Task force releases report on understanding and reducing ethnic and racial disparities in education

The APA Presidential Task Force on Educational Disparities offers recommendations for advocacy, educational practice and research to address disparities in education.

Ethnic and Racial Disparities in Education: Psychology’s Contributions to Understanding and Reducing Disparities,” a new report by the APA Presidential Task Force on Educational Disparities, highlights patterns of inequalities that create an educational gap across ethnic and racial minority groups. The report points out that psychology provides an understanding of these disparities as well as methods to rectify them. In the report’s Foreword, 2011 APA President Melba Vasquez, PhD, warns that “unless more ethnic and racial minority young people achieve higher levels of education and training, the U.S. society in general will fail to cultivate the human talent that is essential for the health and success of our nation.”

In addition to a focus on psychological research, recommendations in the report include attention to public policy goals, the need for translating psychological scholarship into educational practices and a focus on the social, personal and academic assets that ethnic and racial minority students bring to the classroom. “The report makes a major contribution by highlighting inhibitors to developing the full potential of a majority of children in our country, as well as providing directions for positive change based on psychological science,” said Rena Subotnik, PhD, director of APA’s Center for Psychology in Schools and Education.

Additional recommendations and statistics are included in an Executive Summary, part of the full report (PDF, 1.2MB) that was presented to APA’s Council of Representatives at their August 2012 meeting.

Led by Vasquez, the task force members are Stephen M. Quintana, PhD (chair); A. Wade Boykin, PhD; Andrew Fuligni, PhD; Sandra Graham, PhD; Samuel Ortiz, PhD; and Frank C. Worrell, PhD.