It is has long been clear that our schools are increasingly diverse both economically and culturally—and that the student population now is even more diverse than the adult population. As all educators know, children in our schools are also diverse in their academic and social-emotional needs, yet our teachers and principals must ensure that all students meet the higher standards enabling them to compete in a global society.
Historically, access to high-quality instruction and resources has been denied some of our nation’s children. Today, there is a powerful shift toward equity in education, but it is important to clarify what equity means to those people who are on the front lines of our children’s education. As one educator shared with us, “Equity doesn’t mean the same for everyone; it means that everyone gets what they need.” To learn more, we asked 4,721 teachers and principals about their students, their schools, and their communities.
I am pleased to share with you the Teacher & Principal School Report: Equity in Education, a national survey of teachers and principals. This research offers a close look at the barriers to equity in education, educators’ priorities around funding and their substantial personal spending for students and classrooms, the importance of establishing school partnerships with families and communities, and educators’ commitment to their students and to growing as professionals.
To work toward equity, educators need the resources, professional development and interventions so that each child has access to the individualized support required to achieve his or her greatest potential. In many cases, these resources need to reach beyond the school walls to support families and communities in their important roles in helping students.It is important to clarify what equity means to those people who are on the front lines of our children’s education
The work of our teachers and principals is critical to our nation’s future. They are the ones who are teaching our children to read deeply and build critical-thinking skills. They introduce young people to great literature and nonfiction, and instill the foundations of understanding—of themselves, and of the world in which they live. We owe our teachers and principals our respect and our thanks, and we need to assure them that they are not alone in their mission to support students.
It is in that spirit that I hope you will read this report and consider it a call-to-action: together we must honor the partnership among children, educators, families and communities, all of whom have important roles to play in providing each student with the resources he or she needs to achieve individual goals, and to live a life of meaning and purpose.
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer