Giving Compass' Take:

• The Othering & Belonging Institute reports on how a holistic policy approach could make immense strides towards alleviating educational inequities.

• Why is it important to consider students' social, emotional, physical, and cognitive needs in making equitable policy? What can you do to fund more research on effective approaches to alleviating educational inequities?

• Read more about the importance of data and research in alleviating educational inequities.

While policies have intended to improve schools and alleviate inequities, the research highlighted in this brief provides insights into why educational policies may be missing their mark. Yet, do these research findings suggest that educational policy cannot mitigate educational inequities? Can educational policy in fact improve learning opportunities for all students?

Despite the evidence demonstrating how and why policy initiatives have failed to advance educational equity, research suggests that it is possible to reduce educational inequity through policy. Policies should advance fiscal investment, balanced research usage, and more comprehensive educational remedies as means to combat the persistent inequities that continue to plague our educational system.

Students and families are deeply affected by social, political, and economic challenges, including structural racism in all facets of social life. These experiences necessarily impact how students engage in learning and must be acknowledged and addressed when forming and enacting educational reform. To address the well-documented impact of social, racial, and economic disadvantages on academic achievement, educational policies should incorporate efforts to address the social, emotional, physical, and cognitive needs of students alongside school improvement efforts. A comprehensive approach can more holistically address the obstacles that many students face.

Research has highlighted the impact of wraparound services including early childhood intervention, efforts to engage families, and extended learning opportunities. These efforts increase students’ readiness to learn, meet the emotional and social needs of students experiencing hardships, support parents in the academic and behavioral development of their children, and promote culturally relevant interactions between schools and their constituents. To facilitate these efforts, policymakers should enable cross-sector collaboration that acknowledges the many factors that impact students and in turn supports the development of the whole child.

Read the full article about alleviating educational inequities at Othering & Belonging Institute.