Race Equity

IDRA EAC-South Technical Assistance

The IDRA EAC-South’s capacity-building technical assistance can help state and local education agencies in addressing inequities and desegregation issues impacting race equity. These issues may be self-identified or 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 race equity for all students can help schools ensure equal opportunity for high academic achievement, improved school climate, and meaningful family and community engagement.

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

How racial equity might manifest itself in schools
  • Disproportionate school disciplinary practices for students of color.
  • Segregated student assignments between and within schools.
  • Inequitable access to advanced, college-preparatory coursework.
  • High teacher turnover and inequitable teacher quality assignments for high-minority enrollment schools.
  • Role of implicit bias and lack of cultural competency lead to lower expectations and differing treatment for students of color in the classroom.
  • Parents and families from underserved communities are disengaged with schools.
  • Inequitable opportunities-to-learn lead to lower student achievement, low graduation rates and high in-grade retention rates for students of color.
Examples of technical assistance and training available through the IDRA EAC-South
  • Assess discipline policies and practices and make recommendations to ensure loss of learning time is reduced, school climate improves and equity is achieved for all students.
  • Co-collaborate on equity plans to address current civil rights compliance issues.
  • Provide professional development to school leaders and educators on cultural competency and implicit bias and co-create train-the-trainer models.
  • Co-develop and assist with the implementation of school desegregation plans.
  • Develop tools for monitoring and ensuring fidelity of implementation of district and/or school improvement plans.

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

Article: New Discipline and Safety Policies for Texas

by Morgan Craven, J.D., June-July 2019

To ensure all students succeed, schools must end policies and practices that create harmful school climates and push students into the school-to-prison pipeline through exclusionary discipline and criminalization. During the recent Texas legislative session, many policymakers focused on “school safety” in response to school shootings.

While some proposals focused on building positive school climates, others prioritized approaches that would make schools less safe for students, including making extreme changes to “harden” facilities, expanding harmful and punitive school discipline, and increasing the number of weapons on campuses.

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eBook: Resources on Student Discipline Policy and Practice

According to the Office for Civil Rights, Black students are suspended and expelled at a rate three times greater than white students. Harsh punishments are disproportionately used on children of color, low-income children, children with disabilities, and LGBT youth. These practices discourage children from attending school and increase the risk of students dropping out.

See eBook

This eBook by IDRA provides links to tons of resources for schools, communities and policymakers, including data, toolkits, videos, best practices and strategies.

eBook: Resources on Student Discipline Policy and Practice (second edition)

5 Strategies for College Readiness in Diverse Schools – Podcast Episode 175

Classnotes Podcast (September 29, 2017) Some students face hurdles that end up steering them away from college. Some face barriers that block their access altogether. But today’s school leaders can change that by creating a college-going culture for a student population that is becoming increasingly diverse. In this episode, Dr. DeShawn Preston, higher education research fellow at the Southern Education Foundation, outlines five successful strategies for schools to create college readiness for students of color and students from immigrant families. DeShawn is interviewed by David Hinojosa, J.D.,director of the federally-funded IDRA EAC-South.

Show length: 13:35

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Classnotes Podcast Episode: Using Socioeconomic Status for School Integration – #172

There is no doubt that diverse classrooms have significant benefits for students both socially and academically, while segregated learning settings are not just benign but detrimental to students and their communities. School integration, then, is critical. Regrettably, many schools across the country have re-segregated along racial and ethnic lines.

Get details and listen

David Hinojosa, J.D., director of the federally-funded IDRA EAC-South, discusses how some school districts in the South have turned to using students’ socioeconomic backgrounds to help integrate schools. David is interviewed by Hector Bojorquez, associate director of the IDRA EAC-South.

Listen now: Using Socioeconomic Status for School Integration – #172


Article: Using Socioeconomic Indicators as a Tool for School Diversity and Integration

As many schools across America have re-segregated along racial and ethnic lines, several school leaders are looking for solutions that can help reverse course. Recognizing the several academic and social benefits stemming from diverse students learning together, some school districts in the South have turned to using students’ socioeconomic backgrounds (SES) to help integrate schools.

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The Century Foundation reports that, nationwide, 32 of the 91 schools and districts using SES strategies are located in the southern federal Region II (Potter, et al., 2016). The IDRA EAC-South has assisted several districts with school integration plans and is available to assist others in Region II* with technical assistance in this area.

Read article: Using Socioeconomic Indicators as a Tool for School Diversity and Integration, by David Hinojosa, J.D., and Erica Frankenberg, Ed.D., IDRA Newsletter, April 2017

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: Office for Civil Rights Data Reveals Patterns of Inequity

by Bricio Vasquez, Ph.D., January 2019

Ensuring all children are valued and receive a quality education requires the use of extensive data. One tool for gathering relevant data is the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) dataset. The CRDC contains comprehensive information on the patterns of educational inequities within schools and their districts. Stakeholders may use these data to better document issues of inequity and use the knowledge to inform solutions. Too often, equity problems in education are woven tightly into the culture of institutional processes such that they cannot be easily identifiable by district leadership. Tools such as the CRDC can help districts understand patterns of inequities within their own schools by making comparisons with others.

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Article: In-grade Retention National Trends and Civil Rights Concerns

by Dr. Paula Johnson, April 2018

This offering from Paula Johnson focuses on the issue of in-grade retention and the problematic trends in our national data. She discusses research on retention, its traumatic effects, and how it must be addressed as a civil rights issue. Alleviating in-grade retention requires reform on the part of schools and must be achieved through improving course offerings and educational programs for all students, providing professional support to get to the heart of reducing bias, and countering resource gaps and inequities across public schools.

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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