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Articles: Equity

Egg cartons and Chinese food containers: Comprised of Washington public school teachers, MESA and Washington STEM Engineering Fellows take part in PD activities to bring innovative STEM lessons to students.

The technology sector is one of the least diverse industries in the U.S. Only 25 percent of women participate. Less than 1 percent of computer scientists are people of color.

Twenty-three states have sued the federal government over a directive from the U.S. justice and education departments allowing transgender students to use bathroom facilities consistent with their gender identity. If districts don’t comply, they may lose federal aid.

Equity in K12 education doesn’t mean the same thing as equality. In fact, achieving true equity often requires providing lower-income schools and students with more resources than are given others in the same district, says Joel Boyd, superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools in New Mexico.

Learning to use the mind: New Haven Superintendent Garth Harries enjoys inspiring students, interacting with them, and giving them knowledge outside the classroom.

Within a few months of becoming superintendent of New Haven Public Schools a couple of years ago, Garth Harries had already attended too many teenagers’ funerals. After Harries left these grim ceremonies—and in other occasions when students were shot but survived—his office went back over the victims’ academic records for signs of trouble.

Districts across the country are finding ways to turn after-school programs into learning experiences that motivate students and close equity gaps. YMCAs, churches and other community groups, and private companies have emerged as go-to providers of after-school programs.

Superintendent Beth Schiavino-Narvaez's initial spending plan was cut by $3.2 million by the school board.

Beth Schiavino-Narvaez has led Hartford Public Schools in Connecticut for two years. But it’s been two decades since a landmark state court case ruled the district had violated the U.S. Constitution by isolating children based on race and socioeconomics. And despite new budget woes, Schiavino-Narvaez continues to fight for better schools.

Some 82 percent of transgender youth reported feeling unsafe at school in a 2011 study. (Gettyimages.com: chatchaisurakram)

The rights of transgender students in K12 schools became explicitly clear in a directive issued by the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Justice in May. Schools must let transgender students use the restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity, not what’s listed on birth certificates, the Obama administration says.

Students from Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida meet with the state’s Million Women Mentors chair, second from right, and use an online program to explore STEM careers.

Adding project-based learning and mentoring opportunities to STEM programs may better ensure that female students do not get left behind. In the United States, women hold fewer than 25 percent of jobs in STEM fields, despite accounting for 47 percent of the workforce

In her new book, Pamela Lewis underscores the importance of filling classrooms with teacher role models who look like their students of color.

When it comes to racism in our public schools, many people pretend it doesn’t exist, says Pamela Lewis. In her new book, Teaching While Black, Lewis says a misplaced focus on test scores hides the true causes of underperforming inner-city schools: poverty and race.

Fears of lead-tainted water in U.S. schools surged this year at the same time a report found the nation spends $46 billion less on annual school construction and maintenance than is necessary to ensure safe and healthy facilities.

Students from Project WHAT! (We’re Here and Talking), a program that hires San Francisco teens with incarcerated parents to lead trainings and presentations for school administrators, staff and students.

Research shows that children with an incarcerated parent are less likely to graduate from high school and go on to college. They are also more likely than their peers to have behavioral problems, be held back in the early grades and be placed into special education.

Until his retirement, Mel Hawkins was a consultant specializing in leadership development, human resources, and strategic planning. He is the author of Re-Inventing Education, Hope, and the American Dream: The Challenge for Twenty-first Century America.

The federal government, corporate reformers and state governments are engaged in a relentless attack against public schools. And our professional educators have not stepped up to acknowledge the deficiencies in our education process, deficiencies that only they are qualified to address.

Schools in Washington, including Marysville-Pilchuck School District, are required to educate students about the culture and history of the state’s indigenous nations.

Despite recent controversies, most K12 U.S. history textbooks now devote more space to viewpoints outside of the white-European male narrative, historians say.

“The whole approach to historiography has changed,” says Luess Sampson-Lizotte, vice president of humanities & science product development at Pearson. “It is a little broader and more inclusive of multiple perspectives of the American story.”

American history could be in trouble. Decades of reliance on contentious textbooks and rote memorization have driven students away from the subject, despite its influence on contemporary issues.

In Virginia’s Fairfax County Public Schools, students in the gifted program study a local pond ecosystem. The district created a Young Scholars initiative in 2000 to increase the proportion of historically underrepresented students in K8 gifted programs.

Black elementary school students are half as likely as their white peers to be assigned to gifted elementary programs in math and reading—even with comparably high test scores. But the racial gap in giftedness disappears when black students have a black teacher, according to a study.

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