Bias and Equity in Education: Perspectives

With opinions on school discipline, the school-to-prison pipeline, diversity in K-12 leadership, teaching about race and discrimination, and empowering students of color in the classroom, this collection of Commentaries explores issues of bias and equity in education. Topics include:

  • Teacher and Leadership Diversity
  • School Discipline
  • Classroom and School Inequities
  • Teaching About Race and Discrimination
  • Closing the Achievement Gap
  • Bias and Equity in Education Policy
  • Empowering Students of Color

    Teacher and Leadership Diversity

    Obama's Legacy for Male Principals of Color

    Students of color need more teachers and leaders with whom they share a cultural background, writes Winston C. Cox. (September 21, 2016)

    Why Is Education Leadership So White?

    The diversity crisis in K-12 leadership is hurting students of color, writes Chiefs for Change CEO Michael Magee. (March 9, 2016)

    We Need Teachers of Color

    School demographics in the United States are changing rapidly, and classrooms need to reflect the shift, write Jacob Murray and Jackie Jenkins-Scott. (September 10, 2014)

    School Discipline

    Restorative Justice: The Zero-Tolerance-Policy Overcorrection

    Overreliance on "soft discipline" may reduce suspensions, but it doesn’t actually help students or teachers, writes Richard Ullman. (September 14, 2016)

    The Principal as Community Advocate

    Principals in urban communities need to actively respond to a report by the U.S. Department of Justice that details how police routinely discriminate against black children and adults, writes David DeMatthews. (August 31, 2016)

    US Secretary of Education: Let's Educate, Not Incarcerate

    The return on investment in education has grown in recent decades, so why does our spending on incarceration outpace aid to education, asks John B. King Jr. (August 3, 2016)

    Policing Girls of Color in Schools

    School resource officers and the schools they serve require a culture shift to reduce the discipline rates of girls of color, writes Rebecca Epstein. (June 1, 2016)

    Q&A With Monique W. Morris: How K-12 Schools Push Out Black Girls

    Monique W. Morris, author and researcher, discusses the plight of black girls, who are disproportionately turned out of K-12 schools. (June 1, 2016)

    Black Girls and School Discipline: Four Researchers Unpack K-12's Racial Bias (Videos)

    In four videos, education researchers discuss their perspectives on the criminalizing of black girls in American schools, including by school resource officers. (June 1, 2016)

    Here's Why Preschool Suspensions Are Harmful

    Preschool suspensions promote failure, not success, for vulnerable students, write education professors Denisha Jones and Diane Levin. (February 24, 2016)

    The Sexual-Abuse-to-Prison Pipeline

    Girls who are victims of sexual abuse are often further traumatized by the juvenile-justice system, writes Gina Womack. (October 14, 2015)

    Education, Not Political Correctness, Is the Answer

    Learning social skills by age 5 is associated with the absence of criminal behavior later in life, writes Paul Marx. (September 16, 2015)

    Decriminalizing School Discipline: Why Black Males Matter

    Throughout U.S. schools, black males are disciplined more than any other group, writes education professor Tyrone Howard. (April 1, 2015)

    Why Do Some Schools Feel Like Prisons?

    In some struggling majority-minority schools, the emphasis is on discipline to the detriment of learning, Samina Hadi-Tabassum says. (January 28, 2015)

    Using Evidence to Impose Discipline Fairly

    Drawing on school-discipline data, a group of Oregon districts is working to improve equity in addressing student misbehavior, Beaverton, Ore., Superintendent Jeff Rose writes. (March 26, 2014)

    Punishing Young Offenders Twice

    In far too many cases, incarcerated youths lose out on their access to education when they go to jail for committing a crime, Lynette Tannis writes. (January 29, 2014)

    Take a Positive, Personal Approach to Discipline

    Schools with a effective discipline methods rely on thoughtful and holistic principles that include engaging students and parents, reviewing discipline data, establishing common expectations, and supporting teachers, writes Matt Cregor. (January 10, 2013)

    Classroom and School Inequities

    A Native American Parent Confronts a Pervasive NFL Slur

    Children have a right to an education free of racist imagery and discrimination, writes attorney Jared Hautamaki. (December 9, 2015)

    Racism: An Open Wound for Native Students

    An academic reward turned into a painful experience earlier this year for a group of American Indian students, Robert Cook writes. (May 6, 2015)

    Don't Forget Southeast Asian Students

    Southeast Asian students are a sometimes-forgotten group with specific language and learning needs, say Quyen Dinh and Brenda Shum. (February 4, 2015)

    Where Do Biases Start? A Challenge to Educators

    Teachers should consider how biases about minority-student fashion and style may influence their actions, Darius Prier says. (October 15, 2014)

    A Black Father's Search for a Diverse Preschool

    H. Richard Milner's search for a high-quality, diverse preschool for his daughters revealed early-education inequities. (June 4, 2014)

    I, Too, Am America: Making All Students Feel Like They Belong

    Graduate student Pierce Gordon writes about words and actions that make some minority students feel unwelcome in school programs and on college campuses. (May 14, 2014)

    K-12 Education: Still Separate, Still Unequal

    Sixty years after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, racial disparities in schools should be a call to action, writes Leticia Smith-Evans. (May 14, 2014)

    Do Small Schools Undermine Diversity?

    Small schools in New York City offer a test case for the benefits of small high schools, but also underscore problems of race and social-class segregation they may inadvertently promote, Bruce Fuller writes. (January 22, 2014)

    Upending Stereotypes About Black Students

    Schools and policymakers should resist persistent negative myths about black students, and African-Americans generally, Leslie T. Fenwick says. (October 9, 2013)

    Teaching About Race and Discrimination

    Black History Isn't Just About February

    All races should know what black men and women have achieved despite difficult circumstances, writes David C. Banks. (March 9, 2016)

    Beware the Bigoted Subtext of Children's Literature

    Positive and diverse representations of nonwhite characters in children’s books are essential for all kids, writes Alvin Irby. (February 17, 2016)

    Social Justice Isn't the Only Reason to Teach About Race

    When teaching African-American history in schools, the work of a historian from a century ago still resonates, writes Jeffrey Aaron Snyder. (December 2, 2015)

    Empowering Students in the Wake of Michael Brown's Death

    Normandy, Mo., teacher Inda Schaenen is changing her curriculum to embolden her middle schoolers in the wake of Ferguson. (September 16, 2015)

    Colorblind Education Is the 'Wrong Response'

    Discussing race openly in schools can lead to better outcomes for students of color, write Dan French and Warren Simmons. (August 26, 2015)

    Confederate-Flag Controversy Underscores Need for Educational Activism

    The civil disobedience displayed by an activist in removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Capitol last month should serve as a "battle call" for educators, writes professor Jon N. Hale. (July 16, 2015)

    Education Scholars: Challenging Racial Injustice Begins With Us

    The recent police violence in McKinney, Texas, and elsewhere should be a clarion call to colleges of education to confront patterns of racial injustice, writes Nicole Nguyen. (July 8, 2015)

    Teaching in the Shadow of the Ferguson Shooting

    Michael Brown's shooting by a police officer has added new concerns for students in the Missouri district where the teen finished high school, writes Normandy, Mo., teacher Inda Schaenen. (September 10, 2014)

    Why Schools Must Talk About Trayvon Martin

    Educators need to foster open dialogues with their students about social issues, even difficult ones, David Knight says. (September 27, 2013)

    Closing the Achievement Gap

    Graduation Rates Are Better, But We're Not There Yet

    Despite the increase in high school graduates, barriers to a diploma are still present for many students, writes John Gomperts. (May 18, 2016)

    Student Poverty Isn't an Excuse; It's a Barrier

    To mitigate the impact of poverty, schools need more resources and better policies, say Helen Ladd, Pedro Noguera, Paul Reville, and Joshua Starr. (May 11, 2016)

    We Already Know How to Close the Achievement Gap

    We don’t hear enough about interventions proven to make a difference for America’s most disadvantaged youths, writes Jim Shelton. (September 30, 2015)

    Seize the Moment to Design Schools That Close Gaps

    Paul Reville writes that it's time for a learning system that isn't about mass-produced education, but instead one that speaks to the needs of the individual child. (June 5, 2013)

    Bias and Equity in Education Policy

    How to Judge the Success of K-12 Education Policy

    When considering the progress of current education improvement efforts, policymakers must bear one scientific principle in mind, warns Arthur H. Camins. (May 11, 2016)

    To Protect Children at Risk, Washington Must Play a Role

    Without federal government pressure, states and school districts will do little to address inequity, writes former L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. (July 30, 2015)

    Low K-12 Standards Do a Disservice to All

    The common core offers the promise of equal educational opportunity for poor and minority children, writes Wade Henderson. (February 4, 2015)

    Missing: A National Education Policy for Low-Income Families

    When it comes to transforming public education, poor families wield the least power even as their children attend the lowest-performing schools, writes Arnold F. Fege. (November 6, 2013 )

    Common Core and Disadvantaged Students

    The common-core standards offer the potential to raise the achievement of struggling students from low-income, minority communities, Thomas Toch says. (October 23, 2013)

    Empowering Students of Color

    How We Can Help Black Female Students

    Directing philanthropic support toward supporting black girls is one way to lift this neglected group of students, Fatima Goss Graves says. (November 12, 2014)

    Obama's 'Brother's Keeper' Effort: Noble But Incomplete

    While President Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" initiative is promising, like many such programs it neglects to direct resources to helping minority girls succeed in school and life, Julia Grant writes. (March 21, 2014)

    Channel Student's Energy to Social-Justice Projects

    Xian Barret suggests schools encourage students to focus their energy on improving their communities and affecting social change. (January 10, 2013)

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