March 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Scholastic’s New Study Looks at Equity in Education

Scholastic has released the results of a research project, the “Teacher & Principal School Report: Equity on Education.”

tpsr_coverThis new report looks at barriers to equity in education, educators’ funding priorities, the role of families and communities, and the needs for learning supports and professional development.

Some of the notable findings include:

  • 39 percent of principals report NOT having a certified full-time school librarian, yet 82 percent say that having a school library with a certified school librarian is a critical resource.
  • Teachers and principals agree (87 percent) that many of their students face barriers to learning that come from outside the school environment, and while a greater percentage of educators in high-poverty schools (98 percent) report having students with barriers, 66 percent say the same in low-poverty schools.
  • One of the largest disparities in inadequate student resources is access to books at home (69 percent in high-poverty vs. 20 percent in low-poverty schools).
  • Both teachers and principals are helping meet students’ needs by spending their own money. On average in the past year, teachers in high-poverty schools spent $672 and teachers in low-poverty schools spent $495; principals in high-poverty schools spent $1,014 and principals in low-poverty schools spent $514.
  • More than half of teachers (56 percent) use their own money to purchase books and 31 percent have fewer than 50 books in their classroom libraries. The most needed books are culturally relevant titles (54 percent), books published in the last 3–5 years (51 percent), multiple copies of popular titles (48 percent), and high-interest, low-reading-level titles (48 percent). The needs are fairly similar for school libraries as reported by principals and school librarians, particularly in terms of the need for books that reflect cultural diversity.

The researchers surveyed a nationally representative sample of more than 4,700 pre-K–12 educators.

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  1. Crystal Florez says:

    The fact that this report does not analyze the lack of diversity within those who work within education is a huge disappointment. An overwhelming issue within our education system is that our principals, teachers and school district administrators do not reflect the diversity commensurate to the communities they serve. Obviously, our education system is complex and this is not the only problem by any means, but it needs to be talked about and put into reports such as this. In an effort to provide support to our children in education, increase family and community engagement, and change the numbers we need to change a system that was not built on the auspices of providing equity. This is a combined effort that won’t be solved overnight but should involve diversity initiatives within K-12 systems and higher education systems and opportunities that serve all. The need and want to actively engage “our communities” depends on how our systems are working to support all of us.

    • Crystal Florez says:

      Edit: In an effort to provide support to our children in education, increase family and community engagement, and change the numbers, we need to change a system that was not built on a cornerstone of providing equitable opportunities for education.