Seeking educational equity

November 14, 2016
People at the Educational equity meeting

In 2015, the University of Minnesota established the Educational Equity Resource Center—the region’s first research hub and portal dedicated to closing the opportunity gap. 

The center serves as a bridge between University researchers and the educators who work with children and youth every day.

Just a year after its launch, the U of M hosted more than 600 education leaders, researchers, policymakers, and others from across the country in a two-day educational equity in action conference, which yielded numerous resources for educators, including an interactive map showing educational programs with equity components that are available to Minnesota schools.

The conference highlighted the concept of educational equity. It takes into consideration more than just test scores, says professor Michael Rodriguez, who co-directs the Educational Equity Resource Center along with Julie Sweitzer, director of the U’s College Readiness Consortium.

“We are beginning to move beyond ‘What works?’ to ‘What works for whom, and under what conditions and in what contexts?’” says Rodriguez. “It requires us to understand the context and conditions of schools, families, and students.”

The center’s mission is to close the gap by helping schools understand how to work with diverse students, families, and communities. It seems to be paying off, as more and more k-12 schools are turning to the U for expertise and partnerships.