). This intrinsic motivation and self-regulation leads to positive outcomes such as achievement in school, better decision-making, and goal-setting behaviors. It occurs when certain psychological needs are met: the need for competence, the need for relatedness, and the need for autonomy. Competence refers to feeling capable to complete a task. Relatedness refers to a sense of belonging to the environment. Autonomy is the need for independence and the need to make choices. Educators can meet the three psychological needs in a number of ways. To satisfy the need for competence, educators can provide students with tasks that they have the skills to complete. Educators can build upon these tasks, as the level of rigor increases, so that students feel capable of completing. To satisfy the need for relatedness, educators can provide students with opportunities to work collaboratively and share their interests and goals with one another. In addition, elevating and utilizing student voice and input increases their sense of relatedness to the environment. To satisfy the need for autonomy, educators can help students by enhancing their opportunities for decision-making and with setting goals. These psychological needs moderate the relationships between risk factors and outcomes for African American students. Students may internalize negative beliefs about their racial group, which may negatively affect their performance in school. This is known as Claude Steele’s notion of stereotype threat (Steele & Aronson, 1995). The process of internalization, a tenet of self-determination theory, occurs because students begin to identify with and internalize messages they receive in their environment. Stigmatized individuals internalize messages and beliefs associated with their group stigma. When educators meet these needs, students become more engaged and feel more self-determined. By understanding the role of racial identity and academic identity in the lived experiences of students of color, educators can recognize the underlying mechanisms between motivation, engagement, and school outcomes and reduce bias in the classroom and in schools. Written by Karmen Rouland PhD. REFERENCES Allen, B. A. and Boykin, A. W. (1992). African American children and the educational process: Alleviating cultural discontinuity through prescriptive pedagogy. School Psychology Review, 21(4), 586-596. Banks, J. A. (1993). Multicultural education: Historical development, dimension, and practice. Review of Research in Education, 19, 3-49. DOI: Bouchey, H. A. & Harter, S. (2005). Reflected appraisals, academic self-perceptions, and math/science performance during early adolescence. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97(4), 673-686. DOI: 10.1037/0022-0663.97.4.673 Boykin, A. W. (2002). Integrity-based schooling strategies: Promoting the talent development philosophy. Unpublished manuscript. Boykin, A. W. & Toms, F. D. (1985). Black child socialization: A conceptual framework. In H. P. McAdoo and J. L. McAdoo (Eds.), Black children: Social, educational, and parental environments (pp. 33-51). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Chavous, T M. (2000). The relationships among racial identity, perceived ethnic fit, and organizational involvement for African American students at a predominantly White university. Journal of Black Psychology, 26(1), 79-100. DOI: 10.1177/0095798400026001005 Choi, N. (2005). Self-efficacy and self-concept as predictors of college students’ academic performance. Psychology in the Schools, 42(2), 197-205. DOI: 10.1002/pits.20048 Fairbanks, C. M., & Broughton, M. A. (2003). Literacy lessons: The convergence of expectations, practices, and classroom culture. Journal of Literacy Research, 34(4), 391-428. DOI:10.1207/s15548430jlr3404_2 Ferguson, R. F. (2003). Teachers' perceptions and expectations and the Black-White test score gap. Urban Education, 38(4), 460-507. DOI: 10.1177/0042085903038004006 Foster, M., Lewis, J. & Onafowora, L. (2003). Anthropology, culture and research on teaching and learning: Applying what we have learned to improve practice. Teachers College Record,105(2), 261-277. Hadre, P. L. and Reeve, J. (2003) A motivational model of rural students’ intentions to persist in, versus drop out of, high school. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(2), 347-356. DOI: 10.1037/0022-0663.95.2.347 Howard, T. C. (2003). “A tug of war for our minds:” African American high school students’ perceptions of their academic identities and college aspirations. High School Journal, 87(1), 4-17. DOI: 10.1353/hsj.2003.0017 Howard, T. (2010). Why race and culture matter in schools: Closing the achievement gap in America’s classrooms. New York: Teachers College Press. Ladson-Billings, G. (1994). The dreamkeepers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishing Co. Lee, C.D. (2001). Is October Brown Chinese? A cultural modeling activity system for underachieving students. American Educational Research Journal, 38(1), 97-142. DOI: 10.3102/00028312038001097 Linnenbrink, E. A., & Pintrich, P. R. (2003). The role of self-efficacy beliefs in student engagement and learning in the classroom. Reading and Writing Quarterly, 19(2), 119-137. DOI: 10.1080/10573560308223 McCarthey, S. J. & Moje, E. B. (2002). Identity matters. Reading Research Quarterly, 37(2), 228-238. DOI: 10.1598/RRQ.37.2.6 Neblett, E. W., Rivas-Drake, D., & Umana-Taylor, A. J. (2012). The promise of racial and ethnic protective factors in promoting ethnic minority youth development. Child DevelopmentPerspectives, 6(3), 295-303. DOI: 10.1111/j.1750-8606.2012.00239.x Oyserman, D., Bybee, D., & Terry, K. (2003). Gendered racial identity and involvement with school. Self and Identity, 2(4), 307-324. DOI: 10.1080/714050250 Plucker, J. A. & Stocking, V. B. (2001). Looking outside and inside: Self-concept development of gifted adolescents. Exceptional Children, 67(4), 535-548. DOI: 10.1177/001440290106700407 Rogoff, B. (2003). The cultural nature of cognitive development. Oxford University Press: New York. Rowley, S. J., Sellers, R. M., & Chavous, T. M. (1998). The relationship between racial identity and self esteem in African American college and high school students. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(3), 715-724. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.74.3.715 Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2002). An overview of Self-determination Theory: An organismic-dialectical perspective. In E. L. Deci & R. M. Ryan (Eds.), Handbook of self-determination research. 3-33. Rochester, NY: The University of Rochester Press. Sellers, R. M., Caldwell, C. H., Schmeelk-Cone, K. H., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2003). Racial identity, racial discrimination, perceived stress, and psychological distress among African American young adults. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 44(3), 302 – 317. Skinner, E. A., & Edge, K. (2002). Parenting, motivation, and the development of children's coping. In L. J. Crockett (Ed.), Agency, motivation, and the life course: The Nebaska symposium on motivation, Vol. 48 (pp. 77-143). Lincoln, NE: University Of Nebraska Press. Steele, C. M. & Aronson, J. (1995). Stereotype threat and the intellectual test performance of African Americans. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69(5), 797-811. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.69.5.797 Stets, J. E., & Burke, P. J. (2000). Identity theory and social identity theory. Social Psychology Quarterly, 63, 224-237. DOI: 10.2307/2695870. Williams, B. T. (2004). Heroes, rebels, and victims: Student identities in literacy narratives. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 47(4), 342-345. Wong, C. A. & Rowley, S. J. (2001). The schooling of ethnic minority children: Commentary. Educational Pscyhologist, 36(1), 57-66. DOI: 10.1207/S15326985EP3601_6 Zimmerman, M. A., Stoddard, S. A., Eisman, A. B., Caldwell, C. H., Aiyer, S. M., Miller, A. (2013). Adolescent resilience: Promotive factors that inform prevention. Child Development Perspectives, 7(4), 215-220. DOI: 10.1111/cdep.12042.

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Post Image Racial Parity: The Need for a Diverse Teacher Workforce

What's the likelihood that a student of color will have the opportunity to learn from a teacher of color? Currently, teachers of color make up approximately 18% of the United States’ total teaching force. Students of color make up 54% of the total student population. Jacob Easley II, Ph.D., describes the state of teacher diversity in public schools and gives us strategies on how to recruit a diverse workforce.

Racial Parity: The Need for a Diverse Teacher Workforce

PART 1:  WHAT WE KNOW Currently, teachers of color make up approximately 18% of the United States’ total teaching force (Camera, 2018; Digest of Education Statistics, 2014). Students of color make up 54% of the total student population (Digest of Education Statistics, 2017). For all students to succeed, we must achieve parity between our nation’s teaching force and its diverse student population. Dilworth and Coleman, writing on behalf of the National Education Association (NEA) in 2014, state: “A teaching force that represents the nation’s racial, ethnic, and linguistic cultures and effectively incorporates this background and knowledge to enhance students’ academic achievement is advantageous to the academic performance of students of all backgrounds, and for students of color specifically.” Thus, racial parity is part and parcel of a greater commitment to equity—equitable composition and cultural representation, equitable access to a high quality and effective education, and equitable learning outcomes for PK-12 students of color that have long been marginalized. Good teachers understand that positive academic outcomes result from a strong social and emotional foundation developed by classroom relationships between teacher and student and internalized by the learner. This is especially true for learners who have experienced limited success in school, struggled academically, or felt marginalized. Teacher workforce parity advances the scope of cultural competence, belonging, and dignity needed to maximize the benefits of diversity in US schools. Data suggest that compared with their peers, teachers of color are more likely to have higher expectations of students of color, as measured by higher numbers of referrals to gifted programs, for example (Grissom & Redding, 2016). Teachers of color are positioned to serve as role models. They are suited to confront issues of racism, serve as advocates and cultural brokers, and develop more trusting relationships with students who share the same or similar cultural background (Villegas & Irvine, 2010). Furthermore, Cherng and Halpin (2016) note that students of all races are reported to hold more favorable perceptions of teachers of color compared to their White teachers, e.g., students believe non-White teachers hold higher academic standards and provide relevant support. Research shows that teachers of color have a positive effect on students’ executive function, sense of well-being, belongingness, and other attributes (sometimes referred to as passive benefits). Gershenson, Hart, Linday, and Papageorge (2017) researched students entering third grade and recorded their educational trajectories through senior year in high school. Their findings indicate that for Black male students exposed to at least one same-race teacher in grades 3 through 5, their long-run academic attainment increased, especially for lowincome students. For both low-income Black male and female high school graduates, having at least one Black teacher in elementary school increased their postsecondary expectations to attend college. The findings further indicate a positive effect for reducing Black male dropout rates in response to having at least one Black teacher in grades 3 through 5. Greater diversity of the teacher workforce leverages the opportunity for the advancement of cultural congruence between the school’s curriculum and thelived experiences of students. The result is a culture of deep learning, a learning system that encourages learners to “develop their own visions about what it means to connect and flourish in their constantly emerging world, and equip them with the skills to pursue those visions” (Fullan and Langworthy, 2013). This vantage of authentic and deep learning results from “cultural synchronicity,” the shared cultural experiences between teachers and students (Irvine, 1988; Villegas & Irvine, 2010). Cultural synchronicity shapes the curricula, pedagogy, and school culture to allow historically underserved learners to unlock the merits of education in ways not possible before. Taking its cue from research on the positiveimpact of teacher diversity on PK-12 student learning and development and on the overarching need to equitably address the changing demographics of the country’s classrooms, many public and private entities have taken up the challenge to diversify the teacher pipeline. The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) recently partnered with nine states to launch the Diverse and Learner-Ready Teachers Initiative to provide equitable learning for all students by ensuring all teachers are prepared to meet the needs of every learner in their classrooms. One action item is to build a diverse teacher workforce. CCSSO identified several barriers. These are not mutually exclusive, nor germane only to the work of CCSSO, but reflect challenges faced by all involved in growing a diverse teacher workforce: cost of college and/or licensure, difficulties completing college, insufficient preparation, and challenging teaching conditions (CCSSO, 2018). PART II: WHAT CAN WE DO? RECRUITING DIVERSE TEACHERS Adopt service scholarship and loan forgiveness programs. Hansen, Quintero, & Feng (2018) conducted research on the correlation between financial incentives and teacher diversity. Their findings indicate that district loan forgiveness resulted in a nearly 4 percentage point increase in teachers of color hired. For example, the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program aimed to attract teachers for the fields of science,technology, and engineering, mathematics (STEM), and special education. The legislative-sponsored program offers up to $8,250 per year in forgivable loans to be paid back over 10 years (Stancill, 2017). From 1986 to 2015, the program recruited nearly 11,000 new teachers, with an aim to attract at least 20 percent teacher aspirants from underrepresented populations (Public School Forum of North Carolina, 2016).  Programs targeted at the development of local talents such as high school students, local employees like Paraprofessionals and Teacher Aides, and local community members are often referred to as “grow your own.” The aim is to mobilize local resources. Many programs seek to meet the demand for qualified teachers in hard-to-fill areas with prospective teachers who know the communities they are to serve. According to a study by Reininger (2012), most participants are local, living within 20 miles of the high school they attended. Participants continue their training through district, state, and or university coursework to meet requirements for state teacher licensure. For example, the Increase Teachers of ColorAct created provisions to expand funding to “grow your own” programs throughout Minneapolis, as well as to continue the collaborative urban educator program (Minnesota Department of Education, n.d.). The legislation increased service loan forgiveness from $1,000 to $2,000 annually and clarified the provision for signing bonuses to teachers of underrepresented groups via the Alternate Teacher Pay System. The specific short-term goals are to double the percentage of American Indian teachers in the state from 4 percent to 8 percent by 2020, and to increase the overall number of ethnically diverse candidates in teacher preparation programs from 9 percent to 20 percent. The Connecticut RESC Alliance (2011) reports on the High School Teacher Cadet Program of North Carolina as one of the most cited and replicated “grow your own” programs. Beginning in 1986, more than 60,000 students have participated in the program (Teacher Cadets, n.d.a). Participants include high school students. While the program seeks to recruit diverse candidates, the primary restrictions are the maintenance of a minimum 3.0 GPA, usefully complete coursework, field experience, and other assessments relevant to the profession of teaching. Data from the 2017- 2018 cohort reveal a 32.6 percent participation rate among cadets of color (Teacher Cadets, n.d.b). Several teacher recruitments targeting men of color, Black men in particular, have grown to earn prominence. Call Me Mister (Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effectiveness Role Models) was established at Clemson University (South Carolina) in 2000. The program provides tuition assistance though loan forgiveness to freshmen men of color pursuing designated degrees leading to a teaching career. The program also provides academic supports, mentorship, and job placement assistance. In 2015, New York City set a goal to recruit 1,000 additional male teachers of color by 2018. NYC Men Teach is a partnership between The Young Men’s Initiative, the Department of Education, City University of New York, the Center for Economic Opportunity, and Teach for America. Based out of the City University of New York, the program offers financial incentives to participants, along with a metro card, a dedicated counselor, assistance with certification preparation and costs, and other benefits. All participants are required to attend a semester-long seminar focused on culturally-responsive education (City University of New York, n.d.). Students begin to consider future professions more concretely in high school. In a pilot study of high school students of color from a New England metropolitan school district, students reported their perceptions on the value of teaching as a profession, as well as factors that would or would not make teaching an attractive profession for them (Easley, II., J., Moorehead, Gordon, Wickramasinghe, & Rosas, 2017). High school students indicated that working in a school among culturally diverse peers would make the teaching profession more attractive. The status of teacher diversity and culturally astute school renewal today directly affects the teacher pipeline of tomorrow. We need to encourage these students to view teaching as an exciting and admirable goal. They are the future of the teacher workforce. Adapted from an article written by Jacob Easley II, Ph.D. REFERENCES  Camera, L. (2018, March 28). States to Prioritize Hiring Teachers of Color. Retrieved from Cherng, H. Y. S., & Halpin, P. F. (2016). The importance of minority teachers: Student perceptions of minority versus white teachers. Educational Researcher, 45(7). 407-420. DOI: 10.3102/0013189X16671718. City University of New York. (n.d.). NYC men teach. New York: Author. Retrieved from Council of Chief State School Officers [CCSSO]. (2018, July 31). Using school leaders to build a diverse teacher workforce. Webinar retried from Digest of Education Statistics, 2014. (n.d.). Retrieved from Digest of Education Statistics, 2017. (n.d.). Retrieved from Dilworth, M. E., & Coleman, M. J. (2014). Time for a change: Diversity in teaching revisited. Washington,DC: National Education Association. Easley, J. II., Moorehead, T., Gordon, O., Wickramasinghe, C., Rojas, A. P. (2017). Minority teacher recruitment: A root cause analysis in Connecticut. Willimantic, CT: Eastern Connecticut State University. Fullan, M., & Langworthy, M. (2013). Towards a new end: New pedagogies for deep learning. Seattle, WA: Collaborative Impact. Gershenson, S., Hart., C. M.D., Linday, C. A., Papageorge, N. W. (2017). The long-run impact of same-race teachers. IZA Institute of Labor Economics. Bonn: Germany. Griffin, A., Tackie, H. (2016). Through our eyes: Perspectives and reflections from Black teachers. Washington, DC: The Education Trust. Grissom, J. A., & Redding, C. (2016). Discretion and disproportionality: Explaining the underrepresentation of high-achieving students of color in gifted program. AERA Open, 2(1), 1-25. DOI:10.1177/2332858415622175 Hansen, M., Quintero, D., & Feng, L. (2018). Can money attract more minorities into the teaching profession? Washington, DC: Brookings Institution. Hudson, T. L. (2017). Why teach? What motivates African American males to choose teaching as a career? (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from (1458). Irvine, J. J. (1988). An analysis of the problem of the disappearing Black educator. Elementary School Journal, 88(5), 503–514. Minnesota Department of Education. (n.d.). Increase Teachers of Color Act. Retrieved from Organisation for Economic Cooperative Development. (2018). The future of education and skills education 2030: The future we want. Paris, France: Author. Pew Research Center. (2015). Modern Immigration Wave Brings 59 Million to US, Driving Population Growth and Change Through 2065: Views of immigrations’s impact on U.S. society mixed. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from Public School Forum of North Carolina. (2016). A legacy of inspired educators: A report on the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program, 1986–2015. Raleigh, NC: Public School Forum of North Carolina.Retrieved from Reininger, M. (2012). Hometown disadvantage? It depends on where you’re from: Teachers’ location preferences and the implications for staffing schools. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. 34, 127-145. DOI: 10.3102/0162373711420864 Stancill, J. (2017, November 16). Want to be a teacher? These 5 NC colleges were chosen for new teaching fellows program. The News & Observer. Retrieved from Su, Z. (1997). Teaching as a profession and as a career: Minority candidates’ perspectives. Teaching and Teacher Education, 13(3), 325-340. doi: 10.1016/S0742-051X(96)00021- 2. Taie, S., and Goldring, R. (2018). Characteristics of Public Elementary and Secondary School Teachers in the United States: Results From the 2015–16 National Teacher and Principal Survey First Look (NCES 2017-072rev). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from Teacher Cadets. (n.d.a). Overview. Retrieved from Teacher Cadets. (n.d.b). Overview: Real-time data for South Carolina Teacher Cadets. Retrieved from Tough, P. (2012). How children succeed: Grit, curiosity, and the hidden power of character. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Hartcourt. U.S. Department of Education. (2016). The state of racial diversity in the educator workforce. Washington, D.C.: Author. Villegas, A. M., & Irvine, J. J. (2010). Diversifying the teaching force: An examination of major arguments. The Urban Review, 42, 175-192. DOI:10.1007/s11256-010-0150-1

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Post Image Recruiting and Retaining Millennial Teachers of Color in Our Classrooms: Challenges and Efforts to Foster Improvement

"Our public school populations will become majority minority in a decade or so. It is critical that classrooms have effective teachers that reflect the spectrum of diversity that exists in our world." Continuing the discussion raised in Part I, Zollie Stevenson, Jr., PhD identifies how some school working conditions may be driving teachers of color to leave the profession. He includes what's been done to address this on the legislative level and gives suggestions on how districts can reverse this trend.

Recruiting and Retaining Millennial Teachers of Color in Our Classrooms: Challenges and Efforts to Foster Improvement

PART 1: BACKGROUND In 2012 there were approximately 80 million millennials and about 70 million baby boomers (Schawbel, 2012). Schawbel estimates that by 2025 three of four workers will be of the millennial generation. By 2041, which is during the lifetime of most millennials, America’s population is projected to become majority Brown and Black (Kundu, 2014). Already in 2019, teachers of color are underrepresented in our K-12 classrooms and are leaving those classrooms to pursue more lucrative and less stressful work experiences. The retention of millennial teachers of color in the public school systems is often stymied by systemic factors that exist in the licensing, preparation, hiring processes, working conditions, and lack of autonomy of teachers of color in schools. Why is it important to have millennial teachers of color in K-12 classrooms? Egalite, Kisida, andWinters (2015) found that when students and teachers are of the same race, student achievement, as measured by test scores, improves, particularly at the elementary level. It is critical that classrooms have effective teachers that reflect the spectrum of diversity that exists in our world. Exposure to teachers of color in school settings is especially important as diverse teachers provide all children with models of commitment and achievement (Egalite et al., 2015). Several factors have an impact on the recruitment and retention of millennial teachers of color: hiring and placement practices; school working conditions, and state legislative actions. Disproportionality has been found to exist in the selection and placement of millennial teachers of color in schools. This opinion is supported by the work of D’Amico, Pawlewicz, Earley, and McGeehan (2017) as well as Klein (2017). Black teacher candidates simply are not hired in the same proportions as White teacher candidates. Moreover, when teachers of color are hired, they are often placed in the most challenging settings and circumstances. (Klein, 2017; D’Amico et al., 2017; Ingersoll & May, 2011). D’Amico et al., (2017) analyzed the extent to which race was associated with principals’ hiring decisions in a large district, including the rates at which Black and White candidates applied for teaching positions, the rates at which they are hired, and the demographics of the school district (Ingersoll & May, 2011). They found that Black candidates were less likely to receive a job offer. When Black teachers were offered teaching positions, they were most often placed in struggling schools with large marginalized and/or poor populations. Klein (2017) has focused on the role of racial/ethnic discrimination in the hiring process used by many school districts in the selection of millennial teachers of color. She cites teacher employment data for an unnamed school district in 2012 in which Black and White teacher applicants were equally qualified to teach but White teachers received a disproportionate number of jobs offers. She further found that, “[a]lthough 13 percent of job applicants were black, only 6 percent received offers. On the other hand, 70 percent of applicants were white, and 77 percent received offers. Black teachers disproportionately received job offers from schools with black principals. Black teachers were also disproportionately hired in schools with high rates of low-income and minority students. Hispanic and Asians candidates were hired at a proportional rate to the number of applicants, making the imbalance unique to black teachers” (Klein, 2017). National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) survey findings reported by Aragon (2016) reveal that teachers of color leave their schools at higher rates than non-White teachers. Teachers of color self-reported that they are disproportionally assigned to schools with high percentages of students of color, high percentages of socio-economically disadvantaged students, and limited resources(Ingersoll & May, 2011). Attrition rates for teachers of color can be attributed, according to White (2015), to three policy-related sources: school and student characteristics, school working conditions, and accountability mandates and sanctions. Ingersoll and May (2011) concurred that organizational conditions, such as the level of teacher involvement in decision-making and the individual classroom autonomy, were more significant factors in teacher turnover than were salary or professional development. Boyd, Grossman, Ing, Lankford, and Wyckoff (2010) studied the influence of school administrators on first-year teachers’ decisions to remain teaching within the context of multiple measures. The authors found that working conditions (work environment, safety, infrastructure, etc.) and administrative support were important in the retention of teachers. In terms of relative risk factors, ineffective administration was statistically significant for first-year teachers who left the school district or transferred to another school in the district. The study noted that it was not the student composition of the schools but the quality of school leadership and its engagement with and support of faculty in the school that made a difference in whether teachers stayed or left. The climate/culture of schools that are racially/ethnically diverse can play a role in the comfort level of teachers of color who cross all the hurdles to be employed as teachers. Teachers of color sometimes find themselves in positions that require them to engage in policies with which they do not agree, or policies that affect themselves or their students negatively (French, 2017).French cited antiquated policies and  the absence of resources as factors that teachers cited as the basis for their dissatisfaction and ultimate departure from the teaching profession. Successful recruiting efforts have been stifled by high turnover rates of teachers of color who teach in high poverty, high racially marginalized school settings (Aragon, 2016). Meeting the differentiated needs of children who are less ready or prepared for school is challenging. Exacerbating this situation is that these schools often have crumbling infrastructures with many resource needs. Moreover, most teachers have little to no say in what and how they teach which eliminates or limits the creativity inherent in teaching. The additional effort required to teach in such settings is stressful and can result in burnout. Teachers with other options leave schools such as these. Efforts to recruit and retain millennial teachers of color are being addressed by state governments as they develop and implement educational policy. White (2015) reported that 31 states have approved legislation focused on the recruitment of teachers of color. The pathways that states are using to support teacher recruitment include implementing financial incentives, creating government mandates, supporting specific types of recruitment programs, establishing recruitment centers, and designing alternative certification programs. The efforts at the state level have contributed to the success that has occurred nationally in recruiting teachers of color into classrooms. Several states have also begun to look at cultural and statistical bias in the licensing tests that many states require teachers to pass as well as to provide supportive experiences, alternative certification policies, and scholarships to help millennial students complete their college degrees and enter the profession. State legislatures also make funding decisions to address infrastructure issues and resources needed by schools that may have an impact on school climate and work environments for teacher retention. PART II: WHAT CAN YOU DO? There are several things we can do to increase the retention of millennial teachers of color in our schools. Develop a recruitment and selection process that provides teachers of color a fair chance to be selected and placed in the same schools as White candidates. Teachers of color should not be placed disproportionally in the lowest performing, resource-deprived schools in a district simply because the children in those schools might look like them. Schools should be staffed so that all students are exposed to White, Black, Brown, and other racial/ethnic groups in the teaching-learning process. In addition, shift how teacher professional development funds (e.g., ESEA Title II funds) are spent at the district level to focus on strategies that will provide early exposure of millennial teachers of color to teacher development/incentive programs. Principals make the difference. Good school leadership encourages teacher retention (Ingersoll & May, 2011). More funding should be provided to strengthen principal leadership development and preparation. These principals need to provide a setting that nurtures and supports students as well as teachers. The environmental stresses of working in an environment that seems more like a jail than a school defeat the purpose of why teachers want to work in the field of education. Money to schools. Legislatures need to provide more funding to support the instructional resource needs in classrooms as well as to improve school infrastructure. Schools in the most impoverished areas should have certain minimum resources and an equitable distribution of support personnel to deal with the additional challenges that enter school buildings in high poverty communities. Money to teachers. Productive practices identified by the Education Commission of States (ECS) in the recruitment and retention of millennial teachers of color include generous scholarship support for teacher education, improved compensation packages on par with other professions requiring similar degrees, flexible spending under the Every Student Succeeds Act to support a variety of learning opportunities for teachers, and reduced costs for teacher certification. In addition, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and those institutions serving Hispanics/Latinx students are sources of millennial teachers of color, particularly when these institutions can prepare future teachers to function in challenging teaching and learning environments. Make teachers of color integral to the teaching and learning process that takes place in their schools. The millennials who choose to work as teachers do so because they want to make a difference in the lives of the children that they teach. Give them the flexibility to make a difference. Teachers of color reported that they felt supportive retention strategies included innovative teacher education programs that prepare  teachers of color to work in urban or high poverty, high minority settings; improved working conditions, including teacher participation in school decision-making;greater instructional autonomy for teachers; and professional development focused on the experiences that teachers of color face in the classroom and school environments (Aragon, 2016). Our public school populations will become majority minority in a decade or so. It is critical that classrooms have effective teachers that reflect the spectrum of diversity that exists in our world. Written by Zollie Stevenson, Jr., PhD; Vice President for Academic Affairs at Philander Smith College.Adapted from: “Removing Barriers to the Recruitment and Retention of Millennial Teachers of Color,” Millennial Teachers of Color, edited by Mary E. Dilworth, Harvard Education Press, 2018.Brief edited by Phoebe Schlanger, Publications Manager at MAEC. REFERENCES Aragon, S. (2016). State information request: Minority teacher recruitment and retention.Denver: Education Commission of the States. Boyd, D., Grossman, P., Ing, M., Lankford, H., & Wyckoff, J. (2010). “The influence of school administrators on teacher retention decisions.” American Educational Research Journal, 48(2), 303 - 333. DOI:10.3102/0002831210380788. D’Amico, D., Pawlewicz, R., Earley, P., & McGeehan, A. (2017). “Where are all the black teachers? Discrimination in the teacher labor market.” Harvard Educational Review, 87(1), 26- 49. Diliberti, M., Jackson, M., & Kemp, J. (2017). “Crime, violence, discipline, and safety in U.S. public schools. Findings from the school survey on crime and safety: 2015-16, first look.” Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education. Egalite, A., Kisida, B., & Winters, M. (2015). Representation in the classroom: The effect of own race teachers on student achievement. Economics of Education Review, 45, 44-52. Retrieved from Felton, E. (2017). “Buffalo and Rochester work together to recruit teachers of color.” Education Week. Retrieved from French, A. (2017, June 1). “Educators examine minority teacher retention crisis.” NEA Today. Retrieved from Galarza, C. (2017, April 2). “Hall school districts struggling to find Hispanic teachers.” Gainesville Times. Retrieved from Ingersoll, R., & May, H. (2011). “Recruitment, retention and the minority teacher shortage.”Philadelphia: Consortium for Policy Research in Education. Retrieved from Klein, R. (2017, April 12). “Why aren’t there more Black teachers? Racial discrimination still plays a role.” Huffington Post Black Voices. Kundu, A. (2014). “American schools: Still Separate, Still Unequal.” The Blog Learning on the Edge. Retrieved from Lankes, T. (2017, April 2). “Buffalo looks to own students to diversify teaching force.” The Buffalo News. Retrieved from Post Bulletin (2017, May 15). “Our View: Licensing reforms promise to improve teacher recruiting.” Post Bulletin. Retrieved from Schawbel, D. (2012, March 29). Millennials vs. Baby Boomers: Who Would You Rather Hire? Retrieved from White, T. (2015). Recruiting and retaining educators of color: A review of research, policy, and practice. Washington DC: White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans/Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE), Recruiting and Retaining Educators of Color    

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Post Image Reimagining the “New Normal”:  Equity, Policy, COVID, and Rural Public Schools

Arnold Fege, President of the Public Advocacy for Kids nonprofit, reflects on what it takes to create equity and reimagine schooling in rural communities after COVID-19. His article centers around five questions: unpacking the United States’ political will to resolve internet inequality; examining organizational changes needed to wholly care for students; identifying effective strategies to retain educators; looking to the relationship between federal funding and success in rural education; and predicting the role of state education agencies in providing school resources. Back to Count Us In: Advancing Equity in Rural Schools and Communities  

Reimagining the “New Normal”:  Equity, Policy, COVID, and Rural Public Schools

September 2020: Exploring Equity Issues, Rural Edition Arnold F. Fege President, Public Advocacy for Kids We can all agree that before COVID-19, not all school districts and not all communities had the same educational opportunities and resources. And we can all agree COVID-19 has exposed in a dramatic fashion the inequities and gaps that were often ignored and neglected for many years, for many children and for many school districts. Students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, English Learners, students with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups such as students experiencing homelessness and students in foster care, were less likely to have rigorous, engaging, and positive educational experiences before the pandemic. Now there is a real risk that school closures, distance learning, hybrid models, and schools opening and closing will fall heavily on these populations and on another: those in rural school districts (Economic Research Service, 2020). Much has been written about the challenges of larger, urban school districts. Indeed, in the past, my own organization has concentrated our policy and legislative focus on mostly urban and large county school systems. Rob Mahaffy, my colleague and the executive director of the Rural School and Community Trust, and longtime friends at Organizations Concerned About Rural Education (OCRE), were instrumental in assuring that rural, tribal, Alaskan Natives, and territories voices and needs be a seamless part of our organization’s agenda as well. The goal is the same: to assure that all children have access to and receive a high-quality public education no matter where they reside. And at the core of that mission is equity.  So here we are in the midst of a global pandemic. All school districts should be planning now for how to make up this lost learning time, which particularly affects our most vulnerable students (King & Weingarten, 2020). Ideas include implementing summer programs, and extending or restructuring school days for the 2020-21 school year, summer of 2021, and school year 2022. During this period, federal, state, and local policymakers will be making difficult decisions, and deciding how to make those choices fair and equitable. Rural school districts have often been on the short end of these tradeoffs. Many of the challenges that rural districts face are similar to mid-size and urban school districts. But there are also dynamics that work differently: size, scope, resources, community, political environment, staffing, geography, distance, isolation, workforce development, economics, and constrained tax base, to name a few. The point is not to undervalue the seriousness of the problems that urban education leaders face, but to recognize that rural districts face distinctive problems that have not received enough attention in terms of research, safety, resources, teacher and educator preparation, and certainly equitable policies and adequacy of funding.   Rural looks different across the country, from remote Native American lands in the West, to small towns in the Great Plains and Midwest, to the Mississippi Delta and Southern “Black Belt,” to Appalachia and New England. Rural looks different even within each state: it might be a town of a few thousand people, or tiny communities several hours or even days from the nearest city, as in parts of Alaska. These differences require policies that recognize that one size does not fit all. In far too many cases, rural districts still do not have the resources and opportunities they deserve compared to urban school districts, although there remain differences within rural areas and they are also hard to define as a unified idea. In total, 46 million Americans live in rural areas. About 53% of our nation’s school districts and one-third of U.S. schools are in rural areas. Nearly 7.5 million public school students were enrolled in rural school districts during the 2016-17 school year—that’s nearly one of every seven students across the country. The number is even larger when counting students who attend rural schools within districts classified as “non-rural.” By this measure, more than 9.3 million students attend a rural school (Ratcliffe et. al, 2016). This means that more students in the U.S. attend rural schools than in the nation’s 85 largest school districts combined. Nearly one in six of rural students lives below the poverty line, one in seven qualifies for special education, and one in nine has changed residence in the previous 12 months (Showalter et. al, 2019).  To be clear, rural America offers assets often not available in urban settings. Rural residents feel that their community has a sense of shared values that are different from people in big cities: three quarters (74%) say other people in rural communities have similar values to their own, while two-thirds (65%) say people who live in big cities hold different values (Palosky & Singh, 2017). They also believe that their communities look out for one another and are good places to raise their children, and 76% of rural participants reported that their children’s schools are high-quality. America’s rural communities and educators are a treasure and add to the rich diversity of this country.  For people living in rural America, schools are more than places of academic instruction. They provide food and health care for students, foster the sense of real community education, provide much-needed support for families, and act as central players in community life, with schools sometimes providing the only place for community gatherings. However, even though many rural superintendents have found success in working collaboratively and with cooperatives, they face many obstacles, such as internet connectivity, post-secondary outcomes, and transportation funding. They struggle to recruit and retain teachers with specialized skills such as special education and TESOL. They need funding for support services such as child care, nurses, counselors, librarians and mental health workers. And finally, they need to figure out how to pay for rebuilding and renovating schools (Nicola et. al, 2020). And to make matters worse, the National Council of State Legislators predicts that because of COVID-19, states may face greater revenue shortfalls than during the Great Recession (National Conference of State Legislators, 2020). As rural districts spend time and resources on costly short-term strategies, either in person or virtually, they also worry about sustainability; as they fight for greater equity, the resources may not be there to support them in the future. Such lack of resources means rural students are more likely to have lower educational attainment, restricted student opportunity, and fewer support services (National Conference of State Legislators, 2020). On the other hand, this is a moment in time—a short moment of time before the comforting chorus of “getting back to the old normal” gets too loud and powerful. If we can set clear expectations for our students, we can do the same for policy makers and our politicians at the state and federal levels. They need to spend time in rural school districts to better understand the issues before they make policies or pass laws. The current state and federal policies, laws, funding formulas and regulations that created the baked-in inequities need to be rooted out and replaced with policies that maintain the fundamental rights to a public education guaranteed to all children. It is possible to do this work while recognizing the distinct differences and characteristics between and among rural school districts.  The pandemic not only presents additional challenges for our rural schools, but also opportunities, very few of which are new, but most have historically resisted implementation. One thing is for certain: the world as we have known it will be vastly different by the end of this pandemic. As we endure the uncertainty of quarantine, we must ask ourselves what kind of world we want to return to for ourselves and our students.  For those aware of the inequities and unfairness that characterized schools in America prior to the crisis, this is also a time to ask: Could the pandemic be an opportunity through which we can bring about educational justice? While rural schools are highly local, they are also a matter of national interest and leadership—as much as highways and interstate commerce—and rural schools are graduating students whose lives will be connected to the rest of the world just as much as those in the big cities.   In that vein, there are lingering equity and policy challenges that will face all of us during and at the end of the pandemic, but especially rural schools and communities, including these: 

1. Does the country have the political will to resolve internet inequality?

Nationwide, across all racial and ethnic groups, 16.9 million children remain logged out from instruction because their families lack the home internet access necessary to support online learning (Future Ready Schools et. al, 2020). Those households with children under the age of 18 years lack two essential elements for online learning: high-speed home internet service and a computer. One in three Black, Latinx, and American Indian/Alaska Native households are not connected. Rural Americans are also less likely to have a tablet, laptop, or desktop than urban and suburban residents (Khazan, 2020). They trail urban residents by 12 points and suburban residents by 16 points. In Mississippi, which serves 235,000 rural students, the Census Bureau reports that one-fifth of Mississippi households do not have a computer and nearly one-third lack high-speed Internet access (United States Census Bureau). According to the FCC, half of the residents of the Mississippi Delta have no access to the Internet. In addition, nearly all teachers nationally (96%) pay for their home-based high-speed internet themselves (Will, 2020b). And 10% of teachers, mostly in rural areas, don’t have high-speed, wireless internet at home (Will, 2020a). They make do during the current school shutdowns with mobile hotspots or even working in parking lots or empty school buildings. Currently, there is a bill in Congress to increase the E-Rate by $4 billion, which would go a long way in providing homes with broadband and connectivity (Will, 2020b).

2. What organizational changes are necessary to move from factory model school to a whole child school, and what capacity is necessary to serve both as an educational institution as well as the safety net?

The path to educational success is different for each student, and availability to support services also varies. Data tell us that the road to success is tougher for young people who are engaged with the foster care system, who are hungry, who are parents, who face school suspensions, who lack secure housing and internet access, who have special education needs and language barriers, who may be from low-income households or have family members who are victims of the opioid epidemic. These young people need expanded supports to succeed, supports that are often not thought of when planning college access and success programs. If they are not addressed, we allow students to fall through the education, social, and emotional cracks. But the current model and school architecture is not designed to tackle many issues outside of their control. In South Dakota, which is one of the most rural of states, “rural educators often tout the generally lower student-teacher ratio and scores on standardized tests show that students in some rural South Dakota districts match or occasionally out perform their urban peers” (Pfankuch, 2019). Clearly, the school plays the role of community anchor, but a 19th century model is crashing into 21st century needs, the system is overwhelmed, and by its nature produces inequitable results. This is a time to plan with the community the systemic changes required to respond to the demographic changes hitting urban and rural public schools (Rodriguez, 2020). To integrate via technology, face to face and through community organizations, a true community education model where the school responds to the needs of the “whole child” (Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child).

3. What are effective strategies and means to address teacher and principal shortages, retention, competition with other school districts,  compensation, and professional development?

No small district has the capacity or the market to solve workforce issues on its own. This question requires a state and federally coordinated response, along with input from higher education leaders (Carver-Thomas & Darling-Hammond, 2017). Solutions for urban settings generally do not successfully transfer to rural settings. In addition to dealing with the pandemic, distance learning issues, social-emotional learning, and accountability pressures that all districts face, rural districts also face challenges such as lower salaries, fears of isolation in an unfamiliar area, limited housing and recreational options, lack of human capital and resources, and little opportunity for professional development and professional growth (Schwartz, 2020). These same issues make it harder to recruit school administrators, which further compounds the teacher recruitment problem since teachers want to be supported by a strong administrative staff. As a result, many districts have had to hire teachers and principals without the proper licensure, especially in specialized areas such as working with students with special education needs and English Learners. It also challenges administrators to recruit a diverse teaching force that possesses the cultural competencies needed to work with an increasingly diverse student body and parents.

4. Can rural districts continue to maintain a presence and strong voice at the federal level that sustains and increases funding? 

Let’s say it up front. Just like healthcare, public education has been underfunded and underinvested, especially in rural communities. Rural education requires a continued strong federal funding presence. As problematic and bureaucratic as federal funding might be for rural districts—and many do not have the capacity to compete for grants or provide matches—most rural districts and communities rely on federal resources to supplement state and local tax bases. To support schools to meet ESSA requirements, REAP authorizes two rural programs: The Small Rural School Achievement Program (SRSA) and The Rural and Low-Income Schools Program (RLIS), which increase the focus on rural schools. Other programs that have rural priorities include the Full Service Community Schools, 21st Century Community Schools, Impact Aid, IDEA, Head Start and Early Head Start, in addition to other social and health services such as Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), housing assistance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), CHIP, Summer Feeding, Migrant Education, the Child Care Development Block Grant, and Women with Infants and Children (WIC). The big takeaway is that federal spending on all children’s programs dropped from 7.98% in FY 2015 to 7.21% in 2019—confirming a downward trend in federal spending for children (First Focus on Children, 2019).

5. And lastly, of course, will states and local communities provide the adequate resources needed to achieve equity and opportunity for rural children and families?

Rural school finance is extremely complex, but at the heart of both state and local finance structure lies issues of economies of scale, local tax assessments, levy rates, local control, and local willingness to support increases in school revenues. Challenges include deferred maintenance to buildings and infrastructure, struggles to provide the same access to high-level courses for rural students, difficulty in retaining teachers, and to add a final nail in the proverbial coffin, the cost of opening school buildings safely during the pandemic, all of which add to the pressures rural schools face.  To date, state school funding systems have been challenged in 45 states, from New York to, most recently, Kansas. Yet because rural schools are not on a level playing field with urban and suburban schools, lack of adequate resources threatens their very existence. Rural school districts thus continue to lag behind urban areas with respect to federal funds. When access to federal programs depends on the absolute number of disadvantaged students rather than proportions, small rural schools typically lose out to affluent metropolitan ones. Federal policies are often based on preparing students for an urban life rather than answering the needs of a rural setting. Rural communities are in great need of institutions that will strengthen rural life, serve all members of all ages in the community, and link education to other social services and economic enterprises within the area. Education must be linked with other rural development activities, and rural development itself should be based on comprehensive rural studies rather than on applications of urban models as determinants of rural life (Parks & Hoke, 1979).


Creating equity and reimagining schooling after the pandemic requires listening to everyone within the community -- and building on the assets that rural schools offer. Reimagining requires engaging parents, teachers, principals, support services, health care, business, the Farm Bureau, social services, juvenile justice, and students. While they may not be an economy of scale, rural schools’ smaller class sizes support individualized instruction and more teacher attention, conditions that also provide an opportunity to assure that our marginalized communities are part of the conversation.  Not only have tens of millions of families across the country had to play an active role in the “schooling” of their children during the pandemic, but the void left by schools is being felt across multiple dimensions of social, economic, political and community life. Schools are not just places where young people learn; they are also places of community and connection, physical and emotional safety, shelter and food, democracy and deliberation. In addition, the economy cannot function without schools, unless we devise another way to ensure that children are supervised while their parents are at work.   Building on rural assets, beginning to plan, holding our state and federal policymakers accountable--this is what our rural schools and communities are good at. Let’s make the mantra “we are all in this together” work for equitable educational opportunities and upward mobility for all of our children. We can do this.


Carver-Thomas, D. & Darling-Hammond, L. (2017, August). Teacher Turnover: Why It Matters and What We Can Do About It. Learning Policy Institute. Retrieved from Economic Research Service. (2020, May 28). Rural Education. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved from First Focus on Children. (2019, September). Children’s Budget 2019. Retrieved from Future Ready Schools, National Urban League, UnidosUS, & National Indian Education Association. (2020, August). The Alliance for Excellent Education. Retrieved from Khazan, O. (2020, August 17). America’s Terrible Internet is Making Quarantine Worse. The Atlantic. Retrieved from King, J. & Weingarten, R. (2020, April 24). What comes next for public schooling. The Hill. Retrieved from National Conference of State Legislatures. (2020, January 21). Challenges Facing Rural Communities. Retrieved from Nicola, T., Gable, A., & Ash, J. (2020, July). The Response of Rural Districts to the COVID-19 Pandemic. National Center for Rural Education Research Networks. Retrieved from Organizations Concerned about Rural Education. Retrieved from Palosky, C. & Singh, R. (2017, June 19). Kaiser Family Foundation/Washington Post Partnership Survey Probes Experiences and Views of Rural Americans. KFF. Retrieved from Parks, G.A. & Hoke, G. (1979, May). Federal Education Programs and Rural Development Needs: An Unrealized Potential. ERIC Clearinghouse. Retrieved from Pfankuch, B. (2019, November 15). Rural Schools in S.D. Face Unique Challenges that Can Affect Learning. Argus Leader. Retrieved from Ratcliffe, M., Burd, C., Holder, K., & Fields, A. (2016). Defining Rural at the Census Bureau: American Community Survey and Geography Brief. United States Census Bureau.Retrieved from Rodriguez, M.C. (2020, June 7). If There Was Ever a Time to Transform Schools, This Is It. Center for the Transformation of Schools. Retrieved from Schwartz, S. (2020, March 4). Access to Quality PD Is an Equity Issue, Teachers Say. Education Week. Retrieved from Showalter, D., Hartman, S.L., Johnson, J., & Klein, B. (2019, November). Why Rural Matters: The Time is Now, 2018-2019. The Rural School and Community Trust. Retrieved from The Rural School and Community Trust. (2016). About Us. Retrieved from United States Census Bureau. QuickFacts: Mississippi. Retrieved from Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child. Association for Supervision and Curriculum. Retrieved from Will, M. (2020b, May 4). Should Schools Pay for Teachers’ Internet Access? Education Week. Retrieved from Will, M. (2020a, April 29). Teachers Without Internet Work in Parking Lots, Empty School Buildings During COVID-19. Education Week. Retrieved from  

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Post Image School Climate Checklist – Discipline

This tool helps schools determine if they are following the guiding principles developed by the Department of Education regarding improving school climate and equitable disciplinary practices.

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Post Image Socioeconomic Integration and Student Achievement

Students thrive when they learn in both culturally and economically diverse environments. Is your district struggling with segregation issues that undermine the achievement of your students? This webinar is intended for all educators who want to learn about transforming their schools into socially inclusive learning environments by embracing socioeconomic integration. Hear about schools and districts that have been successful, and learn about CEE’s vision to boost student achievement by applying an equity perspective to this process. Learning Outcomes In this webinar you will learn:

  • why socioeconomic integration has worked in specific districts and how you can apply those principles to your school or district, and
  • how to build learning communities where culture, language, and economic diversity is celebrated and expands learning.
Presenters Download   Video of Socioeconomic Integration and Student Achievement from MAEC.    

Post Image Socioeconomic Integration from an Equity Perspective

This paper seeks to provide a current overview of socioeconomic school integration and provide a new conceptualization of socioeconomic integration from an equity perspective. What does socioeconomic integration involve? How can it be made to work well within schools to benefit all students? The paper draws upon the insights of a day-long conference of educators, researchers, policymakers, civil rights activists, and staff of the nation’s four federally-funded Equity Assistance Centers, sponsored by the Center for Education Equity (CEE) at MAEC in Washington D.C. earlier this year.

Socioeconomic Integration from an Equity Perspective

Public education’s mission is universal. The purpose of public education is to be the nation’s commons where all students are invited to learn, develop their talents, and acquire the dispositions essential to a secure and thriving democratic public culture. Equity is built into the DNA of public education. And yet too often public schools fall short of this fundamental vision. Too many school districts are divided by class, race, language, culture, or religion. In order to fulfill the essential promise of public education, 100 public school districts and charter schools across the United States have taken conscious efforts to overcome residential segregation by class, race, and/or language so that children from all economic and racial backgrounds can benefit from learning together. Those plans for “socioeconomic integration” seek to bring about the benefits of economic and racial diversity without running afoul of legal requirements that limit the use of race in student assignment. This paper seeks to provide a current overview of socioeconomic school integration and provide a new conceptualization of socioeconomic integration from an equity perspective. What does socioeconomic integration involve? How can it be made to work well within schools to benefit all students? The paper draws upon the insights of a day-long conference of educators, researchers, policymakers, civil rights activists, and staff of the nation’s four federally-funded Equity Assistance Centers, sponsored by the Center for Education Equity (CEE) at MAEC in Washington D.C. earlier this year. I - What is Socioeconomic School Integration? Socioeconomic (SES) school integration is a public policy designed to improve opportunities for students by: 1) reducing the negative educational effects associated with school poverty concentrations, and 2) providing a diverse environment that benefits all students. In 1996, only two school districts, educating 30,000 students, took conscious steps to educate rich and poor in common schools. Today, 100 school districts and charter school chains in 32 states have adopted socioeconomic integration policies. These public schools educate 4.4 million students (Kahlenberg, 2016; Potter & Quick, 2016). School districts promote socioeconomic diversity in schools in various ways. Some change attendance boundaries to ensure a healthier economic mix of students. Some weigh economic status as a factor in magnet school admissions. Some allow student transfers between schools only when they contribute to socioeconomic diversity. Some use “controlled choice” policies which allow families to choose from a variety of options and honor choices with an eye to promoting socioeconomic diversity. To promote sustainable socioeconomic diversity, school districts must create criteria for defining economic advantage and disadvantage. Many districts rely on a student’s eligibility for free or reduced price lunch (185% of the poverty line). Other districts use Census data, such as education level, income, proportion of single parent households, proportion of non-English speaking residents, and proportion of  homeowners in a neighborhood, to categorize students. Whatever the mechanics employed in defining socioeconomic status or the means used to create socioeconomically integrated schools, district officials pursuing these policies believe all children will learn more in diverse environments. II. Why is Socioeconomic Integration Important? School districts adopt socioeconomic integration policies to avoid the negative effects of segregation and to garner the positive benefits of educating students in a diverse student environment. Economic integration policies combined with equitable practices can promote social mobility by helping students gain academic and social skills. Integration policies can promote social cohesion in our multiracial democracy by teaching students of different backgrounds how to get along with and appreciate one another.
  • Social Mobility and Academic Skills Fifty years ago, the congressionally authorized Coleman Report found that the single most important predictor of academic achievement is a child’s socioeconomic status. The second most important predictor is the socioeconomic makeup of the child’s school. While high-poverty schools may occasionally excel, it is extremely uncommon. Douglas Harris of Tulane University has found that majority middle-class schools are 22 times as likely to be consistently high performingas majority low-income schools (Harris, 2007). Harris defines middle-class schools as those with fewer than 50 percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and low-income schools as those with 50 percent or more of students eligible for subsidized lunch.Students in middle-class schools perform better in part because middle class students usually have greater home advantages, such as access to food, housing, and health care. These advantages are connected with higher academic achievement. Conversely, concentrated poverty can hinder achievement. The 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test given to fourth graders showed low-income students attending more affluent schools scored substantially higher on math than lowincome students attending high-poverty schools. The gap in their average scores equates to almost two years of learning (Lubienski & Lubienski, 2006).Moreover, low-income students who attended more affluent schools performed more than half a year better, on average, than middle-income students who attended high-poverty schools. Careful studies that controlled for “self-selection bias” also found strong benefits to attending economically-integrated over highpoverty schools (The Century Foundation, 2016). Indeed, a growing body of literature reveals that socioeconomically integrated schools have greater academic achievement results than homogenous schools in terms of receptive language, expressive language, and math (Reid, 2012, Perry & McConney, 2010, Saatcioglu, 2010, Orfield, 2001 & Palardy, 2013).
  • Social Cohesion and an Appreciation for Diversity While American public schools are charged with raising academic achievement and promoting social mobility, they are also expected to promote an American identity, social cohesion, and democratic citizenship. In an increasingly diverse nation, public schools  demonstrate and expose to students what they have in common as Americans. Segregation by race, ethnicity, and class undercuts that goal by increasing the risk of students having discriminatory attitudes and prejudices.For instance, children are at risk of developing stereotypes about racial groups if they live in and are educated in racially isolated settings. Diverse schools, by contrast, can help prevent bias and counter stereotypes (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2006). When school settings include students from multiple racial groups, students become more comfortable with people of other races. This interaction dramatically decreases discriminatory attitudes and prejudices (McGlothlin & Killen, 2005; Rutland, Cameron, Bennett & Ferrell,2005).Numerous studies validate that racial integration in public schools cultivates tolerant adults and good citizens (Wells & Crain, 1994). As Justice Thurgood Marshall noted, “Unless our children begin to learn together, then there is little hope that our people will ever learn to live together” (Milliken v. Bradley, 1974). These effects continue after high school. Research confirms that students who attend racially diverse high schools are more likely to live in diverse neighborhoods five years after graduation (Phillips, Rodosky, Muñoz &Larsen, 2009).Extensive research demonstrates that a school’s student body composition has a measurable effect on achievement (Borman & Dowling, 2010; Buttaro, Catsambis, Mulkey & Steelman, 2010; Cookson, 2013)? Among the many positive effects, scholars point to positive peer influence, family engagement, teacher expectations, amount of homework, number of advanced classes, and the degree of school safety (Kahlenberg, 2012; Rumberger & Palardy, 2005).Data on school districts using socioeconomic school integration confirm research findings. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, for example,each school has a distinctive theme or teaching approach. Families rank their preferences among schools and the school district honors choice with a goal of ensuring schools have a mix of rich and poor students. This effort helps forge both social cohesion and socialmobility. In Cambridge, 84 percent of low-income students in 2014 graduated in four years, compared with 65 percent of low-income students in nearby Boston. Likewise, 83 percent of Black students in Cambridge graduated — a rate 17 points higher than Black students in Boston (Kahlenberg, 2015).Genuine socioeconomic integration and equity requires a deep understanding of what makes a great and equitable school and classroom regardless of the background of the students. It does not happen through awkward pronouncements or “siloed” interventions. Schools and school districts that engage in “siloed” and over-simplified analysis will develop policies and practices that fail to address the complexity of creating academically and socially successful socioeconomic learning environments.
III. Moving Forward: How Can Socioeconomic Integration Be Implemented Within Schools To Ensure Equity? Five Practical Steps While a growing body of literature demonstrates that socioeconomic integration does increase greater academic achievement,  understanding the interactive effects of students, schools, families, and communities have yet to be fully explored. In addition, the assumption that socioeconomic diversity alone is the solution for ensuring all children succeed academically and socially raises important questions about the specific needs of English learners, African American, Latino, and American Indian students. This is particularly true when it comes to the central importance of race in determining disparities. To fully understand the complex  interactions of race and other student characteristics, including socioeconomic status, a more complex framework is needed to fully embrace diversity and equity and to ensure that the benefits of socioeconomic diversity can fully be accomplished. What are the principles and practices that can turn the ideal of equitable socioeconomic integration into a living reality? What does socioeconomic integration look like at the school and classroom level? And what can educators do to ensure that socioeconomic integration results in safe, joyous learning environments for all children? Below is a series of specific steps for helping to ensure that equitable socioeconomic integration becomes a reality. Step One: Adhere to and Internalize Basic Principles The first step is a commitment to some basic principles including:  A school’s overall framework should be based on a co-constructed approach between schools, diverse families, and communities where all cultures are elevated and respected. Differences in culture and language should be seen as assets and funds of knowledge. Using an equity-centered model, families and students from diverse backgrounds have an equal voice. • Policies and practices should be aligned with specific needs of students. While the research indicates that students of diverse backgrounds benefit from socioeconomic integration, program offerings must be aligned to effectively teach and assess diverse students, including English Learners, African American, Latino children, and other populations whose academic achievement needs to be addressed to reduce and/or eliminate the achievement gap. • School leaders must set the tone and demonstrate consistent commitment to equity and socioeconomic integration. Leadership is essential to the success of socioeconomic integration and equity. Successful school leadership requires both modeling and implementing equitable practices. On-going supervision, continuous assessment of needs and progress, and working in partnership with teachers and parents are key in effectively meeting overall goals. Teachers need embedded professional learning opportunities to empower them to act as agents of change. On-going culturally competent professional development enables teachers to learn skills and receive support as needed. • Communication with families, community, and the public is essential from the very beginning of this transformation. Families play an essential role for socioeconomic integration to be an effective tool for academic achievement and socioemotional well being. When families feel welcomed and are shared decision-makers regarding their child’s learning, they are more likely to fully participate with educators to develop a strong foundation for sustainability and success. The principles and practices that create a positive learning environment in any school apply to schools that have the courage to integrate themselves socioeconomically. Schools are small societies. Turning the possible tensions that can result from the interactions of many personalities into positive and productive possibilities and opportunities requires leadership, asset-based approaches, planning, inclusion, transparency, teamwork, caring relationships, authentic family and community engagement, and shared benchmarks of success. Step Two: Implement a Suite of Socioeconomic Integration “Equity Tools” No two districts are like, no two schools are alike, and no two classrooms are alike. But that said, there are “Equity Tools” that work in many settings. Here are a few ideas that have proven to be successful.
  • Implement Policies and Practices that Open Pathways to Academic Excellence for All Students: Integrate pre-requisites for academic learning. With this support, teachers can: set achievement targets prior to instruction and make these evident to students; provide students constructive feedback that is nonjudgmental and linked explicitly to the goals for learning; make appropriate instructional adjustments responsive to the assessment data gleaned; and increase students’ capacity for self assessment.
  • Revise Out-dated Curriculum:Building on the strengths of diversity,inclusion, and equity, 21st century curriculum needs to emphasize deep learning, collective effort, reflection, and a lasting respect for others. Students should graduate with understanding and  appreciation of the struggle for human freedom, the power of reason, the beauty of human expression, and the clarity of numbers.
  • Redesign Classroom Environments: Too many of our classrooms are still stuck in the 19th century, despite whiteboards and computers. Today’s digital learners require a new kind of learning environment. One of the surest ways to promote genuine socioeconomic integration is to provide 21st century classrooms.
  • End Rigid Tracking: Segregating students into different tracks often effectively segregates students by race and class. This divides students and works against positive school climates, promoting the myth that some students are more special than others.
  •  Situate Learning in the Lives of Students and Their Families: Teachers should include culturally competent and sustaining elements in all aspects of schooling. Culturally sustaining educators build upon the cultural fluidity and connectedness reflected in the identities of students as an asset to learning and academic achievement. They seek to perpetuate and foster linguistic, literate, and cultural pluralism as part of the fabric of schooling.
  • Invest in Embedded Professional Learning Opportunities: Professional learning opportunities must include cultural competency training. Equitable socioeconomic integration requires embedded and ongoing professional development. Without professional learning in cultural competence, performance disparities for low-income students and students of color will continue. It takes real and deep learning to understand the what, why, and how of committing to a student assignment policy that is new and will be at times controversial and challenging.
  • Engage Families and Community Members as Partners: Equity educators advocate for high quality teacher preparation in the context of culturally competent and sustainable integrated schools. Connections with parents and the community at large will facilitate attainment of collaborative partnerships that promote the academic, social, and emotional development of children.
  • Establish Family Information Centers: Families need regular, consistent, and understandable information, not only about their child’s progress, but why the district and school is promoting socioeconomic integration so that it benefits all students. Families should be engaged from the very beginning of this transformation.  
Taken together, these changes can provide fresh and dynamic learning environments for all students. When students are engaged and active, discipline problems diminish and learning increases. These “Equity Tools” represent some structural changes that lead to healthier, more engaging and equitable educational opportunities for all children. Step Three: Understand Student Assets and Address Student Needs At the heart of a great school and classroom is a passionate commitment to learning. We know a good deal about how learning takes place through the convergence of individual, biological, contextual, cultural, and historical factors. Any effort to raise the level of awareness and professionalism about the learning benefits associated with equitable socioeconomic integration would treat as foundational what we know about brain development, attachment, self-regulation, individuality and learning including cognitive load, the limits of working memory and metacognition. Students, especially vulnerable students, come to school carrying with them many stressors. Research has consistently shown that schools that take seriously the socio-emotional development of students create learning environments that lead to a sense of safety and acceptance, increase motivation to learn, and are more likely to be culturally responsive and competent. But this is only half the picture. Vulnerable and low-income students also bring with them many unique assets that are treasures and enrich any school and classroom. They have funds of knowledge that open new vistas of learning for all students. Nationally recognized researcher, Eugene Garcia, provides the following example: When a child comes to school for the first time he/she comes with a little suitcase full of experiences (language & culture) that he/she had before coming to school. The teacher can then say: Welcome, let’s open that little suitcase and see what you have so you can share and we can learn from you or say: This is your suitcase and it is your past. Now you can forget about it and learn new things. What you have is not useful now  Learning environments that open students’ little suitcases of knowledge share certain characteristics including: personalizing and differentiating learning by addressing individuality and difference; addressing the different stages of learning; distinguishing between and addressing short-and long term-learning goals; and ensuring that these goals over time are rigorous, paced appropriately to reach annual goals, and prepare students for college and career success. Step Four: Build a Positive School Culture That Includes Family and Community Positive school culture is the glue that holds a school together and is an indispensable ingredient to an equitable socioeconomic integration design. The elements that contribute to a positive school culture include: a safe and supportive environment, effective school leadership, culturally responsive pedagogy and practice, high quality teachers, rigorous instruction, numerous extracurricular activities, staff collaboration, trust, and college and career readiness. And the bedrock quality of a positive school culture is the inclusion of family and community. Community is a big concept; inclusion means everyone. Creating a positive school culture requires leadership, relationship building, trust, and commitment to academic excellence. The commitment to building a positive and empowering school culture is vital as schools and classrooms are integrated socioeconomically. These schools must confront and overcome systemic racism, the effects of concentrated poverty, and segregated schools in addition to the regular challenges facing all schools such as creating and maintaining a rigorous and vigorous academic climate, a safe and supportive cultural and physical environment, and ensuring the school’s vision is infused in all aspects of its organization and mission. Building a strong school and classroom culture is not magic. We know there are certain policies and practices which increase learning for all students and promote inclusive and supportive school cultures. If we are to address the intersectionality of socioeconomic status, race, gender, national origin, and religion, we need systemic and transformational reforms to prevail over business as usual. Step Five: Promote Reflection and Self Assessment The socio-economic integration of schools will take time and will no doubt grow through trial and error. We are used to the concept that students should be regularly assessed about their academic progress. What we are less accustomed to is the idea that adults should reflect on their practices and adjust them according to what is working and what is not. Adults in the school must believe or come to believe that it is possible to provide an equitable learning environment and work relentlessly to remove barriers to this socioeconomic integration. Equity is not easy to achieve in part because the definition of equity itself evolves as efforts to implement policies and practices unfold. Purposeful organizational and cultural evolution that is inclusive and inviting opens up the possibility that difference will be embraced naturally and with a minimum of conflict. By embracing diversity and, by recognizing the worth of all people, schools can change from the inside-out in a genuine organic way and help recapture the foundational purpose of public education. *By Richard D. Kahlenberg, Peter W. Cookson, Jr., Susan Shaffer, Charo Basterra. Edited by Phoebe Schlanger. REFERENCES Borman G.D. & Dowling M. (2010). Schools and inequality: A multilevel analysis of Coleman’s equality of educational opportunity data. Teachers College Record, Vol. 112(5), 1201-1246. Buttaro, A., Catsambis, S., Mulkey, L., and Steelman, L. C. (2010). An organizational perspective on the origins of instructional segregation: School composition and use of within-class ability grouping in American Kindergartens. Teachers College Record, Vol. 112(5), pp. 1300 – 1337. Cookson, Jr., P. W. (2013). Class rules: Exposing inequality in American high schools. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Harris, D. (2007). High-flying schools, student disadvantage, and the logic of NCLB. American Journal of Education, Vol. 113(3), pp. 367–94. Kahlenberg, R. D. (2012). From all walks of life: New hope for school integration. American Educator, (Winter), pp. 2-40. Retrieved from Kahlenberg, R.D. (2015, September 8). A new era of civil rights: Proposals to address the economic inequalities in Robert Putnam's "Our Kids”. Century Foundation, (Figure 6). Retrieved from Kahlenberg, R.D. (2016, October 14). School integration in practice: Lessons from nine districts. In The Century Foundation, Stories of Integration (pp. 3-7). Retrieved from Lubienski, C., and Lubienski. S. T. (2006). Charter, private, public schools and academic achievement: New evidence from NAEP mathematics data. New York, NY: National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, Teachers College, Columbia University. McGlothlin, H. and Killen, M. (2005). Children’s perceptions of intergroup and intragroup similarity and the role of social experience. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Vol. (26)6, pp. 680–698. Milliken v. Bradley, 414 U.S. 717, 783 (1974) (Justice Marshall, dissenting). Orfield, G. (2001). Schools more separate: Consequences of a decade of resegregation. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Civil Rights Project. Palardy, G. J. (2013). High school socioeconomic segregation and student attainment. American Education Research Journal, Vol. 50(4), pp. 714-554. doi: 10.3102/0002831213481240. Perry, L. and McConney, A. (2010). Does the SES of the school matter? An examination of socioeconomic status and student achievement using PISA 2003. Teachers College, Vol. 112(4), pp. 1137-1162. Pettigrew, T.F., and Tropp, L.R. (2006). A Meta-analytic test of intergroup contact theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. (90)5, pp. 751–783. Phillips, K. J. R., Rodosky, R. J., Muñoz, M. A., and Larsen, E. S. (2009). Integrated schools, integrated futures? A case study of school desegregation in Jefferson County, Kentucky. In C. E. Smrekar and E. B. Goldring, (Eds.), From the Courtroom to the Classroom: The Shifting Landscape of School Desegregation (pp. 239). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. Potter, H., Quick, K., and Davies, E. (2016, February 9). A new wave of school integration: Districts and charters pursuing socioeconomic diversity. The Century Foundation. Retrieved from Reid, J. L. (2012). Socioeconomic diversity and early learning: The missing link in policy for high quality preschools. In R. D. Kahlenberg (Ed.), The future of school integration: Socioeconomic diversity as an education reform strategy (pp. 67–126). New York, NY: Century Foundation Press. Rumberger, R. W., and Palardy, G. J., (2005). Does segregation still matter? The impact of social composition on academic achievement in southern high schools. Teachers College Record, Vol. 107(9), pp. 2015-2022. Rutland, A., Cameron, L., Bennett, L., and Ferrell, J. (2005). Interracial contact and racial constancy: A multi-site study of racial intergroup bias in 3–5 year old Anglo-British children. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Vol. (26)6, pp. 699–713. Saatcioglu, A. (2010). Disentangling school- and student-level effects of desegregation and resegregation on the dropout problem in urban high schools: Evidence from the Cleveland municipal school district, 1977-1998. Teachers College Record, Vol. 112(5), pp. 1391-1442. The Century Foundation. (2016, February 10). The benefits of socioeconomically and racially integrated school rooms (Adapted from Wells, A. S., Fox, L., and Cordova-Cobo, D. (2016).How racially diverse schools and classrooms can benefit all students. The Education Digest,Vol. (82)1, pp. 17-24; and Khalenberg, R.D., and Potter, H. (2014). A smarter charter: Finding what works for charter schools and public education. New York, NY: Teachers College Press). Retrieved from Wells, A. S. and Crain, R. L. (1994). Perpetuation theory and the long-term effects of school desegregation. Review of Educational Research, Vol. (64)4, pp. 531–555.  

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Post Image Spotlight on the Needs of Transgender Students

Part of CEE’s Exploring Equity Issues series, this paper articulates the need for protections for transgender and gender non-conforming (GNC) students. Additionally, it reviews the shift in federal guidance (revised in February 2017) and concludes with suggestions for actions and procedures that districts might utilize to support students, teachers, and families so that this subgroup of children are included in the goal of “every student succeeding.” The content intentionally emphasizes supports for transgender students and families due to the aforementioned guidance shifts and increased recognition of these individuals within our schools.

Spotlight on the Needs of Transgender Students

How concerned would you be if you knew that more than 70 percent of the students within a subgroup in your district or community had been verbally harassed? What would you do if a quarter of these students had been physically bullied and more than 1 out of 10 physically assaulted? What if almost 50 percent reported skipping school or classes as a result? Unfortunately, this is the reality for far too many transgender and gender nonconforming (GNC) youth within our public school settings (Greytak, Kosciw, and Diaz, 2009). Recent reauthorization of the Educational and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), originally passed by the Johnson administration in 1965, has placed an important emphasis on improving programs and opportunities for ALL students. The titles of both “No Child Left Behind” and the “Every Student Succeeds Act” speak to this goal. As of the writing of this paper, however, administrative changes at the national level have raised questions on guidance in supporting LGBTQ students within our nation’s schools. The purpose of this paper is threefold. First, it articulates the need for protections for this group of students. Second, it reviews the shift from previous (2016) guidance revised in February 2017 by staff from the newly appointed Departments of Education and Justice. It concludes with some suggestions for actions and procedures that districts might utilize to support students, teachers, and families so that this subgroup of children are included in the goal of “every student succeeding.” The content intentionally emphasizes supports for transgender students and families due to the aforementioned guidance shifts and increased recognition of these individuals within our schools. NEED FOR SUPPORTS. Studies have found that transgender and gender non-conforming (GNC) students experience physical violence and a hostile school environment at an even higher rate than their lesbian, gay, and bisexual counterparts (GLSEN, 2013). A 2013 national survey found more than 70 percent of students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) reported having been verbally harassed in the previous year, with 36 percent physically harassed, and 17 percent physically assaulted (GLSEN, 2014). These high rates of bullying correspond to adverse health and educational consequences. Transgender and GNC students experienced higher rates of verbal harassment and were twice as likely to report feeling unsafe at school than their cisgender peers (GLSEN, 2014). Another national survey, conducted in 2011, found that 51 percent of respondents who were harassed or bullied in school reported attempting suicide, compared to less than 2 percent of the general population (Grant, et al., 2011). Some students also suffered harassment so severe it led 15% to leave a K-12 or higher education school (Grant, et al., 2011). SHIFTING FEDERAL GUIDANCE. A shift in guidance from the Departments of Education and Justice came in February 2017 as a “Dear Colleague” letter rescinding a communication during the Obama Administration (May 2016) that specifically recognized gender identity in the Title IX federal law that bans sex discrimination in schools. The 2016 guidance letter specifically stated, “The Departments treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for purposes of Title IX and its implementing regulations. This means that a school must not treat a transgender student differently from the way it treats other students of the same gender identity. The Departments’ interpretation is consistent with courts’ and other agencies’ interpretations of Federal laws prohibiting sex discrimination” (USDOJ & USED OCR, 2016). As a result of Trump administration appointments and leadership changes within the Departments of Justice and Education, guidance published in 2017 rescinded the 2016 directive stating that, “…the Department of Education and the Department of Justice have decided to withdraw and rescind the abovereferenced guidance documents…” and “The Departments thus will not rely on the views expressed within them” (USDOJ & USED OCR, 2017). It is important to note, however, that while the more recent Dear Colleague Letter rescinds previous guidance, it also concludes with the following  statement, “Please note that this withdrawal of these guidance documents does not leave students without protections from discrimination, bullying, or harassment. All schools must ensure that all students, including LGBT students, are able to learn and thrive in a safe environment. The Department of Education Office for Civil Rights will continue its duty under law to hear all claims of discrimination and will explore every appropriate opportunity to protect all students and to encourage civility in our classrooms.” It also makes a noteworthy shift away from federal guidance on the issue, emphasizing a shift to state and local control. This is seen in the statement, “the Departments believe that, in this context, there must be due regard for the primary role of the States and local school districts in establishing educational policy” (USDOJ & USED OCR, 2017). The impact of this policy shift could be unfortunate in states that fail to provide guidance of their own to protect transgender students, or, in some states, pass laws that further stigmatize and cause harm to this group through laws that, as an example, require use of bathrooms “based on an individual’s birth certificate” or “as determined by a person’s chromosomes” (Dejean, 2017). Fortunately, an increasing number of states and local districts have, or are, in the process of adopting laws and/or policies that legislate protections and supports for LGBTQ students and their families. States with protective guidelines provide helpful direction for districts and schools that want to proactively address the challenges for students that, until now, many educators and parents have known little about. It is often only through direct experience and contact that school personnel begin to understand the trials experienced, and supports needed, for LGBTQ students. For states and districts where there is little guidance, a list of resources and references at the end of this paper can provide material for discussion, insight, and models for states and districts to consider. HOW TO BE PROACTIVE IN ADDRESSING CHALLENGES. Community and staff awareness and their reactions to LBGTQ issues can vary and sometimes be unpredictable. The topic can easily become a hot button issue for schools and districts. For this reason, being proactive is one strategy to consider for addressing school community reactions. While not necessarily an easy topic to raise, initiating dialogue and discussion before issues become personal can sometimes result in more productive and less reactionary responses than when dealing with urgent student matters after they have arisen. For some districts, however, the courage of individual LGBTQ students and families provides an essential catalyst for change within a community. In the Fall of 2017, the Harvard Ed Magazine article, “Goodwill Not Enough,” asked the question, “Are educators getting the training they need to better understand and support transgender students?” Within the article an important note is made by the principal of a regional high school who says, “Most of us have a close friend or family member who is gay, lesbian or bisexual while far fewer have a close friend or family member who is transgender. This can make it difficult to understand and support this group” (Hough, 2017). The following list, while not exhaustive, suggests some practices to build awareness and to promote more inclusive school environments for LGBTQ students and families. For School Boards and Community Members: • Proactively schedule information sessions for board and community members to provide opportunities for stakeholder dialogue and discussion. • Review, modify, or create school policy aligned with state and federal law. • Work with other local entities and organizations to promote greater community awareness and understanding. • Anticipate privacy and individual student needs when designing renovations or new building projects (e.g., consider adding gender-neutral facilities). For Administrators, Faculty, and Staff: • Provide professional learning opportunities on applicable laws, regulations, and the specific needs and concerns affecting lgbtq students. • Build awareness that student gender transitions are unique individual processes that can happen at any time and have implications relative to the privacy and supports desired by students and/or their families. • Define and identify roles and responsibilities for staff most likely to act as resources and guides when students, parents, or staff have questions or need support. • Develop and share talking points to help guide staff communications and maintain student confidentiality (Orr, Baum, et al., 2015). For Parents and Students: • Act proactively rather than reactively when addressing concerns. • Identify and communicate resources that students and families can access for support both within and outside of school (literature, support groups, counseling, etc.). • Support a student’s or family’s choice in how, or if, they want to disclose transgender status. • Develop systems and procedures to support individual students who might be fearful or choosing not to disclose to parents or family. For Everyone: • Identify districts, schools, and individuals who have already made progress dealing with the issues; schedule opportunities to learn from their experiences. • Schedule engagements and opportunities to hear from transgender individuals and/or their parents to develop greater staff and community understanding. CLOSING. Knowing that I have a transgender daughter, a friend was kind enough to send me a link to a radio broadcast that captured the hopes and desires I have for my daughter as well as so many other individuals and families experiencing similar realizations. In an essay written and read by Will, an 8th grade student, Will comments, “It took me a long time to realize and sort out who I really was. It was a realization, not a decision. The decision part camewith what I decided to do with my realization.” He goes on to say, “The support I received was absolutely incredible.... This experience has taught me to be thankful for the people who surround me, because so many people in my position are not as lucky. Being fully accepted is truly a miracle, a miracle I am living every day. A miracle I hope to continue to live, and I hope others get to live it too” (Malloy, 2016). There is much we can learn and do within our schools to help students like Will realize full acceptance. Will’s full essay broadcast can be accessed at Acknowledgments The content in this paper was developed and authored by Stephen Hamilton. Steve, a former principal and school board member in Vermont and Massachusetts is a parent of a transgender daughter. He can be reached at   Federal and State Guidance and Related Documents • May 2016 Dear Colleague Departments of Education and Justice Guidance Letter • February 2017 Dear Colleague Departments of Education and Justice Guidance Letter • Guidance to School Districts for Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students (New York State Education Department). • Arcadia, OCR, and DOJ Resolution Agreement. U.S. Department of Justice and Office for Civil Rights Resolution Agreement citing required corrective actions to be taken by the district. • Notification Letter to Arcadia (CA) Unified School District (U.S. Department of Justice, and Office for Civil Rights). Letter citing allegations of sex-based discrimination. Video and Audio Resources • Harvard EdCast With Jeff Perrotti, Director of the Massachusetts Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ students • Huffington Post Video. Debi Jackson speech given at the Unity Temple on the Plaza in Kansas City. Jackson shares the story of her daughter who, when four years old, transitioned from male to female. • YouTube Repost: • This I Believe Rhode Island: Acceptance (Will Malloy on Rhode Island Public Radio). Other Resources • Parents Families and Friends of Lesbian and Gays (PFLAG). Support for families, allies, and individuals about the unique issues and challenges facing people who are LGBTQ. • New York City Chapter: • Family Acceptance Project. A research, intervention, education, and policy initiative that works to prevent health and mental health risks for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children and youth.  • Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). National education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students.  • Gender Spectrum. Organization with mission to provide gender sensitive and inclusive environments for all children and teens through consultation, training, and events designed to help families, educators, professionals, and organizations understand and address the concepts of gender identity and expression.  • Goodwill Not Enough. (Ed., Harvard Ed Magazine). Article expounding on the question: Are educators getting the training they need to better understand and support transgender students?  • Schools In Transition: A Guide for Supporting Transgender Students in K–12 Schools (NCLR, Gender Spectrum, NEA, ACLU, and HRC Publication). Guide geared toward the needs of K–12 students, incorporating specific distinctions and recommendations.  • Supportive Families, Healthy Children (Family Acceptance Project, San Francisco State University). Information and support booklet for gay and transgender families. • Welcoming Schools. Organization that offers professional development tools, lessons aligned with the Common Core State Standards, and many additional resources for elementary schools on diversity, preventing bullying, and supporting transgender and gender expansive students REFERENCES Dejean, A. (2017), Mother Jones. Retrieved from: GLSEN. (2013). School Climate in New York (State Snapshot). New York: GLSEN. Retrieved from: GLSEN. (2014). 2013 National School Climate Survey: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth in Our Nation’s Schools. New York: GLSEN. Retrieved from: Grant, Jaime M., Lisa A. Mottet, Justin Tanis, Jack Harrison, Jody L. Herman, and Mara Keisling. Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. Washington: National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 2011. Retrieved from Greytak, E. A., Kosciw, J.G., and Diaz, E. M. (2009). Harsh Realities: The Experiences of Transgender Youth in Our Nation’s Schools. New York: GLSEN. Hough, L., Goodwill Not Enough, (Fall 2017). Ed., Harvard Ed Magazine. Retrieved from: Malloy, W., This I Believe Rhode Island: Acceptance (February, 2016). This I Believe Rhode Island with Frederic Reamer. Rhode Island Public Radio. Orr, A., Baum, J., et al. Schools In Transition: A Guide for Supporting Transgender Students in K–12 Schools, (August 2015) National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Gender Spectrum, National Education Association (NEA), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Retrieved from: United States Department of Justice (USDOJ), United States Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (ED OCR). (2016). Dear Colleague letter on transgender students. Washington, DC. Retrieved from: United States Department of Justice (USDOJ), United States Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (ED OCR). (2017). Dear Colleague letter. Retrieved from:    

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Post Image Supporting Homeless Students with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Homeless students face a number of barriers in receiving the education and services they need and deserve. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 increases protections and supports for homeless students that build on those in the McKinney-Vento Act. This webinar seeks to provide schools and school systems with an overview of what these changes look like. It discusses student homelessness and leave you with resources and strategies that can lead to improved educational experiences and outcomes for these students. Presenters

  • April Anderson, District McKinney Vento Liaison, Red Clay School District, DE
  • Valerie Ashton-Thomas, Coordinator, Homeless Education and Neglected, Delinquent and At-Risk Programs, Maryland State Department of Education
  • Jennifer PringleDirector, NYS-TEACHS, Advocates for Children of NY
Download Video of Supporting Homeless Students with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) from MAEC.

Post Image Teacher Behaviors that Encourage Student Persistence – Equity Audit

  This tool helps teachers measure their strengths in encouraging students' persistence in learning and marking areas for self-improvement. To download this, and the other Equity Audit tools, please go to MAEC's Equity Audit page.

Download: Teacher Behaviors that Encourage Student Persistence-2020-accessible

Post Image The Courage to Navigate a Path to School Integration

From changing policies to implementing strategies amidst public resistance, leaders working to advance socioeconomic integration in schools face many obstacles. In this webinar, participants will hear from one superintendent in Brooklyn, NY as she shares how she navigated various points in her district’s journey. Through examples at the preparation, planning, implementation, and reflection stages, we will learn how she sought to use the voices of all stakeholders to adapt and respond to each new challenge along the way. Learning Outcome: Participants will learn:

  • The life cycle of a socio-economic integration effort from preparation to planning to implementing to reflecting.
  • The role of courage in persevering on the journey of one school district in New York City that is leading a bold new socio-economic integration effort.
Presenters Downloads The Courage to Navigate a Path to School Integration

Post Image Title IX Coordinator Roles and Responsibilities

MAEC’s Title IX 2020 Regulations Series examines the impact of the recently-released Final Rule, which went into effect August 14, 2020. The Final Rule determines how schools navigate incidents of sexual harassment. The first document in our series, Title IX Coordinator Roles and Responsibilities, describes the updated roles and responsibilities of Title IX Coordinators in the K-12 space. This series examines the overall impact of the Title IX 2020 regulations and its specific impact on various positions. See:


Title IX Coordinator Roles and Responsibilities

LEGAL CITATION: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal finance assistance.”

- Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and its implementing regulation at 34 C.F.R. Part 106 (Title IX).

This document, originally created in 2018, describes the roles and responsibilities of Title IX Coordinators in the K-12 space. It has been updated to reflect the changes made by the U.S. Department of Education in the 2020 Regulations, which went into effect August 14, 2020. This document is intended for use by anyone who wishes to assess and ensure compliance with Title IX (e.g., district and state Title IX compliance officers, policy makers, and Title IX Coordinators). “Title IX Coordinator Roles and Responsibilities” is part of MAEC’s Title IX 2020 Regulations Series. This series examines the overall impact of the Title IX 2020 regulations and its specific impact on various positions. See “Title IX: Then and Now,” “Title IX: Decision-Maker Roles and Responsibilities,” “Title IX: Investigator Roles and Responsibilities,” and “Title IX: Grievance Procedures Flowchart.” Red signifies changes to Title IX practices and procedures due to the 2020 regulations.  

Designation of a Coordinator

A. School systems or other recipients of federal funds (including all public schools, charter schools and magnet schools), must designate at least one employee as the Title IX Coordinator to oversee compliance efforts and investigate any complaints of sex discrimination. This person must be referred to as the “Title IX Coordinator.” B. All students, employees, and parents or guardians must be notified of the name(s), title(s), email address(es), office address(es), and telephone number(s) of the designated coordinator(s) of Title IX.

Dissemination of Policy

The school district’s policy of nondiscrimination must be prominently included in each student handbook, bulletin, catalog, booklet, announcement, brochure, student application form or other publication distributed to students, potential students, parents, employees, affiliated unions, and any other persons benefiting from the school district’s activities and programs. This information must also be published online in a prominent location (e.g., the school’s website). The name, office address, and telephone number of the Title IX Coordinator must also be included in this announcement. In short, parents and guardians, students, school and district employees, vendors, and volunteers must be given the contact information for the Title IX Coordinator and provided with access to available information and procedures for filing complaints.

Monitoring Compliance

The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for monitoring the overall implementation of Title IX for the school district and coordinates the institution’s compliance with Title IX in all areas covered by the implementing regulations. Their major responsibility is the prevention of sexual harassment and discrimination. Other major monitoring duties include, but are not limited to, the following: Admissions - admissions and recruitment Education Programs and Activities - housing, comparable facilities, access to course offerings [traditional and nontraditional], access to schools operated by the school district, counseling and related materials, financial assistance, employment assistance, health services and insurance, marital/parental status, athletics, discipline, student policies and procedures Employment in Education Programs and Activities - employment criteria, recruitment, compensation, job classification, fringe benefits, marital or parental status, advertising, pre-employment activities Additional consideration should be given to the following:
  • Develop a committee to assist in meeting Title IX obligations.
  • Train all school employees on Title IX compliance. With the new 2020 regulations, all employees in K-12 schools that receive federal funding are required to become federally mandated reporters.
  • Inform all K-12 employees that they must forward all possible Title IX violations to the Title IX Coordinator(s). Counselors can no longer maintain client confidentiality; they must forward any relevant information to the Title IX Coordinator.
  • Facilitate a meeting with employees that work with the school. Title IX covers off-campus conduct that is affiliated with the institution. The Title IX Coordinator needs to inform anyone who is involved in overseeing, supervising, funding, sponsoring, promoting, or endorsing school-affiliated activities that their area is included within the Title IX jurisdiction.
  • Arrange to have a Title IX Equity Coordinator in each school building to enable better monitoring of Title IX in individual schools leaving the District Title IX Coordinator to take care of the district as a whole.
  • Participate in the development and implementation of the school system’s sexual harassment policy. Be aware of new needs which may dictate changes or revisions in existing policies or practices. For example, since sexual harassment is a violation of Title IX, include a prohibition of sexual harassment in the school district’s list of disciplinary infractions.
  • Assist faculty, counselors and administrators in complying with Title IX and when a need arises, plan remedial actions. For example, if females are underrepresented in advanced mathematics, science, or computer programming courses, ask the faculty to plan for several workshops, student tutorial services, or other ways to increase enrollment of females in these courses.
  • Increase visibility in the community by disseminating civil rights information or by speaking at parent-teacher group meetings, social or professional organization meetings, and other community functions.
  • Serve as a resource to the local superintendent of schools on Title IX gender issues. Submit annual reports on Title IX compliance activities to the district school superintendent.
  • Monitor and evaluate the district’s Title IX compliance efforts and make recommendations for any appropriate changes.
  • Develop a record-keeping system for Title IX documents related to trainings, investigations, hearings, informal resolutions, supportive measures, and other processes. All records must be maintained and made available for the related parties for at least seven years.

Grievance Procedures

Adoption and publication of procedures providing prompt and equitable resolution of complaints is critical. The regulations in 2020 state that recipients must respond in a manner that is not “deliberately indifferent” once informed about sexual harassment allegations. Federal regulations require that Title IX Coordinators must not unreasonably respond to Title IX grievances. The “not unreasonable” standard is the minimum; Title IX Coordinators should respond in a reasonable and timely manner. Grievance procedures and nondiscrimination policies must be made public. Develop Title IX grievance procedures for students and teachers in cooperation with local student service and human resources staff. Give public notice of the procedures and the name and contact information of the school system Title IX Coordinator. Have copies of the grievance procedure and any related forms available to students, parents, and school personnel alleging sexual harassment or discrimination. Assist them in filing their grievance and oversee the step-by-step procedure to be sure that time frames are met. In order to officially begin the Title IX grievance procedures, the Title IX Coordinator must sign the formal complaint of sexual harassment allegations, inform both parties of the formal complaint of sexual harassment allegations, and present the option for an informal resolution. In addition, the Title IX Coordinator must provide a better understanding of the grievance based on Title IX to those administrative personnel who need this information. All records of all grievances must be filed. Remember, these files need to be kept for at least seven years. In carrying out this responsibility, the Title IX Coordinator will work with an Investigator, who investigates any formal complaint filed under the institution’s grievance procedures. If necessary, the Title IX Coordinator can serve as the Investigator. If the Title IX Coordinator does not conduct the investigation of complaints, they should receive information about any grievance filed. This will allow the institution to identify any patterns; repeat offenders that may be missed when grievances are handled by several individuals. The investigation serves to validate or dismiss the allegations of sexual harassment. A Decision-Maker (independent of the Title IX Coordinator or the Investigator) must provide a written detailed decision to both parties. The Title IX Coordinator should also receive sufficient information throughout the process so that they can provide guidance or information to ensure that the institution carries out its responsibilities under Title IX.

Responsibilities Of Title IX Coordinators During the Grievance Procedure

  • Coordinate supportive measures for the complainant in order to restore and/or preserve equal access to their education program or activity.
  • Present both parties with the option of an informal resolution and be prepared to facilitate the process.
  • Be informed about the 2020 regulations, especially regarding the distinct roles of Investigator and Decision-Maker.
  • Facilitate training for the Investigator and Decision-Maker. The Title IX Coordinator cannot serve as the Decision-Maker.
  • Oversee the investigation process ensuring that both parties receive notice of the allegations, both parties have equal opportunities to present facts and evidence, and that the Investigator follows the time frames as listed in the new regulations.
  • Ensure that all involved parties (complainant and respondent) have advisors. This role can be filled by parents or guardians, lawyers, or other adults. The Title IX Coordinator cannot be the advisor.
  • Presume that the respondent is innocent. Confirm that the Investigator and Decision-Maker include this presumption as they conduct their work.
  • Present both parties with the option to have a hearing. Remind both parties of the new requirement for written determinations, which will include the outcome and rationale of the decision(s).
  • Dismiss allegations that do not meet the Final Rule’s definition of sexual harassment, do not occur within the school’s education program or activity, or do not occur in the United States. Ensure that all parties receive written notice of the dismissal along with the reasons for the dismissal. Title IX Coordinators can also dismiss complaints if the complainant withdraws the formal complaint in writing, and/or if the respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the institution.
The Title IX coordinator should also be sufficiently knowledgeable about the requirements of the regulations to advise the institution about policies and practices, which may violate Title IX.

Core Responsibilities of Title IX Coordinators

  • Develop a working knowledge of the federal Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 law and its implementation regulations. Have a copy of Title IX readily available and understand the requirements and the intent of the law. Keep informed of current research, and legal and judicial decisions related to Title IX and gender equity.
  • Be informed about state laws, regulations and policies on all equity issues; including bullying and harassment, and child abuse laws.
  • Be knowledgeable of federal and state laws (e.g., ADA, Section 504, IDEA) prohibiting discrimination against all protected classes (including race, religion, and sexual orientation) and assist whenever possible.
  • Be sure female and male students participating in work-based learning programs are guaranteed equal treatment by their employers.
  • Coordinate with other staff to document an internal self-evaluation of practices and policies with respect to treatment of female and male students. If the evaluation was completed by a previous Title IX Coordinator, determine if the evaluation’s suggestions for eliminating segregation and discrimination were carried out.
  • Provide program development (including in-service training) to eliminate sex discrimination in the district. The new regulations require informing students and staff of district policies and procedures on sexual harassment. This can be done through a schoolwide in-service or assembly on sexual harassment. Gender-segregated classes in workforce development education courses should prompt Title IX Coordinators to plan special on-going activities for lessening students’ gender-role stereotypes.
  • Attend state and national conferences specifically for Title IX Coordinators and on gender equity issues, and share the information with local administrators, staff, and faculty.
Adapted from the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Boston Regional Office; North Carolina State Board of Education; and the New Hampshire Department of Education. Updated in August, 2020 to reflect the U.S. Department of Education Title IX Final Rule regulations.

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Post Image Title IX Decision-Maker Roles and Responsibilities

This document describes the roles and responsibilities of Decision-Makers in the K-12 space. It was created to reflect the changes made by the U.S. Department of Education in the Final Rule regulations, which went into effect August 14, 2020. This document is intended for use by anyone who wishes to assess and ensure compliance with Title IX (e.g., Decision-Makers, district and state Title IX compliance officers, policy makers, and Title IX Coordinators). Decision-Maker Roles and Responsibilities is part of the Title IX 2020 Regulations series. This series examines the overall impact of the Title IX 2020 regulations and its specific impact on various positions. See other documents in the series:

Decision-Maker Roles and Responsibilities

LEGAL CITATION: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal finance assistance.” —Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and its implementing regulation at 34 C.F.R. Part 106 (Title IX)

Core Responsibilities of the Decision-Maker

The Title IX regulations of 2020 created the position of Decision-Maker to separate the determination of guilt or innocence from the investigative process. The Decision-Maker is effectively the judge of Title IX cases: They preside over hearings, if applicable, and issue the verdict in the form of written determinations. Decision-Makers monitor the questioning and cross-examination process and identify irrelevant questions. At the end of the process, they weigh the evidence to determine if it meets the school’s standard of sexual harassment allegations. Decision-Makers produce a written statement to both parties describing their verdict. Like judges, Decision-Makers cannot have a conflict of interest or bias for or against any member in the proceedings. The Title IX Coordinator should vet Decision-Makers prior to their designation in this role.

Mandatory Training

School districts need to ensure that they train the Decision-Maker, Investigator, and Title IX Coordinator in preparation for their roles in the Title IX grievance procedure. This training must include the following:
  • the definition of sexual harassment
  • the scope of the school’s education program or activity
  • how to conduct an investigation and grievance process (including hearings, appeals, and informal resolution processes)
  • how to serve impartially (including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias)
The Decision-Maker needs to receive two additional pieces of training:
  • any technology to be used at a live hearing
  • issues addressing relevance of questions and evidence during the live hearing

Grievance Procedures: Questioning Process

Decision-Makers must allow each party to ask relevant and follow-up questions to the other party and any witnesses. If the parties choose to have a hearing; cross-examination must be done directly, orally, and in real time by the party’s advisor. The parties do not need to be in the same room, but all must have technology that enables the Decision-Maker(s) and parties to see and hear the party or witness answering questions. If the parties do not have a hearing, Decision-Makers must allow each party the opportunity to question other parties and witnesses. Parties can submit written, relevant questions: The Decision-Maker will share the answers, and parties are allowed to ask follow-up questions. If the Decision-Maker identifies a question as “irrelevant,” they must explain their reasoning. Should any party or witness not participate in cross-examination during a live hearing, the Decision-Maker cannot use any part of their testimony in reaching final determination regarding responsibility. The hearing and/or questioning should be conducted within a “reasonably prompt” time frame.

Written Determination

Decision-Makers must share their written determination with both parties simultaneously. The written determination must include the six following components:
  • identification of the sexual harassment allegations
  • a description of the grievance procedure steps taken
  • findings and evidence that support the determination
  • conclusions regarding the application of the recipient’s code of conduct to the facts
  • a statement of and rationale for the results for each allegation, including:
    • determining responsibility: if the respondent’s alleged actions broke school policy
    • for the respondent: any disciplinary sanctions that the school imposes
    • for the complainant: any remedies (provided by the school) designed to restore or preserve equal access to the school’s education program or activity
  • permissible grounds for appeal, as well the school’s appeal procedures

Appeals Process

If one or both of the parties appeals the determination, the school must use a different Decision-Maker to preside over the appeal process. The Decision-Maker will offer both parties the opportunity to submit a written statement explaining why they support or challenge the determination. After reading their statements and reviewing the evidence and findings from the grievance procedure, the appeals Decision-Maker will issue a written determination, which they will provide to both parties simultaneously. Adapted from the U.S. Department of Education Title IX Final Rule regulations.

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Post Image Title IX Investigator Roles and Responsibilities

This document describes the roles and responsibilities of Investigators in the K-12 space. It was created to reflect the changes made by the U.S. Department of Education in the Final Rule regulations, which went into effect August 14, 2020. This document is intended for use by anyone who wishes to assess and ensure compliance with Title IX (e.g., Investigators, district and state Title IX compliance officers, policy makers, and Title IX Coordinators).  Investigator Roles and Responsibilities is part of the Title IX 2020 Regulations series. This series examines the overall impact of the Title IX 2020 regulations and its specific impact on various positions. See:

Investigator Roles and Responsibilities

LEGAL CITATION: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal finance assistance.” —Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and its implementing regulation at 34 C.F.R. Part 106 (Title IX) 

Designation of an Investigator 

A. School systems or other recipients of federal funds (including all public schools, charter schools and magnet schools), must designate at least one employee as the investigator to investigate sexual harassment allegations in Title IX cases. B. The investigator can be a contracted employee, a member of the school community, or even the Title IX Coordinator. The Investigator cannot also be the Decision-Maker.

Core Responsibilities of the Investigator

The Investigator bears the burden of gathering evidence in order to (1) determine if the sexual harassment allegations meet Title IX standards, and (2) provide the Decision-Maker with evidence with which to base the written determination of responsibility at the end of the grievance procedure. The Investigator is responsible for conducting interviews with all parties and witnesses, sharing investigative evidence with all parties for their review, and writing the investigative report. The investigative report cannot recommend a determination for the Decision-Maker. The Investigator cannot have a conflict of interest with, or bias for or against any member in the proceedings.

Mandatory Training

School districts need to ensure that they train the Decision-Maker, Investigator, and Title IX Coordinator in preparation for their roles in the Title IX grievance procedure. This training must include the following:
  • the definition of sexual harassment the scope of the school’s education program or activity
  • how to conduct an investigation and grievance process (including hearings, appeals, and informal resolution processes)
  • how to serve impartially (including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias)
The Investigator needs to receive one additional piece of training:
  • issues of relevance to create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence

Before the Investigation

The investigation cannot begin until both the complainant and the respondent receive a Notice of Investigation/Allegation (NOIA). The NOIA must include the following information:
  • details of the allegations including identities of the parties involved, date(s) of the incident(s), location(s) of the incident(s), the conduct that would be considered sexual harassment, the specific section(s) of the policy alleged to have been violated
  • a statement that the respondent is presumed “not responsible” for the conduct until the Decision-Maker makes a determination
  • a statement that all parties are allowed to have an advisor
Remember, throughout the investigation, the Investigator must presume innocence of all parties. If during the investigation, additional allegations arise between the complainant and the respondent, the Investigator will need to provide another NOIA to the involved parties.

Investigation of a Formal Complaint

The Investigator may wish to coincide the NOIA with the written notice to the parties of their upcoming interviews. Written notice should include the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all interviews. This written notice should be sent far enough in advance so that the parties have ample time to prepare for the interview. Throughout the investigative process, the Investigator should ensure that parties have equal opportunities at every step to
  • inspect and review evidence,
  • invite their respective advisors to the interviews,
  • and present witnesses and evidence.
Before the Investigator writes the investigative report, they must send all evidence in a digital or hard-copy format to each party and the party’s advisor. All parties will have at least 10 days to submit a written response to the evidence. After the 10 days, the Investigator must create an investigative report to summarize relevant evidence and review the investigation stage, taking into consideration each party’s responses. This report must present evidence without any recommendation for the Decision-Maker. The investigative report should include the following:
  • identification of the grievance procedure steps taken
  • description of witnesses interviewed and their final statements
  • corroborative and contradictory evidence, as well as documentation of evidence
  • summary, including the findings
This report must be sent, in a digital or hard-copy format and at least 10 days before a hearing or whenever the Decision-Maker will review the evidence, to each party and their advisors for their review and written response. The Decision-Maker will use the investigative report to determine responsibility of the respondent.   Adapted from the U.S. Department of Education Title IX Final Rule regulations.

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Post Image Using Data Inquiry to Advance Equity

Engaging in data inquiry through an equity lens can help us better understand problems of practice - and identify solutions - that make schools more equitable. This webinar demonstrates the benefits of putting equity at the center of data use in schools and shares the publication that the Center for Education Equity (CEE) created to support districts and schools to engage in data inquiry. Presenters  include members of a data inquiry team in Massachusetts who are using CEE’s Data Inquiry Guide for Exploring Equity Issues and Solutions in their school district. Learning Outcomes:

  • Processes and tools to identify equity while generating effective solutions; and
  • How to access and use CEE’s The Data Inquiry Guide for Exploring Equity Issues and Solutions​​​​​
  • Susan Mundry Senior Program Director at WestEd; author of The Data Coach's Guide to Improving Learning for All Students
  • Susan Villani Senior Program Associate at WestEd; lead author of CEE’s Data Inquiry Guide for Exploring Equity Issues and Solutions;
  • Dawn Bentley Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, Acton-Boxborough Regional School District, MA;
  • Dana Labb Principal of the Blanchard Memorial Elementary School, Acton-Boxborough Regional School District, MA;
  • ​​​​​​​David Green  High School Social Studies Teacher, Acton-Boxborough Regional School District, MA;
  • Heather Haines ​​​​​​​K-6 Mathematics Curriculum Coordinator, Acton-Boxborough Regional School District, MA.
  Video of Using Data Inquiry to Advance Equity from MAEC. Speaker 1: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Today's conference will begin in a moment. Please continue standing by and thank you, everyone for your patience. Speaker 1: (Silence). Nyla Bell: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Using Data Inquiry to Advance Equity webinar. Our webinar presenters for today will be Susan Mundry, she's a Senior Program Director at WestEd. Susan Villani, she's a Senior Program Associate at WestEd and for the Center for Education Equity at MAEC. Dawn Bentley, she is Assistant Superintendent for Student Services for the Acton-Boxborough regional school district in Massachusetts. Dana Labb, she's a Principal at the Blanchard Memorial elementary school, also at the Acton-Boxborough regional school district. David Green, he's a Social Studies Department Chairperson at the Acton-Boxborough regional high school and Acton-Boxborough regional school district. And last but not least is Heather Haines, she's a K-6 Mathematics Curriculum Coordinator for the Acton-Boxborough regional school district. Nyla Bell: Your facilitator today will be me. I'm Nyla Bell. I'm the Senior Education Equity Specialist at the Center for Education Equity at MAEC and Pamela MacDougall, she serves as our IT facilitator. You won't see her face, but you may see her name pop up in your chat or Q&A box, which we will discuss momentarily. She's a Research Assistant with Learning Innovations at WestEd. Nyla Bell: Today's webinar is being hosted by the Center for Education Equity (CEE). CEE is a project of MAEC Inc. in partnership with WestEd and the American Institutes for Research. CEE is one of four regional equity assistance centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education under Title IV of the Civil Rights act of 1964. Nyla Bell: CEE serves Region I, covering states from Maryland all the way up to Maine and Puerto Rico and The Virgin Islands. CEE's goals are to improve and sustain the systemic capacity of public education systems to address problems caused by segregation and inequity, and to increase equitable educational opportunities for all students, regardless of race, gender, religion, and national origin. CEE serves to provide technical assistance and training to states, district, schools and community-based organizations within Region I at the request of school boards and other responsible governmental agencies. Nyla Bell: This webinar is part of a monthly series that CEE publishes called "Exploring Equity Issues," and each issue includes a brief. Sometimes webinars, practitioner blog, and sometimes the community of practice. Nyla Bell: For today's webinar we ask that the audience, you all listening and joining us today, to use the Q&A box if you have any questions. Feel free to type in your questions at any point during the webinar, we will pause at various points to answer them. You can also use the chat box to share your comments and/or to engage other participants during the webinar. At the end of the webinar, we were asking you to complete a brief survey. The survey will pop up in a window after the webinar concludes. On the occasion when a website is referenced during the presentation, a link to the website may be posted in the chat box for you to copy and explore after the webinar concludes. And then lastly, for those that need it, closed captioning services can be accessed using the box on the right-hand side of your screen. Nyla Bell: At this time, it's my pleasure to turn the presentation over to Susan Mundry. Susan Mundry: Thank you, Nyla and good afternoon to all of our participants. Welcome. We're delighted today to share with you some processes and tools that we've developed that are particularly helpful in identifying equity issues and problems related to equity. When sometimes you might not even know they're related to equity, but then to examine them and generate some effective solutions. We'll be talking about how we've done that with data teams. And I am especially delighted that we will hear from the Acton-Boxborough regional school district in Massachusetts that has engaged in this work and learn from their experience. I will also provide you with some information on the tool kit that the Center for Educational Equity has developed that you can use to explore equity issues and solutions in your own sites. Susan Mundry: So we're hoping that it's beneficial to you and that you can gain from our experience and from our tools. I will give a brief overview of the rationale and the making the case for why we advocate for putting equity at the center of data use, and then turn it over to my colleague, Susan Villani, who will introduce the tool kit that we developed, and then engage in dialogue with Acton-Boxborough team to share their experiences with all of you. The work that we are doing is really aimed at several outcomes that are all in the service of better meeting student needs and better serving all students. By engaging educators and using data inquiry, where they dig deep into questions about current practice and policies and how they may influence outcomes, but in putting an equity lens on that inquiry, we are able to strengthen the capacity of our faculty and other stakeholders, family members, community members for identifying problems and beginning to solve problems, think about how we address them. Susan Mundry: This type of inquiry deepens understanding of what is an equitable school and classroom. And in some ways, the reason why I like to talk about it as an equity lens is we learn to see things that maybe were hidden to us. We didn't notice before because we weren't really looking for equity. Third, the data teams use lots of sources of data, not just school data, but input from families, student voices, so that they get a more complete picture of some of the inequities that may exist in the school. And then there's some sort of dispositions that really come out in the process of using data with an equity lens. One is that people learn to presume positive intentions, and I'll touch on that in a little bit, open their eyes to hidden inequities and build ownership for really solving this problem. Susan Mundry: We think that addressing, looking at your data systematically with an equity lens really helps to bring up some of these strengths that we need to better serve all students. With respect to the first point of strengthening our capacity for problem solving, the approach that we have developed and are using through the Center for Educational Equity is to engage data teams and using a data inquiry process that starts with identifying potential issues of problems that may be going on in your school or district. People ask themselves, what do we think may be problematic for us? Do we perhaps have some chronic absenteeism? What's happening with our discipline? Why are certain children not achieving at the levels that we expect? And start to think about those problems and identify questions about the problems that we're interested in exploring. Susan Mundry: Now, do we have chronic absenteeism? Why is it that children don't want to come to school? Or are there systemic issues such as those children live in a part of the city where transportation is unreliable or there are serious family issues going on. But [inaudible 00:09:21] really start to think about those problems and raise questions from them. But we don't stop there. We then identify multiple sources of data to explore what could be contributing to this problem. And what in particular, a lot of data teams might stop there and throw up their hands and say, "Well, gee, we have a problem that's out of our control." A transportation problem, or a family crisis problem or something else that we really can't change. But instead we asked data teams to explore what conditions that the school or district actually has some control or influence over can we change to improve student experiences and outcome. Susan Mundry: And when you start to shift the conversation to things we have control over, it can really take us into much more productive places. Data teams then set specific goals that they believe can address the problem and create a plan and engage in a cycle of improvement as the plan is implemented, continuing to use data along the way. This type of data inquiry and developing a team that goes through that process also includes helping the team members to deepen their own understanding of what is an equitable school and classroom. Start to think about more broadly, what are the practices one would see in an equitable school? And, as I said, it's almost like peeling back the layers of the onion. You start to get deeper and deeper into thinking about what would a school look like if it was truly equitable? Susan Mundry: A tool that we provide to help with that process is a set of criteria for assessing equity. This tool, which is available from the Center for Educational Equity, lays out seven specific areas related to the school and multiple criteria for the data team to look at and think about as it assesses its own inquiry, excuse me, it's equity process. The tool looks at, as I mentioned, seven areas looking at school policy, how our school policies potentially influence the equity in our school, do we have specific policies around equity. Looks at school organization and administration. Do we have the data that we need to track on and understand how children are doing across multiple outcome areas and indicators, and to be able to intervene early and identify. Maybe all children don't have access to advanced coursework. Maybe all children are not being treated fairly when it comes to student suspensions. But having this data enables us to dig into some of those questions in a team in a supportive environment where we can explore those questions and really learn how effective we are in providing equitable access and opportunity for all students. Susan Mundry: In school climate, looking at the welcoming of all children into the school and those other areas is also critical. And then four other areas that are included in this tool, which is available to you, and I think we'll put the link to this tool in the chat so that you can download it and use it yourself. And looking at our staff. So a major part of the federal requirement is that schools and districts are providing equitable access to quality teachers. So looking at who is the faculty, how are they distributed across your district? Susan Mundry: These are all questions that when we use data to assess equity, start to come into focus and may reveal, as I said, some of those what can be hidden equity issues. These other three areas also provide, there are, I've only given you examples here, but in the tool that, which is now in the chat there, you can download the link, provides multiple criteria for each of these areas and is a tool to help data teams think much more broadly as they're looking at data. How do we assess equity? So the data teams, in addition to learning what is an equitable school, they also learn to use multiple sources of data. And now 15 years ago, I guess it is that I began working in the area of supporting data teams. And at that time we focused very much on student performance data, end of year data in Massachusetts. Susan Mundry: We started looking at the achievement scores and then later the M-cast. And it was, well, everyone could look at and graph who's learning and how they're learning. What we were finding is that we were not really getting early enough data to make a difference and to intervene early. And so getting multiple points along the school year, where you can look at performance is critical, but then looking at some non-academic data. So attendance data, input from families and students themselves, to inform the school around, what are, back to our inquiry process, given the data that we're looking at, what do we think are potentially some problems that we need to explore that would improve equity in our school? Susan Mundry: Multiple other data sources include also looking really carefully at who's being disciplined, how are they being disciplined? And my colleague, Susan Villani had been working in some districts in New York this past year and help those districts discover that some children, due to the discipline data, were out of school such a significant amount of time each year, that they had no chance to learn. And so thinking about what are the alternatives to suspension and keeping students in school and making sure your discipline is equitable. Susan Mundry: So those are just some of the overall outcomes that the data teams have had in terms of their own learning, in terms of enhancing the practice so that they are digging deeply into equity issues and problems. And we want to make the case for all school districts to use data teams that are using an equity lens because we believe that it improves student outcomes. There has been some research that indicates that using data inquiry teams and using teams of instructional staff who inquire into their practice is associated with improved student learning outcomes. The issue is that it's not a one-time let's get together and look at our data when it's ready in the fall from last year, but rather more of an ongoing, over time activity that allows our staff to know their data, explore the problems in the data, and then actually take action to change things. Susan Mundry: And then another piece of evidence is in the using data model, which some of my colleagues developed. There was a randomized, experimental study of that. And when teachers use that process of data inquiry in data teams after one year it improves their own practices, and then after a longer period of two years that student's outcomes are shown to improve. So we believe that data teams and data teams using an equity lens is a best practice and in working with schools and districts, that needs to be a critical part of the overall approach to quality education. Susan Mundry: Just a final note about data inquiry teams themselves, when staff come together to learn the inquiry process, they begin to assume norms and dispositions are presuming positive intentions about the children and their families. Back in the beginning of using data, as I mentioned before, very often data teams said, "well, these are problems we can't do anything about." They're not that the children haven't had opportunities or that we have so many barriers to addressing the issues. When you put on this lens, instead, teams adopt really a problem solving approach, presume positive intentions and thoughts about their children and families, and look for solutions that are within the control of the school and the district. Susan Mundry: By engaging in the inquiry process and asking the questions about equity, such as the ones I showed you in the criteria for assessing equity, they begin to see these, what I call the hidden inequities, the things that maybe you can explain a way by other reasons, but actually if we were a more equitable school we would address, and it builds a leadership and ownership in the district and school for looking for and addressing inequities when we see them. So we think those are all critical, important skills. And based on that, really decided that it would be helpful to develop the tool kit that Susan Villani is going to talk with you about today and to begin working with school districts in the region that the equity assistance center serves which is from Maine to Puerto Rico and The Virgin islands to support more data inquiry teams to come together. Susan Mundry: So, let me stop there and pass it over to Nyla to see if there are any questions before we hear from Susan Villani. Susan Mundry: (Silence). Susan Mundry: And Nyla may be on mute so let me just jump in - Nyla Bell: I'm here. I'm sorry. Thank you, Susan Mundry. Please take a moment to type any questions you have in the Q&A chat box, or the Q&A box, not the chat box on the right panel of your screen. We'll just pause for a couple of seconds and see if anyone has any questions. Nyla Bell: (Silence). Nyla Bell: Okay. So we have one question from [Sangha Kim 00:21:41], and she asks, "can you explain how it is created?" Susan Mundry: The data team? Is that what the "it" is referring to? Nyla Bell: I'm going to assume that that's what she means. Susan Mundry: So I'll say just a minute maybe about that, but then offer that our colleagues from the Acton-Boxborough school district who are with us today, will talk a little bit about how they formed their team and began their work. But typically, the school or district will identify a group of, a multi-stakeholder group, including teachers, leaders, like school leaders, curriculum directors, teacher leaders, and often parents or community members to come together and be their school data team. Can be only one in the school. You can have multiple ones across different grade levels, and they are often charged- Susan Mundry: Different grade levels. And they are often charged with supporting an overall school improvement plan for that school. So being the group that identifies and solves and addresses some of that areas of problem or issues that the school wants to improve on. Those individuals are invited to participate and then are given some background in terms of learning to use data, analyze data, interpret data. We often also, in addition to reviewing criteria for equitable schools, do some additional background work with them around what is equity? What is equity dispositions? What is cultural competence? Depending on the particular district and what they need. And then, over time, they meet regularly to engage in the process that I showed on the prior slide of raising their questions, identifying data, investigating the potential problems, and generating solutions. So that's generally how they're formed and how they begin their work. Nyla Bell: And we have another question from Abner Oakes, and I have a nurse says, "Thanks for the presentation. How long do you engage with the district for this work?" Susan Mundry: That varies. It depends in terms of sometimes it is to get it up and running. And then, the goal is for the local leadership to keep it going and to sustain it. And that might be over one school year. But in other situations, we have worked with districts over multiple years as this actual facilitator of the team. So it does vary. But the whole... the big point is to keep it going, keep it sustained, make sure that it's not just a flash in the pan one-time thing. But rather it becomes part of the ongoing work within the school and district. But that's the way we do business. We come together, we reflect on what our problems are. We look at data, and we seek solutions. Nyla Bell: We have two more questions, actually, three more questions. We may not have time to answer all of them [inaudible 00:25:43]. We can try and get to two more. And then, depending on where we're at in time, revisit the question that hasn't been answered [inaudible 00:25:51] later on in the presentation. So our next question is from [inaudible 00:25:55], who asks, "Do you have a toolkit that can be applied to the classroom?" Susan Mundry: The short answer is yes. And maybe if we have time for more questions at the end, we can describe that when Susan Villani introduces the tool kit, she can talk a little bit about that. How what we've developed is what I would say a process that can really be applied to all aspects of the school. Whether it's a equitable issue you want to investigate in a classroom about student engagement or messages or expectations are some of the things that you would see in a classroom, or whether it's at a more district or school level. I think it's applicable either way. Maybe we'll say that and the rest of the questions for later. So we can introduce the toolkit and then hear from a team that's actually done all this that we're talking about. Nyla Bell: Okay. So an [inaudible 00:27:03] asked [inaudible 00:27:04] more questions. We will get to those questions later on in our presentation, but this time we're going to move forward. And it's my pleasure to pass the presentation over to our next presenter, Dr. Susan Villani. Dr. Susan Villani: Hello everyone. I'm very glad to be able to talk with you a little bit about the toolkit that we've developed and which we are piloting. And thank you, Susan, for setting the stage in terms of all the things we were thinking about when we wanted to create the toolkit. Toolkit is research-based. The process is research-based and the focus of the toolkit, the Data Guide we call it. It's really to assist educators and community members, parents, family, all to be thinking about how to be looking at data with this focus on equity. I do want to answer the quick question about whether there's any kind of guide for classrooms. And the quick answer is yes. Just as the link is for looking at schools in districts, there's also a tool at the Center for Education Equity and Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium. And we can put that link up also for classrooms. Dr. Susan Villani: So what we were interested in doing in setting up this Data Inquiry Guide is to have a set of materials that were accessible, that are accessible to teachers in the classroom. To curriculum coordinators. To school administrators. To central office administrators. Also, to parents and community members who should be an important part of this process. And so, in our toolkit, we have several sections, and I apologize, but this is not larger. The first section makes the case, and this is similar to what Susan Mundry shared. There's research about the importance of this. And there are also compelling reasons why it is so important to use an equity lens. In our second section, we describe a Data Inquiry Cycle. This is not a new cycle. It stands on the shoulders of giants, including our Susan Mundry and others. And so, we've created an easy-to-follow Data Inquiry Cycle. Dr. Susan Villani: And then, we gave examples through an example that might be happening in a school around discipline and discipline data. So after we described each of the steps in the Data Inquiry Cycle, then we modeled how would in that particular made up school, how would they follow the different steps so that they might uncover more about what the discipline data was able to tell them most importantly, so they could together create solutions to make the school more equitable for all students. The third section has some worksheets, and it's a way for a team in the school to try to start to practice what would this cycle look like? And so they can envision, if we were doing this step, what might we be thinking of. And here is some guidance questions and some things to be careful to avoid, so that it's a worksheet for different steps in the Data Cycle. Dr. Susan Villani: The fourth section has three more examples of ways that equity issues can play out in schools in terms of school climate. In terms of LGBTQ issues. In terms of EL issues. And when I say issues, I mean around different populations, there may be inequities that are preventing the students from feeling comfortable in the school, their families feeling comfortable in the school, getting the education that they need, getting the supports they need. Many of the things that Susan mentioned. And so in addition to the example that we gave in section two, we gave three more equity examples. Our thinking is not only do they model how those fictitious schools might be looking at those issues in their schools through the Data Inquiry Cycle. But also our hope is that perhaps readers will say, "Actually, that's happening in our school. Wait a minute. This is very relevant to the work that we need to be doing." Dr. Susan Villani: And then, in section five, we have some resources for different aspects of this work. There are many, many resources, and I think sometimes Inquiry Teams could get overwhelmed with so many things that are out there. And so we tried to call and make their resources in our section five the most directly applicable to this data inquiry work with the focus on equity. So at the end of this webinar, my contact information will be listed, and you are invited to contact me if you are interested in having access to this toolkit to this Data Inquiry Guide. We'd like to talk and find out what you're interested. It's in the pilot stage. And I will be very happy to send you the pilot version and to stay in touch to find out how you're using it and what issues may be coming up for you. It's possible that through the Center for Education Equity, we may be able to provide some technical assistance, or it might be that with a phone call and some intermittent communication, you have what you need in this guide to get started with this work. Dr. Susan Villani: We also want to say that we know that many educators are familiar with using data. And so the purpose of this guide is to help them go deeper into Data Inquiry with this focus on equity. And so it's my pleasure to turn us to thinking about how this has been working in the last school year in Acton-Boxborough Regional School District, which is in Massachusetts. And as you'll see, the vision and mission of Acton-Boxborough are right to the heart of the work that we're talking about. So I'd like to introduce you to Dr. Dawn Bentley. Please tell us just a little bit about your vision and mission and your team. And then, we'll learn more about how you've been doing this process in Acton-Boxborough. Dr. Dawn Bentley: Thanks, Susan. Hello, everyone. Welcome. A few years ago, the district redesigned and reviewed, and engaged in a process to sort of revamp the mission, vision, and values. And that's what you see here before you. Wellness, equity engagement are our three core values and really guide the work that we are engaged in. And you can say that our vision is to provide high-quality educational opportunities for our learners. And we, of course, want to develop engaged, well-balanced learners through collaboration and relationships. Dr. Susan Villani: So what [crosstalk 00:34:27]- Dr. Susan Villani: I'm sorry, please. Go right ahead. Dr. Dawn Bentley: Go ahead. You're good. Dr. Susan Villani: What we're going to do now is try to follow the story is Acton-Boxborough. And initially, Dr. Bentley will be answering some of the questions that I pose to help set the stage. And then we will be hearing from different team members because they have different perspectives. And we want to hear perspectives from different positions within the school district. There were also people from the community, but we decided for this webinar, we would start with the people that are in the schools. And so, Dawn, would you please tell us about your district demographics? Dr. Dawn Bentley: Yes, but before I do, could you go back one slide so I can introduce my team? Dr. Susan Villani: Oh, yeah. Sorry. Dr. Dawn Bentley: That's okay. Thanks. To my left here, your right is Dana Labb, who is a he. He's the principal for Blanchard Memorial School, which is a K-6 building in Boxborough. David Green is down in the purple shirt at the end. He's our social studies department chairperson from the high school. And right next to me here is Heather Haines, our mathematics coordinator. So the four of us are hopefully going to take you through our journey today. Dr. Susan Villani: And I want to say before we move on that it has been my intention to introduce each of you. And I wanted to say right now what a pleasure it is to work with you and how delighted I am that you're here with us today. So to the demographics of Acton-Boxborough Region [inaudible 00:35:58]. Dr. Dawn Bentley: Sure. We thought it might be important to just share a little bit about our demographics at the district level to sort of give you a little bit of context. We're located for those of you outside of the state, about 30 miles Northwest of Boston. Combined, our two towns have around 30,000 residents. Our median home price is between 600 and 615,000. And our average household income in the two communities is around $145,000. District-wide we have about 5,600 students. We do operate preschool through grade 12. And you can see from the chart that about the majority of our students are white. [inaudible 00:36:39] about a third of them are Asian. And then the remaining 10 or so percent is combined between African-American, Hispanic, multiracial, as well as some native American and Pacific Islander. But if we looked at the snapshot 20 years ago, in 1998, it would be 90% white and 8% Asian were really the two big demographics. Dr. Dawn Bentley: That was actually a little bit after David and I were here as students. And today, you can see from the chart that about 18% of our students have a language, a first language that is other than English. 5% are English learners. 16% of them have an IEP. And around 6% of them are economically disadvantaged, which translates for us to about 10% actually, who are on free and reduced [inaudible 00:37:30]. And if I, again, go back a few decades, 1.2% of our students spoke a language other than English as their first language. One 10th of a percent were English learners. And fewer than 2% of our students were economically disadvantaged. So you can see in just a few decades that our population has shifted in some significant ways, and that's helping inform our work as well. You can go ahead to the next one, Susan, thanks. We are considered a high-achieving district. Dr. Dawn Bentley: Our average SAT scores are 1340. We have quite a large number of our students. About 60% at the high school take AP exams with a 96% passing rate. And we're consistently ranked one of the top districts in the state. You can see on the right-hand side this data was just actually unembargoed yesterday. But by 10th grade, 99% of our students are proficient on our state assessments in English, language, arts, and 96% are proficient in mathematics. So you can see, probably, why folks look at the district as and consider us to be high-achieving. Dr. Susan Villani: So, given those statistics that you just shared about the high achievement, what prompted your interest in this work? Dr. Dawn Bentley: So I started in 2016, but in the summer of 2017, my counterpart, our other assistant superintendent, Deborah Bookis, who is overseas teaching and learning. We were charged with figuring out how to accomplish one of our long-term strategic plan goals around equity. And as I shared earlier, that's one of our district's core values. And specifically, our annual goal was to conduct an equity audit of the districts, looking mindfully at equitable access for our historically underserved populations. But prior to that, I had had extensive coursework around educational equity and equity audits through my master's and doctoral programs at Michigan State. And Deb is actually currently enrolled in a doctoral program. That's where she is today. So we both... we certainly had a lot of knowledge, and we know that this is something that we really sort of needed to start to take a look at as a district. So that was sort of a lot of the beginnings of the work. Dr. Susan Villani: So how did your thinking shift from when you were originally contacted CEE asking for an Equity Audit to forming your Data Inquiry Team facilitated by CEE? Dr. Dawn Bentley: So this is outlined, I think in a little bit more detail in the blog that I wrote that CEE just actually published today. In November 2017, we were lucky enough to have an onsite meeting with folks from [inaudible 00:40:14]. So we had Dr. Carmen Roland here. We had [inaudible 00:40:16], and you were here, obviously, Susan, and we shared our history and our demographics. We identified our goals, and we talked about our requests for technical assistance, which initially came in the form of a formal equity audit. But during this meeting [inaudible 00:40:31] really, really hard on this request on this notion for an external equity audit. And ultimately, we agreed that we really needed to learn how to do much of the work inside because we do believe in building strong systems that will survive sort of over the test of... they'll survive the test time and they can outlive the individuals who created them or initially began them. Dr. Dawn Bentley: So we instinctively knew if we brought in experts from outside to do this work, sort of to us, not with us, it would situate that power elsewhere. And instead of it really being here with our own teachers and our building leaders and our central office administrators, where ultimately it should be. So about a month later, we had a conference call to sort of follow up. And we decided that at that time, we would not do the equity audit, but we'd engage in some technical assistance. And that was where Susan sort of threw out the curveball around this Data Inquiry Guide for exploring equity and asked if we would be interested in piloting it. Dr. Dawn Bentley: So, of course, we were super excited about that because any way we can help to not only find a tool that works for us but to help sort of develop one that other districts can then possibly use would be fantastic. And, of course, we knew we'd be learning all along the way. So, in addition to [inaudible 00:41:49] piloting that data inquiry guide, we also determined that Susan would facilitate our Data Inquiry Team, our DIT, and we met multiple times last year to sort of start examining data through an equity lens. So that's sort of our thinking about the work and kind of how we got to the place sort of where we are today. Dr. Susan Villani: Would you speak a little bit about how you formed the Data Inquiry Team? Dr. Dawn Bentley: Yeah, so we have about 450 certified staff in the district, and we have quite a number of administrators. And so, it was, of course, this, how do we distill this down to a group that's reasonable. We sort of settled on the number 12 and hope to keep it within that. But we also knew we wanted different genders. We wanted different levels represented. We wanted parents who can serve on the team. We wanted somebody from our teacher association. And we also knew that we wanted our team to be racially diverse, which was actually the hardest challenge because we don't have a very diverse teaching or leadership staff currently. And in some cases, folks wore multiple hats because we really did want to keep it at 12. So a few folks served as a parent and a leader or a parent and a teacher. But we did. We were able to keep it at 12. Dr. Susan Villani: Thank you. So I'd like to know about how the members of this newly formed district Data Inquiry Team responded to the Data Inquiry Cycle and the data dialogue that we did with Acton-Boxborough data. David, would you start us off with that, please? David Green: Sure. Thank you, everybody, for joining us. I'm David Green, the department chair of social studies at the high school here in Acton. My take on this is that this was a very much long incoming. So I think it was with great relief that we felt like we could begin this conversation in a more formal way. So it's not that people never talked about it, but there wasn't a way to formalize the conversation. In addition to that, I think once again, it's not that we were afraid to discuss the issues, but it felt like we were talking around them. So, for example, on the ground, what that looked like is we would say, "Well, there's a cultural aspect to this problem in the school." But we wouldn't name exactly what that meant. There was some fear around naming that. And so I feel a personal sense relief that we're now able to start having these conversations more bluntly, to be honest, and more safely. Heather Haines: And so, for me, I really appreciated the structure of the Data Inquiry Cycle, and really it made us slow down. A lot of times, when you look at data, people sort of rush to explaining away differences that exist. And so this really forced us to slow down and question some of those differences that we were seeing. And I love at the beginning of the process we're asked to make predictions about what we'll see in the data. And for me, that really made me come in to looking at the data, to being curious. And also thinking about what the predictions said about my own biases that I come into this process with. So if I'm making a prediction, why am I thinking that that's going to be the case? I also really liked that we had a wide range of people who were part of this process because it made me feel like we were really all in this together to do this work. Dr. Susan Villani: Thank you, Heather and David, thank you. And I'm going to come back and ask you some more. Are there examples of when using the data dialogue and thinking of possible root causes, it lead to new insights for consideration? David Green: Yes, definitely. So one of the things that it was actually heavy that really brought it to the table was the need to define equity. And it's something that I've been thinking about as well. And I noticed that it was one of the questions from one of our attendees as well today. It's a word that... Dana: ...can be used as well today. It's a word that gets used fairly reflexively and has been used for quite a long time, but not always correctly. And I would argue that it's the access quality of it that's often missing in the conversations. That was a big piece of it for me. Dana: I think the other insight is that I grew up in this community. So, my family moved here in 1979 and I graduated from the very school where I now work and am very aware of how dramatically the student population has changed. And what's interesting is, observing the community, I think there are many people who acknowledge that change and are ready to make changes accordingly in how we educate kids. And I think there are other people who really either aren't aware or aren't ready to embrace the fact that that change has occurred. And that's an insight that I think informs us moving forward. Heather Haines: So, for me, the root cause analysis was the part of the process that I really struggled with the most, but I also think it was the part of the process that was most valuable for me. It really forced, I think all of us, to think about what were the things that we had control over. Heather Haines: This is something that Susan highlighted at the beginning. Susan [Mundry 00:47:24] did. And I often have a hard time when there's a large problem to think about, really thinking about how it's okay to take those small steps. And so this really made me value those small changes that we could look at, and how we could, because this was a process we were going to come back to over and over again, I could feel confident that even though it was a small step, we were going to come back to it and then we could take another small step to try to work on a bigger issue. Susan: Thank you. Next question is about using the data dialogue to prompt the data inquiry team's thinking about equity, or to encourage members of the data inquiry team to think differently. And for this, it will be great to hear from Heather, Dana, and David, please. Heather Haines: So as I mentioned before, this process really surfaced for me some of my own biases that I come to this process with. I really looked at what were the inequities that sort of bothered me the most in this process and ask myself why that was. And also as I was making predictions, to sort of ask myself why I was making those predictions. Heather Haines: I also think that it helped me in thinking deeply about the data and made me investigate more deeply about the large number of groups that we were seeing having inequitable outcomes. And I might not have taken a deeper dive into thinking about those other groups without this process. I might've stopped where we were just looking at places where there were larger differences, but this process made me keep asking myself, I wonder why that is. David Green: Hi. So I don't know if there's any building level administrators out there, but for us, I feel like it helped us to slow down the process of how we look at students. One of the things we did in our opening this year was to really talk about the story of the children that we have in front of us, and start to notice and wonder about the students and the information that we have available to us. A lot of the work that we're doing this year is around looking through a strength-based lens, as opposed to a deficit based lens, and really trying to start from there and working on our relationships with students. David Green: Susan, to talk a little bit about where we have control. And for me, as a building level administrator, at the building level it really starts within the classrooms. So really looking at our classroom spaces and how we create them to reflect the culture, values, and experiences of the students we have in front of us. Dana: For my part, I think it took a subject that's very subjective, we know it when we see it, but again, as I mentioned earlier, it's not always easy to talk directly to it. So it made equity study-able. And I think it also made me much more passionate about getting people on board with making this part of the fabric of what we do every day. So as opposed to it being reactive, if there's something that requires our attention in the moment, rather we would have it become something that is part of our day to day. Susan: Thank you. What went well in doing the data dialogue? Again, going to turn to Heather, David, and Dana. Heather Haines: So part of the process when we start looking at the data is this idea of having the data be a third point. So everyone doesn't have an individual copy of the data that they have in front of them, but the group is looking at one place to look at it. And for me, that really made me feel like we all had ownership over this data rather than having it be individually my own. Heather Haines: I also think another thing that was really valuable was we all are asked to verbalize observations that we make about the data. And I think that allowed everybody to sort of validate what people were noticing. Because sometimes you may think in your head something, but it may not actually be true. And so verbalizing those things for the group made it so that we were all looking at that. And then it made me feel like, okay, we all have the same understanding as we're moving forward and making decisions. David Green: For me, I think because this definitionally involves such a large number of stakeholders, I don't worry about this work falling through the cracks. It doesn't feel like an initiative that we begin and then let go of when things get busy. We have teachers involved, administrators, counselors. It's happening at all levels. There's a wide awareness that this work is happening. David Green: And then also, we worked hard to establish norms that we take very seriously. And what it does is it allows us to come to the table and speak about all of this in an unencumbered way, without worrying about judgment, without worrying about being accused of something really negative, knowing that there might be some gentle prompting me to expand our thinking or some work on language. Dana: Yeah. Just to follow up with David on that, on the point about the norms. It caused us to really examine our existing norms because we wanted to make sure there was psychological safety. We're talking about our own biases that we're bringing into this process, in addition to the actual data that we're looking at as well. And as we know, teaching and learning is very personal. And in order to avoid some of the hard feelings around that when we are returning and returning to the root causes, we really wanted to focus on those causes as opposed to the symptoms around shifting blame to whatever it might be the cause of those. Dana: Something that really worked well was we did a lot of data dialogue across a number of days. So while we did it in the existing team together, we also had another day set aside where we had heterogeneous groupings of folks from the district, with upper administration at the district level, as well as teachers and administrators, to really go through the process and to do it multiple times so that we could compare the causes that we came up with and start to really put together some smart pulls for solutions. And it was interesting to see that we all landed in the same place. Susan: Thank you. Would you speak about whether there were challenges in using the data dialogue process, please? Heather Haines: So as I talked about before, the part that I struggled with the most was the root cause analysis. And I think that says more about me than it does about your process. But when you do the root cause analysis, each time you're answering that question, why? You're sort of cutting off the whole section of the tree until you're kind of looking at a little twig. And I really worried as a participant in this, what if there was some other really important branch in the tree that I should have been thinking about first? And here I am looking at this tiny twig that may not be the most important thing. But as I said before, the fact that I knew we were going to keep coming back to this and that it was okay if we took that tiny step from that tiny twig, we'd come back to the tree, I was okay. David Green: For me, it goes back to what I mentioned earlier about the definition of equity. I think the group, thanks to Heather's question, really needed to slow down and back up and make sure that we were working from the same assumptions about that word and what it means. I think personally, we don't know what the consequences of this kind of work will be. We like to think that the outcomes will be positive, but we don't know what relationships this kind of work strains. We don't know what happens in a community that historically supports the school unquestionably, how it will react to this work. And what will the conversations really be about when we look at putting resources into building new schools and sourcing the schools that we already have. Dana: It's always a challenge to look at data and only try to make objective statements. We tend to jump to inferences. So that was a really difficult piece of the process. As a building leader, again, you take the data at times personally. And so it was really important to go back to those norms and set out that our objective was in the best interest of students. And so we just had to keep that at the forefront. Dana: I think another difficult piece, at least for me at the building level was, we're having all these great and rich conversations about the data. We have it accessible to us. Starting to think about how you share that with other folks in your building, it's something that you start to worry about as well. And so some of the ways that I started embedding that with my co-leader was, we used the five why's, in a rather innocuous way, but usually just as a process to try to work through some issues of a book study that we were doing as it's related to social, emotional learning. And knowing that once the staff understands the process of moving through and staying away from inferences and really trying to get to root causes, being able to transfer that to some of these key issues was really important. Susan: Thank you. Now, in what ways has the work of the data inquiry team, the work that was done last year, been shared? Dana, would you please speak to that? Dana: Sure. So both the data inquiry team and the school leadership team, which is comprised of building principals and central office administrators, we engaged in two separate data inquiry cycles, one of which Dawn and I both co-facilitated, with the same dataset, which ultimately led to proposed smart goals embedded into our district wide annual goals under the long range strategic plan. Some of these goals included increasing educator diversity in the workplace, the workforce, and developing greater capacity and consistency among and between evaluators on standard two, which is teaching all students with the Massachusetts' Educator Evaluation Rubric through learning and calibration exercises for high quality feedback. Dana: So part of the work that I'll be doing with the district as we get closer into the winter months is really focusing on that second part of that rubric, and really try to calibrate not only with the principals so that we can all get on the same page around what we're really looking for in that area of teaching all students, but also of the other folks are responsible for evaluating as well. And then creating a stakeholder survey around homework policies and practices through the equity lens. Susan: Thank you. Dawn, what are plans for future work of the data inquiry team? Dr. Dawn Bentley: So, one of our proposed district wide annual goals for this year include some of this work here that's listed on the screen. Our school committee is still in the process of reviewing these, so they haven't been finalized. But we are looking at continued capacity building with the data dialogue process. Ultimately, I think the way that this will play out at the school level, Dana sort of gave some really good examples of what that might look like at the building level, even just using a piece of the data inquiry process with the root cause analysis, but also looking at our school improvement teams and how we use data to inform that work. Dr. Dawn Bentley: We're also going to be looking at a stakeholder survey. We did a pretty big overhaul on our homework policies and practices in the last few years at all of our levels. And so we'll be engaging in a stakeholder survey this year around those policies and practices. And we'll be doing that through an equity lens with some support from [Mack 01:00:12] and you, Susan. Dr. Dawn Bentley: And we also, the most pressing work, which we're actually going to start in a few weeks, is to look at the existing practices in our buildings. And we're looking at family contributions around time, treasure, and talent. We sort of call them the three T's. And we're actually starting with just treasure. So looking at ways that we ask our families to contribute to schools, whether it's supplies, whether it's field trips, whether it's boxes of Kleenex, all of those things, and how that plays out in ways across each of our buildings and could contribute to certainly inequitable circumstances for some of our students and our families. Susan: Thank you. I'm going to ask you to start, Dana, and then Dawn next, what advice would you have for people beginning this process using the data inquiry guide for exploring equity issues and solutions? Dana: Sure. So for building level administrators, one of the ways that we can really have an impact change is through the school improvement plan. And I think it's important that you have a school council that's representative of your school and that this is fairly large too, made up of several parents. One of the things that we did a couple of years ago was we did a large survey and what came out of that survey was the finding that we hadn't really considered before around families and how to make some of the activities through our parent teacher experiences more equitable. And so I guess what I would say is, you've got to ask the stakeholders and you've got to trust that if you're starting to get an inkling of something that you follow that. Dana: What can also happen on the other side is, we can't always be implementing and you can get really caught up in that with a school improvement plan process. So you have to have time to monitor, review, and determine where the benefits could be made, and it has to be intentional and deliberate. We have to move away from all the knowledge we have and start acting at some point. Dana: So another big piece would be, after asking, is really to model that. So I have a really strong opinion of a co-leadership model. So my assistant principal and I, we both try to practice what we preach. And so having the actions and really getting in with the teachers. And then also the language that we're using, both with each other and with students, is really important. Dana: So I think those are the things that I would really focus on. We have a culture and climate goal in our school improvement plan, and we really feel like one helps support the other. It's hard to determine sometimes which one comes first, but we feel like it's really important that the things we're doing well in the building, we really focus on, and connecting that to the district and making sure that the student experience is what helps to drive us. Susan: Thank you. Dr. Dawn Bentley: And I'd also say, it has been mentioned a few times, and I know there was at least one question down below, maybe 10 more now, about what is equity. And it's interesting. So we have a working definition of equity, because it's already sort of been tweaked a few times and we still don't feel like it's necessarily perfect, but I will read it to you. It's not on the slide, but I'll read it to you. Equity is an operational principle for shaping policies and practices that provide high expectations and appropriate resources so that all students can achieve with minimal variance due to race, income, language, or gender. And that's adopted actually from an old piece from [Hart & Jermaine Watts 01:03:45] from 1996. Dr. Dawn Bentley: The other big thing I think, that we thought about when we ... Well, I think looking back now ... Being ready to slow down, so it's a go slow to go fast sort of thing. And we did have to back it up a little bit before we could go forward. So some of this work can sort of start out in fifth in sort of different stages. Dr. Dawn Bentley: And one of the things I think that's super important through any work that you're doing, but especially this kind of work, we've talked about how some of these are sort of third rails, sometimes really tough conversations for us to have here, is to just really be ready to listen to one another and to dig deep in respectful, but ways that hold one another accountable for the work and to what we owe our students and our families. Dr. Dawn Bentley: And I think the other big learning for us is, often when we talk about equity and the notion of equity, it means a loss for some in order to benefit others, right? To sort of level that playing field. And so that can be a really tough sell for a lot of different stakeholders. Change often represents loss. So that's something that we've been thinking a lot about and actually was one of our big worries when we sort of started the process, when we were thinking, we want somebody else to come in and do this work because it's going to be hard and it's going to be messy and we don't want to get our hands dirty. Dr. Dawn Bentley: So we're really excited we got our hands dirty and we feel like we're much better able to support those conversations, but those are going to be really hard. And I sort of feel like they're just beginning. We're sort of just at the beginning of that. So those are the things I would think people should keep in mind, I guess. Susan: Thank you. In just one moment we're going to turn to the questions that we have. I just want to say that what we've heard is, I think, amazingly inspiring in terms of the process of thinking about data inquiry with a focus on equity, with individuals who've thinking about these things, with individuals that are accustomed to working with data, and with individuals that some might say had more to lose by opening up some of these issues, working in a district that enjoys very high reputation and high test scores. And yet if every student isn't being served, the educators that met today, and many others, are not satisfied. Susan: So I just want to say that before we turn to questions, what I want to make clear is we designed this data inquiry guide to be accessible at many different levels. So if you're an educator in a school where this kind of work hasn't been happening, we wrote this guide so that it would be easy to access and the tools would be clear and you would have the support you need to engage in this process. And if you are an educator working in a system where many of these things are discussed and you want to go broader or deeper, we also believe that the toolkit could be useful ... Toolkit, guide. We vacillate between the terms. But we do believe that what's provided are tools and resources, as well as a clearly defined cycle and process, that can be accessed at different levels of experience with this topic, with this work, and to support the commitment that potential users would have. Susan: So I'm going to task this to [Nyla 01:07:29] Who's going to give lots of opportunity for questions to be answered. Thank you so much, Acton-Boxborough team. And now here come questions for you. Nyla: Okay. So, so far we have about four questions. We're going to start going through the questions, but as we go through the Q&A, if you have any questions that you have not posted, please take a moment to post them now. Again, we'll begin, but you can always continue to post questions in the Q&A box and we'll get through as many of them as possible. Nyla: So we have two questions that [inaudible 01:08:11] when Susan [Bellany 01:08:13] went through the Q&A session with the Acton-Boxborough team, but we also have two questions that were asked right after Susan Mundry concluded her part of the presentation that I'm going to get to first. I'm going to try and pose questions in the order in which they were presented. So M. Kim asked, and this question was answered already, but the latter part of the question wasn't, and M. Kim's question is, what is your definition of equity? Which has been answered. But then also she asks, or he asked, how does that inform the dis-aggregation of data? Dr. Dawn Bentley: Jump in anybody who has any ... Heather Haines: What is your definition of equity? Dr. Susan Villani: What's your definition of [crosstalk 01:09:03]. Dawn Bordley: Well, so our definition and how does it... so one of the ways that we slice and dice sort of what we look at is really dependent on some of those variables. We don't have actually a data person in the district so to speak, so a lot of the data is done. We have to sort of do a lot of that work ourselves. So that actually is one of our limiting factors, but we do look at race. We look at gender, we look at socioeconomic status, we look at absentee rates, we look at free and reduced lunch. So there are a whole bunch of different ways that we do try and look at the data. We also look at the data by elementary building, we have six elementary. So we look at the data across the elementary schools and then look at the population. Dawn Bordley: So one of the things we found the most useful is that anytime we're using the data to also have whatever that population sort of broader representation either in the school itself or in the district, what that looks like, so that there's sort of a comparison because sometimes the data isn't all that skewed, even though it may look like it at the outset. Did you have anything to add to that? Dana: Yeah, we looked at students that were on IEPs and we tried to triangulate that with the data in the district, as well as some similar school districts as well. Nyla: Okay. Should I move on to the next question? Dr. Dawn Bentley: Sure. Thanks Nyla. Nyla: Okay. We have another question for Anne Kim and that is, what from the research have you discovered is unique to examining data with an equity lens as opposed to other lenses. And I can repeat that question again if you'd like, David Green: I think I can speak to that a little bit. One way. I think there's a lot of ways to answer that question because there are so many different lenses, but one, and I'll say it I was a student here and now I work here, as I mentioned before, is that it's a district that has always enjoyed a successful reputation. And I think one thing that we're looking at is our definition of success. So when you look at what we do through an equity lens, we don't want to take away from the ways in which people traditionally succeed, but we definitely want to expand that definition. Dr. Dawn Bentley: I also wonder if either of the Susans have thoughts on that as well, because this has been a big research area for them. Susan Mundry: Yes. I would just point out that in the citations that I talked about earlier, the Copeland and Dalmore and the Timperley in particular, those studies really looked on more on the data inquiry side and engaging teachers in analyzing the data and identifying how data could be used to improve practice and outcomes. But the third, the randomized control trial looks specifically at the using data model and their use of collaborative inquiry teams and that process, which we developed with a group of folks with three people from West ed and Nancy Love from originally from chart and add on. And then that research for better teaching that initially that model did not have an equity as a focus, but as we developed it, we found that it was very, very difficult, the data team to have productive results without themselves having conversations about equity and digging into what happens when you just aggregate data and how do you have conversations about that in a very productive way? Susan Mundry: So it is with that model that we did begin the work around putting on the equity lens. So that's study does really examine, I think, were processed that has the equity lens. The new work that we're doing now for the center for educational equity, we have not done a study yet of its results or its impact. And, maybe down the road, we could do that as well. But that's what I can offer in addition to what the panel said about that question. Nyla: Okay. So our next question is from Virginia Winter, and I believe she asked this question after at the point where the active optical team responded to the question of what worked well on data dialogue. So her question at around that time is, or was, as you discovered some of the areas where via SEED made themselves evident. What professional learning supported the shift of mindsets from deficit to strength based lens for viewing the students. What's the journey to forge a common definition of equity. And again, I can repeat that question, if you like. Dr. Dawn Bentley: So that question has a number of moving parts. I will take part of it, but I know my colleagues are going to chime into four parts of it. Our focus, our guiding question this year is, how do we support kids through a strength-based lens and so we really are looking at the language that we're using, we're looking at how we're thinking about children, we're looking at person first language where all sorts of those things, just to shift what our school health does sound like in terms of the adults communicating with one another. When you look at this aggregated data and supported the shift of mindsets from deficit to strengths-based... Dr. Dawn Bentley: So, as an example, yesterday, my counterpart Dawn Bordley and I spent the day, we actually are going to be spending days with every one of the grade levels this year. And our whole entire presentation is around inclusive literacy classrooms and the language that we use, but all of it under that strength-based umbrella. So, really thinking about what our students bring with them, and then how we build upon those versus you know, they can't, or won't kinds of mind frames. So really shifting how they think is one example of how we're thinking about that. Speaker 2: So, I come to this with the elementary math lens and so, this year in particular, we're thinking about what types of tasks are good ways to sort of open up who can participate in mathematics discussion, and how can we sort of shift from the students can't do the standard algorithm for addition to this is how the student can solve the problem and how can we move them towards more efficient strategies. David Green: I would say at the high school level, and specifically in the social studies' department, we've really been looking at assessment, what's the purpose of assessment, what is it trying to measure and helping teachers understand that you can use alternative assessment and still offer rigorous education. And so I think that what I'm speaking to there is the piece of your question when you're talking about the shift of mindset, I think sometimes teachers worry that if something isn't rigorous, they're not doing their jobs. And I think what we're working on is that you can actually have it both ways. Dana: I think for us, it was before getting the business of teaching and learning, really getting to know the student in front of you having a shared a common language, not only within the classroom where a lot of the work of getting to know each other's by the students, but how we do that in a broader area in the building. So that we're all approaching students the same way, and really coming at it from a strength-based language or being positive and the things that they're able to do as opposed to not. I think the part of the process we do and where I'm leading to have a study about a child is to really come out at first and the things that they bring to the table and how we can adjust the learning for them to access it. Nyla: So our next question is from Laura Connie, please forgive me if I'm pronouncing her name, Laura. She wrote "Sorry, if I missed this, had to step out, we'll all a part of the toolkit and shared also, what do you use or develop to conduct root cause analysis? And I know this is a question that I'm asking boxful can respond to answers, then Andrew Anderson and Landry or Susan Mundry." Dr. Dawn Bentley: So in terms of the root cause analysis, we use the five why's protocols where we identify one of our inferences and we dig deep into the why is the inference the case, and then why is that the case? Why is that the case? Why is that the case? Then often as Heather was describing earlier, it does sort of form a branch and goes into some different directions, but we use the five why's. Susan Mundry: And I did put a link to one resource that describes that process there in the chat, as well as a link to the protocol of data-driven dialogue that the team discussed, that's also in the chat. But those tools are also included in the data inquiry guide that we developed. And yes, that is something that you can request as Susan Villani said, we are pilot testing it. So it isn't up on the C website or a download yet, but we're happy to share it and you can contact Susan Villani for that. And I think we'll provide her, I'll actually put the email right in the chat for you. Susan Villani, you're on you, thank you. Dr. Susan Villani: Yes. We're very interested in sharing our pilot version of the guide and because it is a pilot version, we'd really like to stay in touch with people that receive it and find out how you're using it, are there things you could suggest that would help us make it better as we move towards finalizing it. And that's why rather than put it on the website, we're asking people to contact me because then we can have a conversation about it and also establish some way that we can be staying in touch. Not in any way that our competition, but rather in ways that can inform our thinking when we move from pilot version to the final version, although everything has always evolved. So I had to take to you towards final, but as we move from pilot version to our next version. Nyla: Okay. So our next question, our next set of questions comes from Kim Hopper. She asks, or he asks, "What research did you, the DIT team, do to build your own cultural competencies prior to taking on this project?". Dr. Dawn Bentley: That is a great question and continues to be a work in progress. We are engaged with the seed project right now and seeking equitable education through... I wish I knew what the DIT stood for, we just call it SEED. I want to say I'm not even going to make it up, but it's through, I believe it's out of Harvard, is it not. David Green: Wellesley? Dr. Dawn Bentley: Wellesley? yeah. It's in Wellesley. The national seed project stands for creating- Dana: Educational equity and diversity. Dr. Dawn Bentley: Yes. Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity, thank you, we just call it SEED. So a year ago, over a year ago, the entire school leadership team. So all of our principals and all of our central office leaders engaged in the training for the year, which is all around building cultural competency. Not only to be able to talk about these things, but to really examine our own implicit biases and sort of our own thinking, our metacognition, all of those things that inform it, but really just to understand the history of inequity sort of across our own history as a country. Dr. Dawn Bentley: And right now our district leadership team, which David is a part of, is engaged in that as well. And so they're going through that this year. And within the next few years, we've asked all of our teaching staff, our certified staff to also engage in that training. And we're in the process right now of we have four or five people in the district who are trained as trainers offering those workshops across time. So, that was one of the big ways and we're really excited that if all of us can have that background and ability to talk about those things, we'll be in a pretty exciting place. Nyla: And another question from Kim Hopper or any solution quote, unquote, or solution or best practices implemented from your findings? Dr. Dawn Bentley: Well, I think because our findings just sort of have happened in August, June, July, August, over the summer. We haven't had time to do that. They certainly are, as I mentioned earlier, there are some goals that are no strategic actions, embedded in our goal plan for the year that the school committee is currently reviewing. And one of them for instance, is around hiring more diverse educators over the course of the next few years, we have a smart goal around that. As Dana shared, we have a smart goal around our... that teaching all students are the second area of our Massachusetts education framework. And we're also starting to look at ways to families contribute. So nothing necessarily in terms of outcomes yet of that, unless, although I consider those outcomes because we looked at data, we decided that, that we needed to do and we made a decision to include them in our big work this year. Dana: I know at the building level, I brought some of the conversations from our initial work back to the PTF, which is our parents' future organization. And they have changed the structure of giving and of how families can get involved. That came out of some of the work that those families did through our school improvement plan. So for example, something as simple as the auction, we've totally rearranged the way that we asked folks to give in and to help them feel a part of that. So, another I think outcome of that too, was just really being thoughtful and how we help support our families and the district financially. Don had mentioned about school supplies, and those are conversations that we're having, what are need to have, what a nice staff and what are we going to be responsible for helping to support for student learning. So that's a conversation we have in ad amongst building principals and tell now it's definitely going to change the way that we support students in a positive way. Dr. Susan Villani: Great! Thank you. Nyla, do we have any other questions? Nyla: Yes, we have about two more questions left and about one more minute, so we'll try and get through one of the two events. But this question is from Anne Kim who asked "what were some of the norms your team developed to add structure and psychological safety during the data inquiry process?" David Green: I think a big one for us was assumed good intentions. That's the thing I always went back to. Okay. Dr. Susan Villani: I might that, artist with the seven norms of collaboration, which were familiar to some people and others. And we tact a little bit about words that we know the meaning of, to understand how seven norms of collaboration can be useful for any group to enhance their communication and build their trust. And we can put up the seven norms toolkit, it's a resource you can get free online, spelling out seven norms tool kits for more information about. Speaker 2: We also talked about not climbing that ladder of inference when people make statements. Nyla: Okay. So we have one final question from Virginia Winters and she, or he asked "What do you think about, sorry, let me say that again. When you think about curriculum alignment and equity, what tools did you use alignment?" Dana: I can speak on behalf of the building had their hands and I kind of started up a pre-pilot last year of math programs. And so the first thing that we did was, we asked ourselves what are the non-negotiables that we have? And so in order to start formulating those, we looked at not only our school level school improvement goals, but we also looked at the values of the district, one of them being equity. So, one of our non-negotiables was to make sure that we selected programs to pilot, which we're doing this year that were equitable to all students and that I can go very deep into what that means for a particular mathematics program, but that was the major sole focus for us i how to make it accessible and how to diversify it. David Green: And at the high school level, in social studies, we went through a process of curriculum mapping and not just mapping the content of our courses, but mapping particular skills to that content. And now we're in the process, as I mentioned earlier, we're looking at assessment. So mapping particular kinds of assessment to particular content. Speaker 2: And I talked earlier about how in mathematics, we've been thinking about, how can you, you're still teaching the curriculum standards, but how can you open up the tasks that you're asking students to do so that everybody has access to doing the mathematics. And at a very seemingly simple sort of level, but it's actually a lot more complex, all of our departments, I think preschool through grade 12 have been engaged in really looking at the literature and the materials that we used to support our instruction and ensuring that all of our students see themselves and sort of hear themselves in the types of things that we're choosing for them to learn through. Nyla: And so those are all of our questions. If you have more information, you can contact Susan Villani. I believe you wanted to make a final statement? Dr. Susan Villani: I just want to encourage anyone that would like to pursue this to please contact me, no obligation. And I'd love to talk with you about what you're working on and to put an equity brief on data increase will be posted soon on the NAEC websites. The center for education equity is part of the mid Atlantic equity consortium, so that's NAEC. Thank you everybody. Thank you, Atkins Bucksbro. Thank you Susan Mundry. Nyla thank you. And Pamela for facilitating. And viewers, thank you for your thoughtful questions. Nyla: So this concludes today's webinar. Thank you for joining us and for your great questions and thank you to all the presenters. When you walk out, please take a couple of minutes to complete a survey after the webinar to let us know what you think of this webinar and what we can do to improve future webinars. Susan Mundry: Thank you everyone. David Green: Thank you everyone. For your participation, you may all disconnect.      

Post Image Using the ELD 2.0 Framework to Improve Instructional Programs for ELLs

Part of MAEC’s Boosting Success for 21st Century Learners Webinar Series, presenters in this webinar discuss the Framework for Raising Expectations and Instructional Rigor for English Language Learners and how the School District of Philadelphia has used this framework, dubbed ELD 2.0, to clarify the goals and re-design their instructional program for ELLs. This session was originally held on April 22, 2015. Presenters: 

  • Debra Hopkins, ELL Project Coordinator, Council for Great City Schools
  • Gabriela Uro, Director ELL Policy and Research, Council for Great City Schools
  • Allison W. Still, Deputy Chief, Office of Multilingual Curriculum and Programs, School District of Philadelphia
  • Erica Darken, Curriculum Development Specialists, Office of Multilingual Curriculum and Programs, School District of Philadelphia
Description: In this webinar you will learn about the Framework for Raising Expectations and Instructional Rigor for English Language Learners and how the School District of Philadelphia has used this framework, dubbed ELD 2.0, to clarify the goals and re-design their instructional program for ELLs. Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the theory of action of the Framework that calls for higher expectations for ELLs;
  • Understand the components of the Framework and its application to district planning for ELLs;
  • and Understand the criteria for selecting instructional materials for ELLs.

Post Image When Pandemic Meets Endemic: Injustice in Our Rural Homes

J. Spenser Darden from West Virginia University clearly outlines how racism and placism intersect to make life more difficult for people of color who live in rural areas. He breaks down the direct impact of historic racist policies and ideas on the ways different groups of people are treated in the United States, and describes how placist ideas have magnified the global pandemic for rural communities of color. His article includes interview excerpts from his conversations with “Justin” (not his real name), a Black student at WVU. Back to Count Us In: Advancing Equity in Rural Schools and Communities  

When Pandemic Meets Endemic:Photo of Ed Darden Injustice in Our Rural Homes

September 2020: Exploring Equity Issues, Rural Edition  J. Spenser Darden Director, Diversity Initiatives & Community Engagement, West Virginia University   I still remember when the email came.
In my 40 years as a university president, the crisis at hand is like none other I have ever experienced... For the remainder of the semester, all classes…will not be conducted in-class and will [instead] be delivered in an alternative format. 
Less than a week after Governor Jim Justice in my home state of West Virginia announced the closing of all K-12 schools, and one day after the state’s first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), all in-person activities associated with the university at which I work were cancelled for the remainder of the semester. Beginning in places like Seattle and Los Angeles, moving east to New York City, the virus wreaked havoc on communities with a common refrain: coronavirus disproportionately affected older adults (Adler, 2020). This analysis ignored unreported factors that demonstrated time and again to be a critical factor in health disparity. Analyses failed to capture the disproportionate impact COVID-19 had on lower-income communities (Health Affairs, 2002), rural communities (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017), and communities of color (The COVID Tracking Project, 2020) – let alone any thoughtful dissection of the intersections therebetween. As we have too-often failed to do in the history of our country, narratives being constructed around the United State’s response to this unprecedented crisis were largely whitewashed and sub/urban-focused. In the throes of this global pandemic, one which gave rise to a rash of layoffs and furloughs that pushed unemployment claims to the double-digits, the comorbidity of endemic racism transfixed the nation (TED: The Economics Daily, 2020). We watched with horror a video in which two armed White men hunted down and murdered Ahmaud Arbury, a Black man, in Georgia (BBC, 2020a). We witnessed the murder of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minnesota (BBC, 2020b). We learned of the murders of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman, in Kentucky (Oppel et. al, 2020); and Nina Pop, a Black trans woman in Missouri (AP, 2020); and Tony McDade, a Black trans man in Florida (Thompson, 2020); and… And in communities large and small, including in our rural homes, Americans (largely college-aged) took to the streets demanding to be heard (Statista Research Department, 2020). We were demanding justice. We were demanding fairness. We were demanding equity. While the unjust killings of Black Americans, particularly by police, took center-stage, the demand for justice is broad, focused on policies that exclude, demean, and dehumanize. In our rural communities, that means understanding how racism couples with place-based discrimination to magnify the impacts of, say, a global health crisis.


In his highly-acclaimed book How To Be An Anti-Racist, historian and scholar Dr. Ibram X. Kendi defines racism as “a marriage of racist policies and racist ideas that produces and normalizes racial inequities” (Kendi, 2020). Often we think about racism as obvious, indefensible remarks or actions that result in physical violence against people or communities of color. We conceive of racism as a character flaw or moral failure, rather than more accurately understanding racism as a descriptor of dehumanizing behavior. It is for these reasons that Justin* – a Black man – never felt a part of his rural, central West Virginia community. Having recently embarked on his senior year of college, Justin and I talked about how he experienced racism growing up in a state that is home to one of the