Effective Practices for Students of Different Racial Minorities

We are constantly looking for ways to effectively impact the minorities that we serve.  The excerpt below comes from a publication from Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center.  The full publication can be found here.

The effort to close the achievement gap between Whites and racial minorities is not new, but is one of the most challenging issues that states continue to face. In a previous ARCC research brief, Bowling and Cummings (2009b) indicate that the “the ‘achievement gap’ is more than differences in test scores among subgroups. Besides test scores, this gap in achievement can also include access to opportunities (advanced mathematics, physics, and higher education) and attainment (high school diploma, college degree, and employment)” (p. 1). According to David Campos’ (2008) research, inequalities occur early in the elementary years and continue through high school. Data represented in Campos’ research show that the inequalities between students of color, White, and Asian students appears in not only their grades, class rank, and SAT scores, but also “negatively affects the chances that children of color have to finish high school and enter college to earn a degree, which can affect their lifetime earning potential” (Ibid., p. 25). Certainly, addressing achievement gaps for all ethnicities is a significant issue, as increased academic achievement leads to more opportunities for higher education and employment (Robertson, 2008).

Working to address the needs of different ethnicities requires cultural sensitivity, an understanding of a wide range of social issues, and a commitment to educating all students equally. In this context, Noguera (2007) identifies five key strategies that are essential to educating students regardless of class or race. They include the following:

  •  a commitment to engage parents as partners in education with explicit roles and responsibilities for parents and educators laid out;
  • strong instructional leadership focused on a coherent program for curriculum and instruction that teachers support and follow;
  • a willingness to evaluate interventions and reforms to ensure quality control;
  • a recognition that discipline practices must be linked to educational goals and must always aim at reconnecting troubled students to learning; and
  • a commitment to finding ways to meet the nonacademic needs of poor students (Ibid., para. 4)
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