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Daily Dish: Aiding Underserved Students Including Women of Color, Native American Children, and Immigrant Communities

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November 18, 2015 01:24 pm

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Across the country, efforts to support students in traditionally underserved subgroups are underway, including female students of color, Native American children, and students in immigrant communities in New York City.

The White House recently held a summit focused on issues facing female students of color, including economic opportunity, school suspensions, STEM careers, and role models. During the conference, which was hosted by Valer­ie Jar­rett, seni­or ad­viser to the President, and the White House Coun­cil on Wo­men and Girls, the White House announced that $118 million had been raised to support programs that close the opportunity gap for women of color, the National Journal reports. The article explores the top five barriers facing these students and the actions underway to combat these issues.

In the category of student suspension, the piece notes that girls of color are suspended at a rate of 12 percent, which is more frequent than girls of any other race and white male students. To combat this issue, the Department of Justice and Department of Education are urging schools to adopt alternatives to suspension, which can affect students’ academic success and likelihood of dropping out of school. When it comes to opportunity gaps in STEM education and careers, the Journal reports that women of color are underrepresented, citing 2012 statistics showing that they received only 11 percent of bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering, 8 percent of master’s degrees and 4 percent of doctorate degrees. The Obama administration has pointed out that there is a lack of role models for women of color in STEM fields, and that they often face discrimination in the hiring process.

The Alliance’s president Bob Wise called for increased investment in STEM education for all students during the GE Foundation’s “Bridging the Gap: Success for Tomorrow with STEM Skills Today” conference. In his speech, he noted that students “who go on to college and graduate with a STEM degree will earn, on average, $65,000 annually—$15,000 more per year than students in other majors,” and therefore, “Investing in students’ STEM education literally pays dividends for our nation’s economic prosperity.” Read more: https://all4ed.org/building-a-nation-building-an-economy-with-stem-education/.

Education Dive explores achievement gap issues for Native American students, particularly in schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), which serves 48,000 Native American students in 183 elementary and secondary schools in 23 states. The Obama administration is attempting to turn around these BIE schools with the Generation Indigenous initiative, which will work to provide students attending BIE schools with “a world-class education and transform the agency to serve as a capacity-builder and service-provider for Tribes in educating their youth.” In the proposed 2016 budget, Obama intends to increase federal funding for Native programs by $1.5 billion, the article reports. A portion of this money, $34.2 million, would go towards broadband connections and computer access at BIE schools, and $53 million would support strategies to improve the college and career readiness of these students.

In New York City, nearly 540,000 students attended schools that were over capacity during the 2014-15 school year, according to an article on WNYC’s Schoolbook. A new report shows that there is a higher concentration of overcrowded schools in immigrant communities. In the article, Daniel Altschuler, research coordinator for Make the Road New York, the group that released the report, said that “As the immigrant population in a particular district increases, so too does the overcrowding problem…For every 1 percent increase in the immigrant population of the district, the overcrowding problem is 100 seats greater.” As a result of these findings, the report calls upon the city to fund more than the 33,000 new seats (previously committed) in the coming year.

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STEM

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