School of Education at IUPUI receives regional Equity Assistance Center funding
August 29, 2011
- Chuck Carney
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The Indiana University School of Education at IUPUI has received a $2.2 million federal grant to develop a regional Equity Assistance Center (EAC) to provide technical assistance in the areas of civil rights, equity and access, and school reform.
The U.S. Department of Education awarded support for the three-year project to principal investigator Kathleen King Thorius, assistant professor of special education at the School of Education at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and co-investigators Brendan Maxcy, associate professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (ELPS), and Thu Suong Thi Nguyen, assistant professor in ELPS. In conjunction with the principal investigators, operations will be led by Project Director Donna Hart-Tervalon, a former assistant director of special education for the state of Wisconsin.
The grant is part of the Department of Education's initiatives to support elementary and secondary education under Title IV of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The funds support civil rights training and advisory services for schools and communities addressing equity and access issues in public education. Ten regional EACs are funded across the nation to ensure all children, regardless of race, gender or national origin, have equal access to quality education and opportunities to meet high academic standards in reading, math and other core subject areas.
The Region V EAC serves Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Like all EACs, the "Great Lakes Equity Center" in Indianapolis will serve as a resource for the prevention of discrimination, exclusion, or denial of opportunity on the basis of race, sex, or national origin through discriminatory activities that may include inequitable opportunities to learn, harassment, segregation and denial of language services.
"We are thrilled by this opportunity to partner with schools and communities seeking to ensure equitable education opportunities are available and accessible for all children. Schools engaged in equity work need to critique and transform normative assumptions about race, class, gender, language, national origin and ability, and focus on empowering and educating all students," said Thorius. "This kind of work must be transformative to disrupt and eliminate contributors to inequity across educational systems and society."
Thorius, Maxcy and Nguyen, bring a combined 30 years of experience with technical assistance centers that are federally-funded and focused on school system change, and experience working as practitioners in public schools. Their research and teaching promotes inclusive and culturally responsive policies and practice across educational systems that address disparities in student access, participation and outcomes and provide high-quality opportunities to learn for all students. Hart-Tervalon brings more than 35 years of experience in the field of education. She played a central role in leading Wisconsin's statewide efforts to address disproportionate representation of racial minority students in special education.
Beginning with its start date of Oct. 1, the center will assist and train personnel on the preparation, adoption and implementation of plans for public school desegregation across the six state region at the request of school boards and other governmental agencies. As defined by program guidelines, desegregation refers to equity plans and actions -- including desegregation based on race, sex, and national origin and the development of effective methods of coping with special educational problems occasioned by desegregation.
"The work of the Great Lakes Equity Center further enhances our urban education mission and advances the School of Education's collaborative work to address issues of equity, access, and school reform," said Executive Associate Dean of the School of Education Pat Rogan. Earlier this year, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education approved a new Urban Education Studies Ph.D. to be offered at IUPUI starting in fall 2012.