Race and Gender Research
Since its inception, the Schott Foundation has utilized a dual race and gender lens for understanding the challenges facing students across the country and for proposing systemic changes to our nation’s education policy.
Black and Brown students are demanding that their school districts end the school-to-prison pipeline and invest in solutions that create a true sense of safety, dignity and opportunity for learning. They are advocating for schools that are sufficiently resourced, affirming of their identities, provide culturally responsive social and emotional learning, and offer mental health supports to students who need them. Students are also calling on school officials to decriminalize their learning environments from racially unjust policies and practices — including the removal of police from our schools.
Culturally responsive education has been shown to increase student engagement, improve student self-perception, and increase student achievement and graduation rates: but it won’t be handed to us. We have to organize and fight for it.
Today there are an estimated 30,000 officers now in schools, up from roughly 100 in the 1970s. Although the stated purpose of these officers is to maintain a sense of safety, a very troubling consequence is greater arrest rates and referrals for minor disruptive behaviors — with especially harsh results for girls of color.
A groundbreaking study from Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality found adults view black girls as young as 5 years old as less innocent and less in need of protection than white peers, which may contribute to the consistently harsher disciplinary treatment that we see across our schools and in our juvenile justice system.
Authors of the report Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood discussed why we need to explore data and disciplinary discrepancies for Black girls. Learn about “adultification” and this newly recognized form of bias in which adults perceive Black girls more like adults- and less innocent- than their white peers. Challenge harmful perceptions of Black girls that suggest they need less nurturing, protection and support than white girls. Explore what more is needed to address this issue and uplift Black girls across schools, juvenile justice and other public systems.
The Schott Foundation for Public Education in partnership with Native Americans in Philanthropy, with support from Nike N7, recently released a set of recommendations for helping Native youth live healthy lives. These recommendations came directly from Native American leaders who hold expertise across health, physical fitness, education and youth development sectors. The report, Original Instructions, outlines both challenges and opportunities to philanthropy. It’s a first step towards using our resources to recognize and learn from the resilient Native youth.
Today, we have an opportunity as a nation to uplift Native American communities and tackle the gross inequities that persist as a result of our country’s brutal legacy of genocide, theft and racism. Education advocates and philanthropy can play an important role in that effort by reversing its own historical legacy of under investment and moving to boldly support Native led social change.
Schott’s 50-state report series chronicles the hurdles and systemic challenges in the national education system that result in frustrating, racially identifiable gaps in graduation rates, including disparities in school discipline and inequitable school supports. The 2015 report illustrates the inexcusable degree to which Black male students are neglected by our nation's inequitable public education system.
An important new report from the African American Policy Forum is a must-read for anyone committed to understanding how both race and gender impact educational opportunity in our country. Black Girls Matter: Pushed-Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected combines national data on school discipline with interviews with young women of color to paint a picture of their experiences in school and in their communities and to offer suggestions for how we can better support them.