Educational Inequities Research Draws Attention by New Penn State Center

Inequities permeate the American educational experience. Students come from poor families; their teachers aren't as well trained or their schools aren't as well outfitted; they lack access to technology or regular meals. A new center at Penn State will become a repository for data and research on the topic of inequity and the go-to source for evaluating programs and policies intended to address the disparities in order to identify those that have the best impact.

The multidisciplinary Center for Educational Disparities Research (CEDR) is being jointly created by Penn State's Social Science Research Institute and the College of Education. It will be led by Paul Morgan, a professor of education who helped establish the Educational Risk Initiative four years ago. That program was created to provide a "community of researchers" that could work with faculty to develop proposals related to educational risk that could attract funding from sources such as the United States Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences.

The new center expands on that mission by helping researchers go after a broader array of external funding opportunities and to assist in proposal writing, pulling together multi-disciplinary teams of researchers, delivering mentoring and panel reviews, helping faculty gain course releases and hosting speakers and relevant events.

"Researchers will benefit from the expertise of a community of colleagues whose skills can assist them in advancing their planned investigations as well as submitting proposals to external funding organizations," said Morgan in a prepared statement. "Educational inequities can result in societal inequities. Our collective aim is to even the playing field and provide equal opportunities for children."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.