National Origin Equity

IDRA EAC-South Technical Assistance

The IDRA EAC-South’s capacity-building technical assistance can help state and local education agencies in creating asset-based solutions that help address inequities and desegregation issues impacting national origin equity. National origin issues in public schools may be self-identified by districts or may be identified through an active school desegregation court order, an Office for Civil Rights resolution, or an investigation by a federal or state civil rights enforcement agency.

Among other benefits, promoting national origin equity can help schools ensure equal access to strong academics for all students, improve leadership capacity, and increase student expectations.

To ask about the availability of services for your school or school district, complete an intake form.

How national origin inequity may manifest itself in schools
  • Bullying and harassment based on national origin, ethnicity, or language
  • Lack of a comprehensive, structured English language (EL) assistance program
  • Low expectations, disproportionate grade-retention rates, and low graduation rates for ethnic minority or EL students
  • Failure to identify EL students who are gifted and/or talented
  • Under/Over-representation of EL students for special education
  • Low expectations and poor school climate for secondary EL students, including newcomers and students with limited formal schooling
Examples of technical assistance and training available through the IDRA EAC-South
  • Review of policies and practices on recognizing and responding to bullying and harassment based on national origin to align with best practices
  • Contextual analysis to identify strengths and needs of current language program policies and practices
  • Climate analysis and training to ensure student diversity, bilingualism, and student experiences are valued
  • Train-the-trainer workshops to help build internal district capacity
  • Coaching and mentoring of instructional and/or administrative staff online and/or onsite
  • Conducting bilingual (Spanish-English) parent and student forums to increase family engagement and family leadership
  • Creating rubrics and turn-key tools
  • Establishing a local monitoring plan to ensure fidelity of implementation of program model
  • Professional development on cultural competency and implicit bias
  • Professional development for teachers focused on engagement of EL students in instruction utilizing best practices

See our resource page for tools on educational equity and national origin. Highlights are below.

eBook: Supporting Immigrant Students’ Rights to Attend Public Schools

As schools are opening their doors for a new school year, this alert is a reminder that public schools, by law, must serve all children. The education of undocumented students is guaranteed by the Plyler vs. Doe decision, and certain procedures must be followed when registering immigrant children in school to avoid violation of their civil rights.

See eBook and other resources

Bilingual eBook on Supporting Immigrant Students’ Rights to Attend Public Schools

School Opening Alert flier (in English and Spanish).

eNews School Opening Alert – August 2017.

Alert for Registering Students for School

More resources are on our Education of Immigrant Children web page.

Code-switching as a School Strategy – Podcast Episode 192

Classnotes Podcast (July 1, 2019). In linguistics and language classes, the term “code-switching” describes how speakers mix two or more languages and speech patterns in writing and conversation. But the term has become broader to encompass dialogue that spans cultures, such as how we change the way we express ourselves depending on who’s in the room. In our increasingly diverse schools, many students still do not see themselves reflected in the curriculum or the classroom discussion.

In this episode, special guest, Dr. Martina McGhee talks with Michelle Vega and Hector Bojorquez about how schools can build inclusive curriculum that is more honest and whole and how to use code switching to help students feel encouraged and supported. Dr. McGhee is a doctoral fellow in the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) who is leading a new course on race and identity through pop culture. Michelle Martínez Vega is IDRA’s technology coordinator, and Hector Bojorquez is IDRA’s director of operations.

Show length: 27:23 min

Get info and listen

Classnotes Podcast Episode: Skills Needed for Teaching in Diverse Classrooms – #173

With the quickly-changing dynamics across our communities, teachers often are facing the challenge of incorporating multicultural education without proper preparation. To stay engaged in the learning process, students – like adults – need the school climate and curriculum to reflect their racial and economic backgrounds, languages, religions, funds of knowledge and family structures.

Get details and listen

Paula Martin Johnson, M.A., an IDRA education associate, presents three critical areas of professional development that school leaders need to be providing for their teachers to effectively deliver high-quality and inclusive instruction in 21st-century classrooms.

Paula is interviewed by Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., IDRA senior education associate. Show length: 14:30 min.

Listen now: Skills Needed for Teaching in Diverse Classrooms – #173

Article: Three Approaches for Dismantling Discriminatory Discipline in Schools

by Paula N. Johnson, Ph.D., & José A. Velázquez, M.Ed., March 2019

In recent years, schools across the nation have moved toward resolving behavior issues that do not take the child out of the classroom – focusing on a “whole child” approach to student learning and success built on relationships and community.

The IDRA EAC- South has a three-pronged approach to addressing disparities in school discipline. First, technical assistance builds capacity to increase positive school climates through research-based services; second, revising discriminatory school discipline practices better aligns schools with the district’s tiers of support for behavior; and third, building capacity for effective family and parent engagement to improve relationships between all stakeholders.

As a result, districts we’ve worked with across the IDRA EAC- South region report lower rates of suspension and expulsion each year.

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Article: School Leaders Improve English Learner Literacy with Focus on Inferencing 

by Nilka Avilés, Ed.D., September 2018

Inferencing and literacy skills are vital to students’ success. With leaders at five schools, IDRA provided customized teacher professional development focused on inferencing and reasoning skills. Through this program, the schools improved literacy scores and helped close the achievement gap between English learner and non-English learner students.

IDRA found effective implementation practices for improving leader and teacher capacity for educating EL students, improving school climate

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Article: Institutionalized Discrimination… Does it Exist in Your School

by David Hinojosa, J.D., April 2018

This article addresses how schools can identify institutionalized discrimination – discriminatory practices that manifest through behaviors, actions and policies of public institutions that target or exclude based on race, sex, gender, national origin, religion and disability, among others. This kind of discrimination can be difficult to stop because it often has a basis in patterns and practices from historical norms. David Hinojosa pinpoints three critical areas – expectations, school funding and curriculum – as starting points for schools to identify and correct their own discriminatory policies and practices.

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Article: Addressing “Ecological Shock” – Supporting Refugee Students in School

by Kristin Grayson, Ph.D., and Hannah Sung, March 2018

Dr. Kristin Grayson and Hanna Sung address in this article how schools can support refugee students through building connections and fostering understanding. Educators and school stakeholders must understand the effects of trauma and the unique aspects that refugee students bring to the classroom.

Schools can pro-actively create a welcoming and positive learning environment to help these students cope with stress and fear by fostering community – bringing students in fully as members of their schools rather than isolating them. Building this positive learning environment requires a commitment to equity.

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Article: Schools’ Duty to Educate English Learner Immigrant and Migrant Students

by Kristin Grayson, Ph.D., March 2018

English learners in our schools are a vastly diverse group, from the languages they speak to the to the age they began learning English to how they entered the school system. By instilling policies and practices that value their language, multiculturalism, and families and that provide them the tools necessary to succeed, we can help prepare these students for flourish in the global economy.

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Article: Data to Measure an Effective Instructional Context for Secondary Level Newcomers and English Learners

by Kristin Grayson, Ph.D., IDRA Newsletter, June-July 2017

Teachers and administrators may feel overwhelmed by the use and analysis of data for English learners (ELs) as is required by the federal guidelines under Title III of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Yet collecting and conducting data analysis is essential for EL success and is based on strong and seminal research in second language acquisition. Using data is even more critical when students are secondary level newcomers and English learners with interrupted schooling.

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When considering how to collect and use data, the Casteñeda v. Pickard decision of the Fifth Circuit Court,1981, provides an excellent framework (Thomas & Collier, 1997). This article focuses on the data needed to support teachers and English learners who enter U.S. schools as newcomers and as students with interrupted schooling. IDRA’s Good Schools and Classrooms for Children Learning English ~ A Guide (Robledo Montecel, et al., 2002) and its supplement for secondary students also provide a way to collect much of the needed data.

Read article: Data to Measure an Effective Instructional Context for Secondary Level Newcomers and English Learners