Equity by Design Briefs
Equity by Design briefs synthesize current research and practice to provide stakeholders with accessible information in the fields of educational reform and culturally responsive pedagogy. Research-based information is presented in ways that have immediate relevance and applicability to school contexts.

Supporting Student Success through Authentic Partnerships: Reflection from Parents and Caregivers      

The emphasis on traditional forms of involvement within schools neglects culturally diverse perspectives and constructs restrictive roles for parents and caregivers to be engaged in their child's education. This focus on traditional in school roles also averts attention from school's responsibility to provide sufficient avenues for historically marginalized families involvement and away from understanding systemic school barriers that prevent parents and caregivers from participating within the school walls. 
RELEASE DATE: November 2017
AUTHORS: Crystal Morton 

Promoting Racial and Socioeconomic Integration in Public Schools  

This brief discusses why working towards racially and socioeconomic diverse school settings is imperative. It also outlines specific strategies district leaders and policymakers can employ in their communities when considering options for achieving school integration, including a discussion on current efforts around school integration in different locales across the country.
RELEASE DATE: November 2017
AUTHORS: Sarah Diem, Ransford Pinto

The Students We Share: US Teachers’ Responsibilities Given That Some of Their Students Will Later Go to School in Mexico     

This brief offers information to educators who teach students who traverse the Mexican/US border in order to examine issues experienced by and supports for students who are likely to return to school in Mexico, their country of origin. 
RELEASE DATE: September 2017
AUTHORS: Edmund Hamann, William Perez, Sarah Gallo, Victor Zúñiga 

On Educating Culturally Sustaining Teachers   

This brief examines the major need for teacher education the will to foster a teaching force and a teacher education force that is representative of the racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of all schools.
RELEASE DATE: September 2017
AUTHORS: Django Paris

Examining Law & Policy for Undocumented Immigrant Students through the PK-20 Pipeline   

This brief examines current opportunities and constraints of public school students based on their immigration status and discusses their navigation through elementary and secondary education into higher education.
RELEASE DATE: September 2017
AUTHORS: David H. K. Nguyen

Educational Practices to Support the Academic and Social-Emotional Needs of Somali Immigrant and Refugee Students 

This brief provides a concise overview of the American Somali population; summarizes these students’ academic and social-emotional challenges along with related school supports; and describes practices to foster family and community engagement.
RELEASE DATE: September 2017
AUTHORS: Amanda L. Sullivan, Mollie Weeks, Christopher Walick

Supporting Social-Emotional Needs of Students Who Are Refugees 

This brief provides an introduction to the refugee population, describes common experiences of trauma and resultant treatment, and offers an overview of research-based school supports for students who are refugees. This discussion is applicable to individuals with formal refugee status, as well as others who have been exposed to war or conflict and fled their home countries as a result.
RELEASE DATE: September 2017
AUTHORS: Mollie Weeks, Amanda L. Sullivan, Greg Simonson

Youth Rising: Centering Youth Voice in the Quest for Equitable and Inclusive Schools 

In the movement to increase equity and inclusion in schools, students are often treated as silent recipients rather than agentive participants. This brief introduces youth participatory action research (YPAR) as a powerful equity tool that centers youth perspectives and participation in school change.
RELEASE DATE: August 2017
AUTHORS: Taucia Gonzalez, Larry D. Love, Mary L. Johnson, Ninoska Picón, and Josué Velázquez

Teaching LGBTQ-Themed Literature in English Language Arts Classrooms 

Engaging students with LGBTQ-themed literature in Language Arts class can serve as a revolutionary force for social change regarding countering the civil rights injustices experienced by LGBTQ students in our schools. This brief synthesizes current research and practices related to the use of LGBTQ-themed literature in the Language Arts curricula and classroom instruction.
RELEASE DATE: August 2017
AUTHORS: Mollie Blackburn and Mary Catherine Miller
Cover page of disproportionality brief. Image of a young firl smiling at a desk with a pencil.

Systemic Approaches to Eliminating Disproportionality in Special Education 

Perhaps no other educational inequity today illustrates the complex relationship between discrimination and systemic oppression at the intersection of race, language, and ability more than the phenomenon of special education disproportionality. This brief defines and addresses the historical and contemporary contexts that have resulted in disproportionality. The authors also offer strategies in three domains of systemic change intended to address and redress disproportionality.
RELEASE DATE: September 2016
AUTHORS: Robin G. Jackson, Kathleen A. K. Thorius, and Tiffany S. Kyser
Cover page of reframing summer learning loss brief. Image of a blacktop with chalk and hopscotch grid.

Summer— A Vacation from Learning? A Critical View 

Some researchers posit that White, middle and upper middle class students continue to learn over summer break, while those from historically marginalized racial, ethnic, and class backgrounds cease learning during the summer, i.e., 'summer learning loss', widening the 'achievement gap'. This brief outlines this rhetorical history and rationale of summer learning loss; challenges traditional notions of 'summer learning loss'; and, discusses approaches toward centering students from working class, poor, and historically underserved racial and ethnic backgrounds in summer learning.
AUTHORS: M. Nickie Coomer, Tiffany S. Kyser, Kathleen A. K. Thorius, and Seena M. Skelton

The State of Education: Equity Considerations for Historically Underserved Populations 

AUTHORS: Rodney S. Whiteman, Kathleen A.K. Thorius, Seena M. Skelton, Tiffany Kyser

Rethinking Quality: Foregrounding Equity in Definitions of "High-Quality" Educators 

All children deserve access to high quality educators. Many definitions of “high quality” teachers over-emphasize student achievement outcomes and do not sufficiently consider other important factors of schooling and educator practices that may lead to those outcomes. This brief offers an equity-oriented framework that defines a high quality educator as one who: (1) views students’ existing cultural resources as assets, (2) applies these assets within critical pedagogies toward empowering students in their lives and communities, and in doing so, (3) fosters students’ academic, social, and personal growth
RELEASE DATE: April 2015
AUTHORS: Rodney S. Whiteman, Kathleen A.K. Thorius, Seena M. Skelton, Tiffany Kyser
Cover of the Developing Critical Consciousness through Professional Learning Brief

Developing Critical Consciousness through Professional Learning

Critical consciousness, defined as an active state of seeking to identify the beliefs and language that obscure systemic inequities, is a central component of transformative professional learning. Practitioners can use the two tools described in the brief - reflection journals or blogs and critical communities of practice - to create psychologically safe spaces in which to examine assumptions and alter practices.
RELEASE DATE: December 2013
AUTHORS: Sharon Radd, Erin M. Macey
CRPBIS Brief Cover

Re-mediating the Role of School-Family Partnerships in Systemic Change within Culturally Responsive Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports

School-family partnerships within Culturally Responsive Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (CRPBIS) function toward creating school cultures that: (a) from the start, position families as equal partners with school practitioners in determining the goals, activities, and desired outcomes for local CRPBIS implementation; (b) center student and family analysis of crucial avenues for building safe and inclusive schools; and (c) attend explicitly to institutional structures that have hindered such partnerships in the past and seek to remediate them through collaborative inquiry. Read about how two districts engaged in such partnerships.
RELEASE DATE: September 2013
AUTHORS: Kathleen A. King Thorius, Esmeralda M. Rodriguez, Aydin Bal
Peer-Mediated Learning Brief

Using Peer-Mediated Learning to Advance Equity for All Students

The use of peer-mediated learning has emerged as a promising practice to transform the classroom experiences of both students with disabilities and their non-disabled peers. This brief summarizes the best practices for implementing peer-mediated learning and advocates situating peer-mediated learning in inclusive, interdependent learning communities to better empower not only students with disabilities, but all students.
AUTHORS: Paulo Tan, Erin M. Macey, Kathleen A. K. Thorius, Marsha Simon
Image of Critical Reflection on Policy Brief

Engaging School Communities in Critical Reflection on Policy

School communities that develop a process for engaging in careful consideration of both policies as written and policies as praticed will be better equipped to promote equity. This brief offers some considerations for the creation of such a process.
RELEASE DATE: September 2012
AUTHORS: Erin M. Macey, Kathleen A. K. Thorius, Seena M. Skelton