Hot Topics     Home and Family     K-12    

We can bring racial equity to our schools. It requires work.



We need a shift from “fixing kids” to fixing the social environment in schools

racism, equality, kids, school

As protests around police brutality have revealed, ignoring racism throughout our society comes with a steep price. One of the places injustice has to be addressed is the education system. Many students of color and students from low-income backgrounds are marginalized unjustly by educator biases, according to
Social, Emotional, and Academic Development Through an Equity Lensa report issued by The Education Trust, a national nonprofit that advocates for equality in education.

Rather than the current focus on “fixing” students' social-emotional skills, the system needs to address the societal context that launches many such students into the school-to-prison pipeline. From changing school policies to addressing the inherent prejudice of teachers and principals, the report lays out steps to foster belonging for all students.

No one denies that social-emotional learning is a significant part of education and needs support from schools. However, the report states, “social-emotional learning efforts that exclusively focus on changing student behavior may do more harm than good by placing the burden on students of color to respond positively to systemic injustices.”

READ MORE: Honor diversity; celebrate tolerance

True support places students' strengths above their perceived deficits. Marginalized students often display resilience and self-awareness; have highly developed skills at code-switching or adapting to different social contexts; and maintain strong, sometimes multi-lingual, community connections. 

A student who falls behind academically because of the need to care for a relative, for example, should be praised for shouldering family responsibilities. “With this positive mindset,” the report observes, “school leaders can then work with students and their families to identify the unique combination of supports needed for students to exhibit that strength both at home and in school.”

Educators have been shown to excuse errant behavior in white students while disciplining students of color for the same behavior. The implicit bias reflected by these actions can addressed by putting restorative justice policies in place and cultivating a positive school environment that considers all cultures, not just the dominant white culture. 

Parents should demand that school boards take these issues into account when considering policies and hiring superintendents. Well-informed parents of all ethnic groups, including the white majority, can educate the public at school board meetings and vote for board member candidates who express support for racial equity measures.



Other articles by HVP News Reporters


  • Simple tips for mindful eating

    How to incorporate foods your family loves

    Mindful eating doesn’t have to be restrictive and you don’t have to give up your favorite foods. read more »
  • Safe entertaining tips in a COVID-19 world

    Precautions to protect your physical health and your guests

    After an extended period without social contact, it’s only natural to crave some interaction, and there’s evidence that doing so can be advantageous for your mental health. However, taking precautions to protect your physical health, along with your guests’, can make for a more enjoyable event. read more »
  • Keeping pets safe in the garden

    hazards that can impact the well-being of your furry friends

    If you have pets that enjoy spending time outdoors, it’s important to make sure your yard is a safe place for them to be. read more »
  • How to raise kind and caring children

    3 tips from experts

    At some point, many parents will likely find themselves encouraging their children to “be kind” or “be friendly.” read more »
  • Safety tips for a safe 4th of July

    Celebrate safely and use extreme caution with fireworks and family gatherings

    The New York State Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) reminds New Yorkers to keep safe while celebrating Independence Day. As we celebrate this annual tradition with festivities ranging from fireworks, picnics, parades, family gatherings and barbecues, let’s also remember basic safety tips that apply to everyone. read more »
  • Weeklong FAIR Film Festival 2022

    The Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR) Hosts a Film Screening Plus Q&A

    The Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR) will kick off the FAIR Film Festival 2022 with an in-person screening of the documentary film I Am A Victor plus a selection of short films on Sunday, June 12 at 1:00pm EDT at Caveat on the lower east side in Manhattan. read more »
  • Keep kids learning during summer

    3 Fun, Easy Ways

    With school out, summertime brings long, carefree days of play and fun. With a little thought and a few supplies, summer is a perfect opportunity to revitalize their innate love of learning that may be a bit squashed after a year of academic pressures, tests and schedules. read more »
  • Take steps to support literacy

    8 ways to inspire children to read

    Reading is a foundation for learning, yet a vast gap exists in access to books for low-income neighborhoods. read more »
  • Sweeten up summer with a frozen, fruity snack

    Try these easy to make ice pops

    Heading to the freezer for a fruity ice pop can transport you from your own backyard to a tropical island, and the experience can be even more rewarding when the tasty treat is homemade. read more »
  • Clean. Drain. Dry. Every Time!

    Help keep invasive species out of our waters

    One of the most effective ways we can all help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species is by following proper procedures for cleaning, draining, and drying watercraft and equipment every time you leave the water. read more »