In the Pittsburgh Public School system, about 91% of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, and most of these students are minorities. Achievement differences between minority black vs other students are about 35 (literacy) and 39 (math) percentage points on statewide 3rd grade assessment tests (per the 2017 PPS community report). These achievement differences are often caused by systems of inequality that dominant groups underestimate, fail to recognize, or even suppress. This, in turn, creates barriers which inhibit some students from accessing the educational opportunities that are available to others.
My work tackles these issues by identifying root causes of learning opportunity gaps to be addressed through collaboration between university and school researchers, educators and community leaders, and minority and/or low-income students. I am currently working with University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Urban Education, monitoring and understanding how low-income African American middle school students learn mathematics with the help of qualified mentors and proven education technologies to inform how to design appropriate interventions to fill knowledge their gaps.