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Stepping Up to Support Equity in Education: The Educational Equity Scholarship Program

The School of Education, Teaching, and Health recently received a generous gift from an anonymous donor, making it possible to initiate the Educational Equity Scholarship Program, but we cannot succeed without help from you. The school will match dollar-for-dollar any gift in support of the new scholarship, which is to be awarded to a person of color pursuing a graduate degree in teacher education. With your donations, we will be able to offer a significant award to a teacher with the skills and life experiences needed to take part in helping to shape the next generation.

The School of Education, Teaching, and Health’s commitment to equity in education is spelled out in the school’s philosophy statement as one of our four core principles—equity, excellence, community, and diversity. How we demonstrate this principle in practice, however, is a much more powerful statement of our commitment. Before undergraduates are even accepted into the school, they take a field experience course in which they analyze diverse school settings with particular emphasis on equitable classroom interaction. Students also take a service-learning course, completing 40 hours in a community placement and analyzing student access to equitable learning environments. These courses help to put students in real-life experiences where they gain insight into the dynamics between a public place of schooling relative to social and economic opportunity.

One of the most important missions of American University is our commitment to being a “private university with a public responsibility.” For more than 50 years, the school has had a commitment to serving the teachers and students of D.C. public schools, in which our students often request to student teach. Admirably, they choose some of the District’s most struggling schools, because they know they can be of most help there. Moreover, the teachers supported by our grant programs commit to teaching in these schools. To live up to our promise of promoting equity in education, our faculty must meet the most basic needs of all teachers— building their skills in the teaching of reading and math and helping them to understand the social, economic, and political realities of the students in their classrooms.

Beyond meeting the most critical needs of teachers, the school is also working to analyze their other needs from year one until retirement. To help them to reach out to and engage their students most effectively, teachers must be supported every year so that they can continue to reflect on their own practices and learn new research in the field. We must focus on the schools, teachers, and students with the most need, or we are ignoring our responsibility as citizens of this city.

The Educational Equity Scholarship will be awarded to a person of color who wants to pursue his or her graduate degree in teacher education, concentrating on elementary, secondary, ESOL, or special education. This person must show a commitment to improving equity in and the quality of urban schools. Special consideration will be given to D.C. residents and to those candidates who commit to teaching in the District after graduation.

Please go to the AU giving page to make a gift to the School of Education, Teaching, and Health’s Educational Equity Scholarship Program. Please use the designation of "Other" and then write in the SETH Educational Equity Scholarship Program. Your support demonstrates your commitment to equity in education. Most importantly, your gift will make a profound difference for aspiring minority teachers and in the lives of their future students.