Sep 12

Principles of Equitable Schools

Classroom with Kids and Teacher

Developed by The Center for Learner Equity Equity Coalition

The Center for Learner Equity and Equity Coalition members developed the “Principles of Equitable Schools,” [Principles] to establish a standard of equity intended to help parents, policymakers, and other stakeholders weigh their options when choosing a school. Through these essential principles, The Center for Learner Equity and the Equity Coalition aim to establish core principles that should be upheld by any school enrolling students using public dollars. With one unified voice, the Equity Coalition offers the following Principles to collectively preserve and promote access and quality for all students.

In response to the challenges of providing equitable education during a global pandemic, we have created additional guidance for implementing the Principles of Equitable Schools in the context of COVID-19.
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I. Accessibility

An accessible school clearly communicates its commitment to upholding students’ rights and protections under the law and articulates policies and procedures to ensure it welcomes, retains, and provides equitable enrollment, programmatic, and physical access to students with disabilities in accordance with federal civil rights statutes.

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II. Inclusion

An inclusive school educates students in the least restrictive environment to the maximum extent appropriate to their individual needs; thereby allowing for learning predominantly in high-quality general education settings alongside peers with and without disabilities. It leverages prevention and targeted intervention approaches to support all students and, when necessary, instruction and supports are modified, adapted, and differentiated to promote student growth. Its disciplinary practices do not disproportionately impact students with disabilities.

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III. Quality

A quality school holds students to high expectations, provides instruction, both general and specialized, that is data-driven, evidence-based, student-centered, and culturally responsive. It employs highly skilled staff members and provides high-quality professional development opportunities.

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IV. Collaboration

A collaborative school embraces opportunities for partnership and engagement with stakeholders by providing transparent and accessible information and involving students/parents/guardians in decision making.

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V. Accountability

An accountable school is held to high standards. It is required to uphold all applicable laws and demonstrate positive and measurable outcomes for educating students with disabilities as a criterion to continue receiving public funding. It may be overseen by one or multiple entities, and the collective oversight provided must be able to ensure that local education agencies offer a full continuum of services for students with disabilities and uphold a commitment to educating all students.

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VI. Autonomy and Flexibility

An equitable school leverages its autonomy and flexibility to maintain high standards, promote quality, and cultivate innovation.

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VII. Resources

An adequately resourced school has access to sufficient fiscal, human, legal, programmatic, facilities, and administrative capacity to educate its students. The funding mechanism of an adequately resourced school is equitable and minimizes incentives to over, or conversely under, identify students with disabilities or to serve students in more restrictive settings than necessary or appropriate for their individual needs.