Expanding Educational Excellence: The Power of Schools

Coleman, M. R., Winn, D-M., & Harradine, C.
August, 2012

National prosperity and personal well-being depend on an educational system that uses respectful, responsive, and equitable methodologies to support all students from the earliest ages in achieving success in their chosen fields. Clearly, there is irrefutable evidence of academic success achieved by some young persons of color and of poverty in the United States, as can be seen from the numbers who have earned post-secondary degrees. Yet, too many economically poor students and students of color remain educationally disenfranchised with limited access to educational opportunities that recognize and nurture their potential and there are large numbers of students who are not experiencing academic success.

The authors explore four major barriers that must be addressed, briefly describe two projects that have worked to address these barriers, and make recommendations for moving forward as we work to expand educational excellence for all students. The four major barriers discussed are: (1) Persistent Social Inequities; (2) Lower Expectations of Performance by adults, communities, media, and students; (3) Bias in the Instruments and Assessment Practices; and (4) School Policies and Practices. Schools are powerful players in the lives of children and many can and do help to meet children’s needs. Strategies and programs at schools can provide positive influences on the negative impact of many contextual variables. Two recent projects at FPG have worked to address many of the aforementioned barriers and demonstrate how opportunities for educational excellence can be expanded to include more students of color and low-income students.

Citation: Coleman, M. R., Winn, D-M., & Harradine, C. (2012). Expanding educational excellence: The power of schools. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, PAS.