School districts here in Washington and elsewhere are taking significant steps to address racial and socioeconomic inequities in our public schools. Dozens of current teachers won seats during the 2018 elections in state legislatures across the country, where their much-needed insights will help inform public policy.
Yet we know that much remains to be done. Only one in five public school teachers are people of color, and far too many students will never see themselves represented among the educators teaching their classes. While the average amount spent educating each K-12 student in the U.S. is significantly higher than the mean spending of all Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries, vast disparities continue to exist in access to rich and meaningful learning opportunities, both within and across districts. The voices of underserved communities are still too often unheard
Our work at the University of Washington College of Education is situated at the fulcrum of efforts to transform public education. UW researchers, educators and communities are working together to ensure our schools are catalysts for opportunity — not just for some, but for all students.
This year’s edition of Research That Matters is centered on work taking place at some of the critical junctures of education: preparing and sustaining a more diverse educator workforce, improving early learning experiences, supporting robust climate science education and advancing the practice of instructional leadership. All of these efforts contain significant potential to improve outcomes for our students and to advance educational justice, here in Washington and beyond.
The foundation of a socially and economically vibrant society is a strong public education system that nourishes every child’s talents and passions. We are honored to partner with so many individuals, communities and organizations who share our commitment to creating these pathways to success. As you read these stories, I hope you’ll be as inspired as I am by the work of educators who are dedicated to opening bright futures for our young people.
Dean, University of Washington College of Education