Open Educational Resources Fill Gap for Underserved Students

Education Week
June 6th, 2017
Publication Author: 
Lisa Petrides & Barbara Dezmon
Resource Type: 

During the past decade, the idea of education as a 21st-century civil rights issue has surged. Many of our nation's public schools that serve large numbers of low-income communities frequently face funding challenges that result in inadequate facilities and educational resources. While efforts have been made to address these disparities, one of the cornerstones of a quality education has largely gone overlooked: access to curricula, textbooks, and other instructional and self-directed learning materials that drive rigorous academics. 

Less affluent districts often struggle to provide their students with quality, up-to-date materials aligned with today's more demanding state standards. Research in the past few decades has shown that teachers in schools with predominantly minority or poor populations are more likely to consider their teaching materials inadequate. One 2015 report from nonprofit organization The Education Trust found that the highest-poverty public school districts nationwide receive about $1,200 less per student in state and local funding than the lowest-poverty districts. 

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