Educational equity requires putting systems in place that acknowledge and address the specific challenges, histories, and needs impacting students from different backgrounds, to holistically support them as they learn. Despite the systemic inequities APA public school students and their families face, they are often excluded from or misrepresented in discussions on educational equity issues including school integration, opportunity gaps, systemic racism, and poverty. However, APA students continue to be impacted by overcrowding in schools, bullying, lack of quality language-accessible and culturally-responsive services, under referrals in special education, underfunding of programs for English Language learners, and more.
It is true that the complex diversity of our community can make outreach difficult within the current system. However, the Department of Education and schools can take key steps to address inequities that involve building and funding strong partnerships with community-based organizations who often have the language proficiency and cultural responsiveness to help support families, collecting and providing disaggregated data, and increasing the representation of APA educators and staff.