Iowa Equity Challenge Day 7

Day 7 of 21



What can impact a young student’s ability or opportunity to learn? Anything


It could be lack of resources, environment, state of mind, or another reason not apparent on the surface. Today, we learn about what can cause learning disparities for students in our country and state. 


Let’s look at some recent trends published in the Institute of Education Sciences’ “Report on the Condition of Education 2021.”

  • The percentage of non-white students enrolled in public elementary/secondary schools increased from 46% in 2009 to 53% in 2018.
  • The number of students ages 3 to 21 served by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) increased by 12.3% from 2009 to 2019.
  • In 2019, students of color graduated from high school at lower rates than the national average.
    • American Indian/Alaska Native students: 74%
    • Black students: 80%
    • Hispanic students: 82%
    • National average: 86%
  • In 2018, 79% of public school teachers were white.
  • The average reading level for fourth-grade students in high-poverty schools in 2019 was 206. The average reading level for low-poverty schools was 240. The national average was 220.
  • The immediate college enrollment rate for Black students decreased from 66% in 2010 to 57% in 2019.


Learning Objectives

  • Recognize educational disparities in opportunity, enrollment, and advancement.
  • Discover how access to resources impacts learning disparities.
  • Learn how teacher-student mismatch can cause harm. 
  • Understand the perspective of a student who lacks learning resources.


Today's Activities


Choose one or more of these daily activities to learn about today’s topic. Plan to set aside 15 to 30 minutes to complete the activities and journal about your thoughts and feelings. 


Read “Bridging the Cultural Gap Between Teachers and Students” (9 min) from the National Association of Independent Schools to learn about diverse student populations and effective teaching strategies.


Watch the TED Talk “How America’s public schools keep kids in poverty” (13:41) by Kandice Sumner about how the public school system is built for white students to succeed, not students of color. 


Listen to the song “Fly” by Hopsin (4:58), told from the perspective of a Black man.


Note: This song contains explicit language.


Capture what you learned by writing down your thoughts and feelings about today's content.

  • What was your “aha moment” (moment of surprise or new information)?
  • Does this information change your perspective on learning disparities?
  • How will you use what you learned today to create more equitable spaces?

Download a free journal page for today.


Additional Resources & Activities


If you would like to dig deeper into this issue, check out these additional resources. We encourage you to revisit this material when you have more time. Feel free to come back to this topic as often as you’d like!




Share your reflections on today’s topic on social media using the hashtag #IowaEquityChallenge.




Next Topic: Foster Care 


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