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Opening the Door to Equity in Education

by NSC Blog | Sep 23, 2020 | Announcements, Clearinghouse Academy, Clearinghouse News, Postsecondary Data Partnership, Research Services

By Rick Torres, President & CEO, National Student Clearinghouse

One of the most pressing issues brought to light by the pandemic is the very real effects of the systemic inequity facing vulnerable and disadvantaged populations in our country. Our Research Center reports the rate of African Americans enrolling in undergraduate programs faces a downward trend. This summer, African Americans experienced an 8.3% decrease in undergraduate enrollments, a far more significant percentage than other races.

Furthermore, the National College Attainment Network (NCAN) reported that Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion rates were down by 100,000, compared to last year. Inevitably, this will lead to fewer learners who need the door of opportunity opened to them having the first step of access to a better future pushed further out of reach.

With unparalleled insights into academic trends, the National Student Clearinghouse has a unique opportunity, through informed data, to help education organizations, academia, and policymakers address a critical issue in the future of education and our nation. We want to support the leaders of change by helping them systemically identify and gain the knowledge that will lead to addressing some of the systemic inequities in the lifelong education process. With this goal in mind, we are hosting a panel discussion titled “Opening the Door to Equity in Education,” on October 6 from noon to 1 pm, ET.

The event will raise awareness of the importance of educational data’s democratization to address system issues facing the current education-to-workforce ecosystem. A panel of academic leaders will join us to share their perspectives, including:

  • Dr. Eileen Baccus, President Emeritus of Northwestern Connecticut Community College and Coach for Achieving the Dream
  • Michael Collins, Vice President at Jobs for the Future
  • Dr. Dan Domenech, Executive Director at AASA, The School Superintendents Association
  • Deborah Santiago, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Excelencia in Education
  • Dr. Karen Stout, President and CEO at Achieving the Dream

The panel will address questions covering the problem, effects, and path toward systemically changing the trajectory of the narrative around systemic inequities in education.

  • What are some of the most glaring examples of systemic education inequities and how widespread are they? What are some of the causal factors?
  • What are your thoughts on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the administrative burdens of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Title 5 Institutions (HSI)? How do you think that ties into the topic of educational inequity?
  • Putting data to use to help course correct: What role do you think normalized national, regional and local visualizations regarding enrollment trends, achievement, and persistence play in helping to inform and create pathways to bridging the education equity gap?

Our discussion will also cover the use of data and technology to influence positive social change and create meaningful opportunities for all learners. This includes the Clearinghouse’s role in the development of the future of work efforts around the Learning & Employment Records (LER), formerly known as the Interoperable Learning Records. All learners, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status, deserve a way to translate their full education, training, and work experience to a record of transferable skills that will open the doors to high-wage occupations and careers. Similarly, we’ll discuss how education is leveraging data platforms, such as the Postsecondary Data Partnership, to leverage data that can inform interventions that work on a systemic basis.

The journey to unwinding the systemic inequity in education begins with committed players and organizations who want to make a difference and throwing down the gauntlet to do so. The National Student Clearinghouse and its education partners and their leaders, some of whom are represented on this panel, are committed to being part of the solution and making a difference.

Please join us to discuss this critical issue on Tuesday, October 6, from 12:00 – 1:00 pm (EST). Learn more and register here.

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