Education Equality Benefits All Students
Bad news is everywhere in the press these days, especially when it comes to education. Yet our schools are actually doing pretty well if you look below the surface. There is an rising trend in student test scores within the largest urban school districts. In addition, the Department of Education reports that graduation rates have hit an all-time high of 82 percent of students graduating on time.
Perhaps the best news of all is recent research that says this: Integrated education, in which teachers and students hail from varied socioeconomic and racial backgrounds, works. Students who were bussed into suburban schools made three times the progress in math and reading when compared to similar students who were not part of the desegregation program, within the Minneapolis Public school system. Using culturally responsive plans, Eden Prairie district in Minnesota is one such desegregated school system that has reduced the achievement gap by nearly 60 percent. Several urban school districts in New York City, San Francisco, Minnesota and Connecticut have seen up to two standard deviations of improvement for their elementary grade students in desegregated classrooms.
Integrated districts that entourage their educators via continued professional development are thriving at unparalleled levels. Data is showing that achievement, directly correlates to the level of diversity present within schools. Community development and partnerships all work to enhance these school districts’ success.
With educating teachers on emerging best practices from neuroscience research, focusing on diverse cultures as strengths and altering current beliefs regarding student’s abilities, steps can be made to further education equality. Integration of schools adds to the overall growth of teachers and students alike and is a better reflection of what the workplace will look like for our students.