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Focus On What Works

What Educators Need to Know to Move from Issues to Action

Ethnic-minority schoolchildren will soon be the majority, girls already outnumber boys in many of the nation’s classrooms, and GLBT youth are coming out in ever increasing numbers. These young people are America’s students — so why do many feel like outsiders at their own school dance?

Often underestimated and undervalued, many struggle in school — battling stereotypes, harassment, language barriers, and poverty. Yet, for students defying the odds, there is one common denominator: a school or an educator that acknowledges who they are and their inalienable right to be there.

Time and again, the most successful schools embrace students’ cultures, histories, and languages by making them core components of teaching and learning — actively engaging students’ families and communities. And the most effective educators understand that cultural competence in education is not a frill or fad but is as basic for living in today’s world as reading and computer literacy.

But what about schools that are struggling? In collaboration with state and local affiliates, NEA is implementing an action plan to help improve the nation’s low-performing schools. To help mobilize NEA members and affiliates, Focus on What Works, an action guide for educators, identifies today’s hot topics and promising public school programs targeted to six historically under-served student groups:

  1. American Indians and Alaska Natives ( PDF, 899 KB, 2pp)
  2. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders ( PDF, 917 KB, 2pp)
  3. Blacks ( PDF, 884 KB, 2pp)
  4. Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgenders ( PDF, 3 MB, 2pp)
  5. Hispanics ( PDF, 927 KB, 2pp)
  6. Women and Girls ( PDF, 905 KB, 2pp)

View the full text of Focus on What Works ( PDF, 3 MB, 16pp).


Focus On What Works

What are the promising programs for struggling students in your classroom, school, or district? Share stories and strategies with your colleagues.

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